There are classes specifically for visiting students, and I took a mixture of those with classes specifically in my major. Some of the visiting student modules include Irish (Gaelic), history, folklore, and traditional music. These modules all provide opportunities outside of the classroom in Cork City and the surrounding areas. Take advantage of it, and you’ll learn so much!
Be sure to take other classes aside from visiting students’ modules. I took a Freshwater Resources Management module which fits into my environmental studies major. The module had weekly field trips to streams, a dam, water treatment facilities, the Heineken Brewery in Cork, and the Jameson Distillery. Look for interesting modules in your major (even if you don’t need it), and it’s also a good way to meet Irish students.
Ireland has a different style of teaching than in America. Lectures are a little less formal, and they are normally posted on blackboard. Regardless, attending lectures definitely makes writing papers and taking exams much easier. There aren’t always specific textbooks for each class, but there are several suggested readings. Do make the effort to sift through them, especially the ones your professors mention during lectures! They look to see if you’ve done extra reading from class when grading your final exams. Also, the lecture portion of the term is only 12 weeks long, and some classes meet just once a week. Missing one class can mean missing a lot of material! The 12 weeks fly by, and then you are left with a 5 week study period before the month of final examinations.
- Written by Joel Rhodes '13 who studied in Cork spring 2012
University College Cork is a great college. The staff, students, and faculty are very kind and helpful in all aspects of your stay there. Orientation was very informative and fun, and progressive months there proved rewarding and highly educational. The lecturers checked in with me personally a couple of times to make sure that I was keeping up and had the background I needed to be successful in their classes. I felt very comfortable approaching them with questions regarding classes and even living in Ireland.
The classes are set up differently from what I am familiar with at Juniata. Each class met several times throughout the week, based on the number of credits the class was worth. There was much less "busy work" type homework, and most classes had an essay or two, an in class exam, and a final exam (which was usually worth about 70% of the grade for the class). Most of the classes had a large emphasis on reading, but there was much more time to go to the library and really engage in a book. I was a bit confused about the grading system at first, but it was cleared up rather quickly by a professor who was used to working with abroad students. We also had a month study break in April after the end of classes, then all our written essay exams were in May. There was a tutoring centre on campus, which I did not use but sounded pretty helpful. There is also a medical centre and counseling services open every weekday.
I also applied for and received an internship in the school of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences. I was paired with a Doctoral student and helped her work on a study regarding the commercial farming of sea urchins. This was a great experience and I became friends with my research mentor.
- Written by Kathleen LaForce '14 who studied in Cork spring 2013