THE TRAVEL REPORT. University College Dublin, Ireland. The Michael Smurfit Graduate School of Business. Spring semester 2014

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1 THE TRAVEL REPORT University College Dublin, Ireland The Michael Smurfit Graduate School of Business Spring semester 2014 Programme: Master of Science in International Business

2 1. Preparing for the exchange 1.1 Before the exchange UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate school of Business is one of the best business schools in Ireland, and highly appreciated university to study at. One of my friends had studied at this university a couple years before and she told me a lot of positive things about the university, courses and her life in Dublin. In addition, I had quite many Irish friends living in Dublin already. Therefore it was quite a natural choice to apply for this particular university. I was accepted into UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate business school in spring 2013 but as the exchange term took place in spring 2014, the host university contacted me for the first time in the beginning of October The Programme Office Director warmly welcomed the new exchange students for the semester 2 of the academic year , and ed us instructions regarding accepting offer in due course and also all the other information that was needed before the beginning of the spring semester. First, all the visiting exchange students had to register on their UCD online application system and once the registration was completed, an offer was generated which needed to accept in order to receive the student number and become a student of UCD. After the registration the MSc Business Programme Manager sent us a draft timetable of open modules that were available for us to select during the semester. Each module was worth 10 ECTS and for that reason I had to choose three different modules in order to get enough credits during the exchange. After this I chose which modules I wish to register for, I sent a to the coordinator and she took care of all the rest. After that all the students have possibility to apply online for on-campus accommodation. However, I had chosen to live as a flat mate with my Irish friend near the city center, and for that reason I didn t apply for campus accommodation at all. Nevertheless, if I hadn t had the possibility to live in my friend s apartment, I would definitely have chosen to live on campus because it is very difficult and expensive to find an apartment in Dublin especially for a shorter time-period.

3 All in all, the whole application and registration process was very well organized and both programme office director and MSc Business Programme Manager were ready to help with any kind of problems. 1.2 During the exchange The second semester started on 20 th of January I arrived in Dublin only one day before the second semester started. In my case, however, it was totally enough because instead of living on Campus accommodation I shared a flat with my Irish friend. Basically, my friends had taken care of all the basic things before I even arrived in Dublin, and therefore, everything was pretty much organized in advanced. Though, if I had lived on campus, I would definitely have moved to Dublin to organize all the basic stuff at least a couple days before the starting day of the second semester. In the beginning of the second semester UCD organized the orientation week for all the new exchange students. However, it was held at the main campus and it wasn t compulsory for us because we were master students and our own campus was in the different location. The second semester was divided into two different terms; term 2a (20 th of January to 7 th of March) and term 2b (24 th of March to 25 th of April), and during those different terms we had two weeks self study period/spring break (10 th of March to 23 rd of March). Most of the students took some days off and went on holidays during that time because it was the best time to do so. However, we had a lots of school assignment to do and this break was also a good time to catch up some work that we didn t have time to do during the term 2a. Altogether, the second semester was very intensive because the starting date was 20 th of January and we had our last lectures in the end of the April. After that we had a couple weeks time to prepare for our exams and 17 th of May our semester was officially over.

4 2. Exchange studies 2.1 My opinion about the exchange studies As I mentioned above already, I registered for all the courses a couple months before the second semester started at and for that reason, could start studying straight away. The first day at UCD was an orientation day for the new exchange students and basically we spent a couple of hours with new exchange students and our coordinator told us all the basic information about our courses, showed us our class rooms and told us how everything basically works in UCD. During the first day we also got our student cards and our passwords for the UCD and our blackboard page. I must say that everything was very well organized and if we needed any help, our coordinators tried their best to solve all the problems. Even if everything was very well organized, we didn t have that much activities provided by our own university. Apparently, there wasn t that many exchange students in our campus and for that reason it wasn t that important to organize a lot of activities only for twenty people. 2.2 My exchange program During spring I participated in three different courses because all the courses were worth 10 credits otherwise I wouldn t have got enough credits. As I mentioned earlier, I registered on my courses before the beginning of the second semester and for that reason, I was able to go to my first class on my first day already. We didn t have that many course options where to choose from (only 10 different study modules) and therefore, it was pretty easy to make the decision and pick up the courses. Personally, I read the course descriptions first and after that I decided what I didn t want to study. Then I had left six different courses and I picked up 3 that sounded the most interesting. In retrospect, I can say that I made right decision because all of my courses were very interesting and I felt that I learnt a lot.

5 Our study program was called Masters of Science in International business and all the exchange students participated in international business courses. That Master program was very international and for that reason, it was quite difficult to say who actually was an exchange student and who wasn t. For example, there were lots of students from Asia and other European countries such as from Germany and France, and only 1/3 of the class was actually Irish students.

6 2.3 My courses 1. Global competitive strategies BMGT ECTS Teacher: Dr. John Cassidy Assignments & assessment: 1. One Weekly Individual Global Business Presentation 5% 2. One Weekly Individual Long Case Study Written Analysis 10% 3. One Learning Journal 15% 4. One Group Project 50% 5. Class Participation 20% TOTAL 100% Grading system: F to A+ 2. Managing the Negotiation Process BMGT ECTS Teacher: Mrs. Stephen Boyle Assignments & assessment: 1. Class Participation 20% 2. Individual learning journal 35% 3. Group project 20% 4. Exam 25% TOTAL 100% Grading system: F to A+ 3. Creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship BMGT ECTS Teacher: Dr. Bruce Martin Assignments & assessment: 1. Contribution to class discussion and in-class exercises (individual) 20% 2. Personal Creativity Plan (individual) 15% 3. New venture creation pitch (pairs) 15% 4. New venture pitch critique and reflection (pairs) 15% 5. New venture creation launch plan report & presentation (group) 35% TOTAL 100% Grading system: F to A+

7 3. Free time and other information 3.1 The campus UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate business school was located in Blackrock and it was around eight kilometers from the city center and around 3 kilometers from Belfield, the main campus. The building itself was pretty nice and offered good facilities for the students. For example, there was a big library, a common room for the group projects, big classrooms for the lectures and quite study areas. However, the campus was slightly isolated from all the other places and for that reason, it wasn t that handy to get there. In my case, I had to take the train to Blackrock first, which took around 15 minutes, and then I had to walk another 20 minutes to even get there. 3.2 Accommodation Because of the location of the campus, I highly recommend to think about the location of accommodation. On one hand, it is always a good thing to live next to campus because then it is easy to go to school in the morning and it is a good way to live near other students. On the other hand, the campus is quite far away from the city center and especially at the nighttime it is not that easy and cheap get back. The starting point for my exchange wasn t very typical because I had friends in Dublin beforehand and for that reason, it was very nice to live near the city center and share a flat with my friend. However, if I hadn t had Irish friends beforehand, I would definitely want to live on campus with other students. 3.3 Cost of living Living costs are quite high in Dublin and also it very difficult to find an apartment because of the huge amount of people, who would like to rent an apartment, and low amount of rental apartment. In addition, the quality and the rent are not always on hand in hand, which makes the process even more complex. It is good to keep in mind that living costs are usually higher than in Finland, and for that reason it is good to have some savings because the student money and scholarship won t cover all the costs during the exchange semester.

8 3.4 Dublin as a city Dublin is a nice city and the atmosphere is very relaxed. For example, there are lots of different nationalities and young adults because of the large number of multinational companies. Among the other things, however, the best thing is definitely people in Dublin. Irish people are super friendly, easygoing and lots of fun, and they are always ready to help you. That was one of the main reasons why I enjoyed my time in Dublin so much and probably the reason why I decided to stay here. 3.5 Free time in Dublin Dublin is a great city to spend your freetime because the city is pretty compact and especially the city center is realitive small so you can easily walk everywhere. In addition, taxes are quite cheap as well soi f you don t walk everywhere you can also take a taxi. The city center is very urban and most of the time very busy. However, the mountains are only 10km away from the city center so it is very easy to go for hiking or horse back riding and enjoy the green nature. Ireland is a realtively small country and therefore, it is pretty easy to travel around and see other cities and also the countryside. Me and my college friends made couple of road trips to Southern and Western part of Ireland and I must say that those were definitely worth to do. However, the spring semester was pretty short and there are lots of things to do in Dublin as well. Soi f you don t want to spend that much money for traveling, you can definitely have lots of fun just by exploring the city. 3.6 Night life in Dublin Dublin is very easy going city and there is lots of especially young people living here. In addition, there is a plenty of pubs, bars, restaurants and night clubs, which are usually super packed during the weekends. I must say that night life was very good and very busy in Dublin.

9 4. Final Comments I must say that this exchange term was very useful in many different ways and I m 150% sure that I will remember it for the rest of my life. First of all, UCD Michael Smurfit is a very good school and the standards of the courses are quite high. However, this spring was quite intensive because I had to participate into three different courses and get 30 ETCS during this spring. In addition, there are a lot of group project, presentations, learning journals and individual assignments to submit and school works take lots of time. As always, there are two sides on the coin; if you are ready to study and make effort for school, then UCD is such a wonderful option. However, if you only want to have fun, travel and go out almost every night this is university is not the best option for you. It was definitely a right choice to go for an exchange because I made lots of new friends, I got new connections around the world and improved my language skills. Basically, this spring semester in Ireland changed the plans of my future quite dramatically because during the spring I decided to apply for jobs and start my career in Dublin. I must say that this semester definitely changed my life and I would definitely do it again, if I had a change. Hopefully this report have give you some valuable information about UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate business school and also about Dublin and therefore helped you to compare different universities and make the decision to go studying abroad.

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