Becoming an international exchange student was one of my goals after entering university. After applying for and being selected, I started on my journey to Griffith College Dublin, Ireland for my senior year. Despite the reluctance by some people to persuade me to give it up for this being my final school year, I wanted to go before preparing to get a job. With strong determination to experience college life in a foreign country, I pushed forward on my dream and knew that the experience would be a greater asset than getting a job one or two years earlier. After doing two semesters at Griffith College, I knew my decision was the best. I made so many precious moments there.
Dublin, a City of Diversity
Griffith College is located in Dublin, the capital city of Ireland. The centre of Dublin is called ‘City Center’, and it is home to all the city’s large shopping complexes, cinemas, and restaurants. The college is located in Dublin 8 and takes about 30 minutes on foot to reach it from City Centre. City Centre is also just a 10 minute ride on Bus 122 which stops right in front of the college. The area around the college is tranquil and restful, which makes it comparatively safe even at night. Personally, I feel Dublin is the perfect city for international students because Irish people are usually friendly, open-minded, and easy to talk to. They are talented at small talk and will start a conversation with just about anybody meet and make friends. Thus, students have plenty of opportunities to improve English. Irish people have a unique Irish-English accent, but it is not as difficult to comprehend as people believe. Also, you could meet French, German, English, Nigerian, Swedish, Bulgarian, Czech, Chinese, Indian, and U.S. students as well. In fact, a lot of people flock to Ireland to find work, and the Irish government is actively accepting international students. Furthermore, it is easy to go from Ireland to most other European countries on Ryan Air, one of the cheapest airlines in Europe. The airline, sometimes, offers flight tickets to England for less than 10 Euros. I highly recommend taking advantage of it when you travel on your holidays.
Tips for Living in Ireland
The weather in Ireland is pretty chilly, and it often rains a little all-year-round, so you’ll need hooded jackets or coats. A rainproof jacket would also be of great benefit if you plan to visit Galway or Belfast, two of the most world-famous tourist attractions in Ireland. They are full of beautiful green farms, and you can see the sea and amazing cliffs. However, you need to be ready for the fickle weather. In Ireland, there is a good Korean online community named ‘Ah-yu-mo’ (Korean students in Ireland). You can buy daily supplies made in korea through the community. In my case, I bought a second-hand hair dryer and a rice cooker fairly cheap there. Instead of bringing huge heavy luggage bags, I recommend you purchase most of your necessities through the community after arriving in Ireland. Before leaving Ireland, you can resell the items or ship them back to Korea by international parcel service, which is exceedingly cheap. It costs only about seventy-five Euros for a box weighing twenty-five kilograms to the maximum.
Recommendations on Choosing Modules
Griffith College is a three-year college that offers majors like Business, Computing, Design, Journalism, and so on. Exchange students are allowed to freely enrol in any modules in any major unlike local students who receive prescheduled timetables that have been made by the faculty to which they belong. To create your own timetable, you’ll need to consult the course listings and course handbook then submit your course registration form to the International Office. You need to make your course selection within the tirst two weeks of the semester. Overall, students are encouraged to participate in debate during class or they are asked to share their personal opinions. Students never hesitate to ask the professor questions during class. Professors are also willing to respond to student inquiries both in and out of class, which helps international students feel at ease when partaking in class despite a lower skill level of English. I enrolled in three modules from International Hospitality Management and three from Media & Journalism, and they were substantially different. I suggest you to take modules from at least two different majors as well so that you can experience diverse ways of studying.
Hospitality modules are offered on relatively small scales. The number of students per class ranges from ten to twenty, which means you are going to have more opportunities to get familiar with your classmates and feel less pressured when giving a presentation or engaging in a discussion in class. The classes consist of students from diverse nationalities. In respect to the content of the modules, it covers theories and looks at case studies. This balance provides good understanding of the current situation of the tourism industry of Ireland. Assessment involved writing a report, a group presentation, and an exam. It may sound like a lot, but there is no need to fear, the evaluation method is not as strict as in Korea. Modules in Media & Journalism are practical and demand student creativity. These courses usually have more Irish students in them than international students. I took ‘Ways of Seeing’ during my first semester and ‘Video Production’ and ‘Introduction to Photography’ in my second semester. I highly recommend the two modules of my second semester. Specifically, in Introduction to Photography, I learnt how to operate a DSLR camera, use a Photoshop program, and how to compose photographs. It sounds very basic, but it’s handy. Also, students didn’t need to buy a camera because the faculty lent students one as well as other additional devices. In Video Production, I learnt about proposing, shooting, and editing a video project to produce a documentary of around 5 minutes using professional video equipment and programs. Like the photography class, cameras and devices can be borrowed from the faculty. The whole process of planning and making my own project was not easy, but it was worth it. At the end of the semester, you come away with a film shot by yourself.