So I know that I haven’t really talked much about what the classes are like here at UCD Dublin, but I think it is the right time now. First off, the classes here are much easier than at H-SC. At H-SC we have a paper due every other week it seems and lots of reading to do, but here at UCD Dublin there is none of that. Do not get confused, there are papers that need to be written and books to be read, but not on the same level as H-SC. For most of my classes, there is one paper for the class, which is also the midterm, and then a final which makes up either sixty to eighty percent of your final grade. Having only two grades in a course can also place a lot of pressure on each graded piece; there is little room for error. I like the comfort of several different graded opportunities to engage more deeply with the material and to ensure a solid mark in the course. Let’s look at my Russian Revolution class, I have really enjoyed the class and having taken Dr. Frusetta’s Russian History class prepared me for it. But there are only two assignments for the class, a midterm paper and a final. I know Dr. Frusetta would never have structured his class that way and seeing this different structure made me question the class.
There are two classes that I have really enjoyed while being here. My British Atlantic and Canadian Art History class have both been the classes that I look forward to every week. My CA History class is my closest style class to what I would get at H-SC with two papers and two exams (final and midterm). My teacher for this class is Canadian and he is pretty awesome, he is really helpful and willing to work with the students helping them out with the classes, all the same qualities of an H-SC professor.
My British Atlantic class on the other hand is fun, since it has the most work I have to do. Every week we do a reflection journal of what we found interesting in the class and what we think needed to be added. This class has been fun since I am learning American History, but from a different view point, and being able to help the Irish see the American view of certain things.
Overall, based on what I am used to there just seems to be not enough work. I have some days where I just sit in my room waiting for something to happen and wondering what is going on at H-SC. At H-SC I am used to lots of work and little free time, besides having a lot of free time scares me. Finally, just the vast size of UCD Dublin, in that there are a lot of international students here, makes me sometimes second guess whether I picked the right school. The only Irish people I have gotten to talk to, were on the rugby team and the only time I seem to see them is at games and practices. Overall, what I am getting at is, think carefully about the school and classes you pick for your study abroad. Some potential questions to answer ahead of time are: what type of school size/environment works best for you, what do you want to get out of a study abroad experience, and what types of classes you want?