- February 20th, 2021
Fall 2020 was a semester that tested our perseverance and ingenuity not only in Tuscaloosa– but abroad. In fact, one of our Honors students, Josh, spent Fall 2020 abroad studying in Dublin, Ireland. Take a moment to read about Josh’s time across the pond, in his own words.
Hi, my name’s Josh and I’m a double major in Computer Science and Mathematics who studied abroad at University College Dublin in Dublin, Ireland for Fall 2020. Studying abroad in college was always a huge goal for me and Fall 2020 was not actually my first
attempt. Academic requirements and other scheduling mistakes on my behalf meant Fall 2020 was in fact my last shot at studying abroad, and despite all the craziness of the past year, I can thankfully say Dublin still managed to be wonderful.
The beginning of my time in Dublin was marked with a two-week quarantine in the campus dorms I stayed in, and with the summer as “practice”, I luckily powered through it. In that time though, I met my roommates (all fellow international students); and [we] got to explore the many trails and paths that ran through campus, as exercise outdoors was still allowed. Classes were to start not long after, with a notable amount being in-person. However, [at the] last second, everything except labs was moved to online [instruction] as Dublin’s pandemic restrictions rose.
My classes ended up being completely online for the semester, though it was something I really did not mind. I for sure did experience some “culture shock” with the Irish exam model and didn’t quite get the memo on how differently they were structured. Nevertheless, I think I did quite well academically for this semester, given the circumstances.
As for any sort of “travels” and exploring, I recognized I was a visitor to a country not my own, aside from the normal level of precaution and safety I undergo for the pandemic, I made sure any trips were in line with Irish health guidelines. Luckily, much of the work was already done for me as UCD sponsored complimentary trips throughout the semester.
Though the six-week lockdown that eventually occurred did put a notable stop on things, I am so glad that I was able to see so much. In the span of one semester, I hiked down into exposed sea caves in the Howth Peninsula cliffside, kayaked to Dalkey Island in the Irish Sea, and saw some of the more untamed regions of Ireland in the mountainous views offered by the Glendalough Park. The cultural enrichment that came along with these trips was unforgettable, and I cannot thank UCD’s Global Department enough for managing to make this all a reality.
I would offer a conclusion to my journey, however, I’m incredibly grateful to say that my time in Ireland is not quite over. I enjoyed Dublin so much that I was able to work another semester abroad into my degree completion plan, and I will be spending Spring 2021 at UCD as well. With that in mind, much more exciting than what I can fit in this report has occurred in my time in Dublin thus far, and I have the funding offered by the Honors College and its donors to thank. Fall 2020 was an unforgettable chapter of my life for many reasons, and I’m very excited to begin the next in the Spring.