Studying at UCD is slightly different than studying at Uppsala Universitet or Universität Hamburg.
All the modules I have chosen are worth 5 credits and are taught over the whole semester. Every lecture takes 50 minutes and most of the lectures have a classroom atmosphere, which means that there is a lot of discussion rather than just the teacher presenting slides. Most of the lectures come with an optional tutorial where students can work on their homeworks while receiving help from teaching assistants.
Even if there is an exam in the end of the semester, it is usually only a part of the assessment. Homeworks, logs, and even participation in discussions is necessary to get good marks.
It wasn’t easy to choose modules. I have already tried to register modules when I was still in Sweden. When I arrived in Dublin I heard that two of those courses were taught in Fudan (China) and another one was a masters course (I am somehow not allowed to choose master courses). After trying to register several other courses, I finally found 5 modules which don’t have any timetable clashes (it’s impossible to register courses which don’t fit perfectly in your timetable). I chose the following modules:
Theory of Games
Advanced Computational Science
Connectionist Computing and
Introduction to Robotics.
Execpt for Theory of Games all of the above courses are interesting and taught well. Especially Connectionist Computing and Object-Oriented Design are super exciting and given by lecturers with a lot of experience in research and industry.
Introduction to Robotics is a course for computer scientist, but with mainly engineers attending. In fact, we play with Lego robots.
Theory of Games seems to be an interesting topic, but unfortnately the lecturer has a slow tempo and seems to have forgotten that this is a module for mathematicians.
All in all I am happy with my choices especially as the modules cover a wide variety of topics. If there weren’t so many free hours combined with an extremely pricey dining hall…
Being in Kilkenny today, especially in the castle, felt like a déjà vu. Oh right I have been there before. Even if it was 10 years ago I remembered some places. Nevertheless the city was bigger and way more boring back then.
Except for maybe one or two exceptions everyone on this trip came from the US. That means I have learned a lot about the differences between America and Ireland, especially concerning food and drinking habits.
We explored the city center first and I have finally made it to the spire of St. Canice’s Cathedral:
We grabbed a cup of tea (tea is big in Ireland) in the lovely little café called “The Hole in the Wall”. This is a definitely must see in Kilkenny. Make sure to learn about the history of this place while being there.
As we didn’t have much time left, we rushed to the castle to catch our tour.
After an hour of history we moved on to the Dunmore Cave, the darkest cave in Ireland. Why was everyone so scared of bats? Aren’t those rather cute little fellas?
Unfortunately I didn’t get to take more pictures, but I hope you have got the idea that Kilkenny is worth a visit.
Finally I have got some minutes to write a new entry. It has been a busy week.
Since I didn’t really find more attractive alternatives, I moved into the flat I mentioned in my last post, on Monday. It is nice to finally have a place that I can call home. I even got a second bed in my room which might be perfect for visitors 😉
After that the orientation week started. Unfortunately I have to disappoint everyone who is thinking of Uppsala’s crazy orientation week because it is not really like there.
The first difference is the lower number of international students and events hosted by the university. And also, most of the events focus on organization rather than social interaction and getting to know fellow international students.
I received my UCard which is basically my student ID, and I need it for entering the library, printing, and I can even purchase items in the various shops on campus.
The second card I bought was my student leap card which is the bus card for students. With this card the bus spend will be capped at 5 euro per day or 20 euro per week which is, as far as I know, the best deal you can get in Dublin. I think, however, about getting a bicycle.
Most of the students I have met so far are from Germany, France or from the US and study something related to finance or business. I really haven’t met any people from other programmes yet, but that will change on Monday, I guess, when I go to my first classes.
It has been a great time so far, and I especially enjoy the various pub nights.
Tomorrow I am going to visit Kilkenny, so you may hope for some nice pictures.
I came to the conclusion that the bus system in Dublin is the worst I have seen so far: it’s expensive, if you don’t have a leap card (get one if you stay for some days), you need the correct change in coins, most of the time you don’t know when to get off, and there are no serious night busses. Nevertheless, I am interested in moving to one of the suburban areas of Dublin.
After viewing the room yesterday, I strolled around the nearby harbour in Dún Laoghaire. It was beautiful and I got excited in living close to the seaside.
After that I went to my new university, the UCD (University College Dublin). It is a huge campus area which looks quite modern and has a lot of green areas and some lakes. I look forward to studying there.
Today I decided to visit Howth which is a peninsula in the north of Dublin. Thank you Elin for the recommendation! Although it wasn’t as sunny as yesterday, it was less windy and thus not as freezing as usual.
I got off the bus in a small fishing village and strolled about the pier. It was crowded with tourist from mainly France, Spain, and Germany.
I hiked around the cliffs and got stunning views on Dublin and the Irish sea. I should have used more proper shoes though since the path was muddy and hence slippery which can be quite dangerous so close to the cliffs.
After two hours of hiking I rewarded myself with delicious fish and chips.
Today I have probably seen everything in Dublin. While it was snowing at the airport, I woke up in a sunny city, probably the best weather they’ve ever had according to the locals.
After my morning tea, I decided to walk towards the city center. Bad decision. Somehow all the traffic lights in Dublin take ages to turn green such that all pedestrians don’t care about these anymore. Being an upstanding citizen I waited for green lights first, but decided to adapt to Irish behaviour after a while (don’t try this at home).
This might be easy for the locals, but I had some serious issues with all the cars approaching from the wrong side. Luckily there are hints where to look first.
Below you will find some more pictures of what I have seen in the city today which means that I have somehow managed to concentrate on something else than just the traffic.
In the evening one of my hostelmates took me to a pub where I met her language course fellows from France, Spain and Switzerland.
Tomorrow I will have my first house viewing.
After a pleasant flight I arrived in a cloudy, but not rainy Dublin (Dublin with German “u” and not “a”). Immediately I felt home reading all the airport signs in Swedish and English. But wait – why I am not capable of reading Swedish anymore? Oh right, that’s not Swedish, it’s Irish…oops.
I took the bus towards the city center. It took me 10 minutes to realize that the bus driver was driving on the wrong side of the road. I was busy figuering out when I had to get off the bus, since there was no indication about the next, not even the latest bus stop. Well, I ended up getting off way too early and taking a 20 minute walk through the beautiful student area Drumcondra. Everything looks like Harry Potter here.
When I finally arrived at my hostel, people already waited for me and showed me around. Someone even cooked dinner for me. I felt at home immediately. Sitting in the kitchen for hours, playing guitar, and talking about music and travelling was the perfect end of a beautiful first day. Now I have to find a permanent place to stay, but tomorrow I will discover the city center first.