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IES Abroad Dublin - Writer's Program

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    9

Dublin spring 2016

Studying in Dublin for a semester was by far one of the best decisions I've ever made, and a close second would be choosing to study with IES and become part of the Writer's Program! Dublin is home to many amazing authors as well as intricate history, and being immersed in these things, as well as the culture broadened my horizons in many incredible ways. I learned about myself, and have taken back values, interests, and questions that I wouldn't have discovered in any other way than studying abroad. I would highly recommend this place and program to anyone - I wish I could go back!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

I made it, I finished it, and I'm proud of it

Being the first black student in my family to study abroad and also live/work in Dublin Ireland for 3 1/2 months was an eye opening and worthwhile experience. At first I didn't have the vision to study abroad because I didn't believe there was anything for me by doing so. When I was encourage by several staff members and family, I finished the application in two weeks, received plenty of help financially, and the staff when I got to Dublin were incredibly welcoming. I took 5 classes, did a 15 hour a week internship, and still had time to plan day trips to places like Galway, Northern Ireland, Howth, Causeway, Belfast, and Portrush. I took field trips to parks, theaters, local museums, and galleries, absorbing and really interacting with the culture. It was incredible to be able to travel so easily to Europe (Where I spent 4 days in Rome) and meet people from around the world even on a tight budget. The IES program is really dedicated to seeing students succeed and feel safe, empowered, and open-minded. I'm proud to have made the choice to go abroad for a short time and I want to reach out to other ethnically underrepresented students to do the same. It's worth it!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

The Dublin Experience

I chose to study through IES Abroad because it was the only program I found that offered a creative writing program and an internship dealing with what field I want to go into. After arriving in Dublin, I realized that it would not have mattered if I was in a program unrelated to my major because everything about my program was perfect. The apartment we lived in was beautiful and only a five-minute walk from our classes. The staff was wonderful and friendly and always willing to share a cup of tea and a chat with us (sometimes these teas included Hobnobs). The classes were designed so that by the end of the semester, it would have been hard not to come away without a well-informed understanding of Ireland's history and culture. Despite being a tiny island off the main continent of Europe, it was easy to travel both in Ireland and to different countries for relatively low prices. Dublin is the perfect place to be if you want a city experience that you can still become familiar with in only a few months. It's impossible not to fall in love with the country and the people.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    6

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    8

The People Made It

When I arrived in Dublin, Ireland, I did not know a soul in the entire country. As a first time international traveler this was daunting to say the least. It took me at least an hour just to figure out what bus I needed to take from the airport to city center (growing up in the suburbs, I was not well-equipped to deal with foreign public transportation). After much stress and frustration however, I found myself on the correct bus heading into the heart of Dublin. After a few deep breaths, a quick phone call with my mom, and helpful assistance from countless strangers, I had regained enough of my sanity to make it through the rest of the day.
I got through many tough times in this same fashion, and I think one of the most important things I learned was that it's okay to ask for help. Nine out of ten times, if I asked a stranger in Ireland to help me with something they would either personally see to it or they would point me in the right direction. The staff at the IES center only reinforced this hospitality further.
I can say, with no exaggeration, that the staff at IES Abroad Dublin are some of the most kind people I have had the pleasure of encountering and interacting with. All of them-- whether it's the RA's such as Conor and Myriam or the teachers/faculty such as Stephen, Regina, Claire, and Megan-- are on the same page when it comes to kindness, selflessness, and inclusivity. Not only did this create a safe and enjoyable learning environment for the students but it also proved to be contagious. Oftentimes the positivity throughout the center was palpable, as if it floated through the air and was circulated through the vents.
This was vital to me personally as I passed through a very rough phase in my study abroad semester. To keep it short, I fell into a bad depression at a point and was not sure if I could even complete the program. A mixture of a lot of things, homesickness being one of them, led me to feeling very sad, scared, and confused. Eventually I couldn't take it anymore and I went into the center to talk with someone. As soon as I talked to Claire, who was in charge of student welfare, she brought me to her office and sat me down to talk about what was going on. Without a blink she helped me to get the help I needed and, in a matter of a few weeks, I was able to continue living fully in Dublin.
What is important to note is that there was no hesitation by any of the center staff when it came to my health and well-being. Claire put in so much extra time and care to help me and I could never thank her enough for that. On top of that, the center staff and teachers were all so very understanding to my needs. They did not force me to come to class if I did not feel able and I was given all the necessary time it took to get my assignments completed. The bottom line is that the IES Abroad Dublin staff are absolutely superb and one-of-a-kind. I feel very grateful to have met them and been taught very valuable life skills that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. Their kindness and sincerity go unmatched.

Best wishes,
Danny