After a sleepless flight from the states, I finally arrived in Dublin on Tuesday! Since then there’s been a lot of adjustment and settling in to the new city and surroundings. I am studying at University College Dublin (UCD) this semester as a senior in Civil Engineering.
For anyone looking to study at this time next year or beyond, the biggest thing I was unprepared for has to be the weather. Looking up the temperatures beforehand, it actually seemed warmer than the states (35-40 F), but now I realize that air temperature is not everything. Because Dublin is an island essentially right on the Atlantic Ocean, the humidity makes the air feel cold. The biggest thing, however, is the wind. It is very, very, very windy. Coming from Kansas, I thought I knew what windy was, but I was wrong. I’ve almost been blown off the sidewalk several times, and the drizzly/humid air just goes right through you. So I absolutely recommend putting a water/windproof jacket on your packing list as an essential. Or, if you are unprepared like I am, there is a store in Dublin called Rambler’s Way that sells outdoor/hiking type of clothing. They were having a January sale, so it was pretty affordable. But there are also North Face and Patagonia stores here.
On the topic of packing, I’m glad I packed light. Basically one suitcase + one backpack full of things. I brought and empty duffle bag to bring stuff back with me. There is an Ikea north of here, so if you need other essentials the international office had shuttles running this week. Speaking of the international office, they have a plethora of programs for international students! Since this school is direct enroll from Bama and not run thorough an organized program, I was somewhat concerned before arriving that there wouldn’t be planned trips and events, etc. But this entire week we’ve been bombarded with signups for day trips, weekend trips, city tours, pub crawls, and so much more. The first day of orientation was actually monday, and I wish I had gotten here a day earlier because many of the spots are limited. Some are free, some are run by societies on campus at a discounted price, but they’re all fun and I would recommend doing everything you can.
So far, I really love Dublin. The city seems to have grown out around the river instead of up, so it’s very spread out. I’ve been hungrier than normal because of all this walking. A couple days getting up to 6-7 miles of walking in (measured by a fitbit from another student). There definitely a lot to see, though, and it’s fun just to walk through the disjointed and cobbled roads of the city, exploring all the small shops and stores. The people here are incredibly friendly, and give good directions to lost-looking foreigners. I’m not sure I knew what to expect when I signed up to come here, it was really a decision based on availability of engineering classes and tuition (just a little less than out of state tuition at Alabama). I’m excited to be here, I just hope the weather warms up soon!