Aoife Redmond - Arts and Humanities Study Abroad Programme Manager
Having travelled as an international student in 2007, Aoife has since been working as a professional in the international education industry in different capacities, from global experience leadership programmes to high school placement programme logistics. Aoife recently assumed the position of Arts Study Abroad Programme Manager for UCD International and is excited to play a role in making the academic experience for Arts study abroad students at UCD the best it can be.
How did your own experience as an international student inspire you to work in international education?
Travelling as an international student made me realise how small the world really is, and I learned so much about myself and global cultures that it really struck a chord in me to pursue international education as a professional.
You assumed your role with UCD rather recently, How did you find out about the job opportunity?
Having worked in the study abroad industry in Dublin for a number of years, UCD International was always on my radar based on reputation and programmatic delivery. I spotted a posting for this position online and just went for it. Lucky me - I was given the opportunity to become the Arts Study Abroad Programme Manager!
What do you think makes University College Dublin a great place to study abroad?
The thing I love about UCD for international students is they get such a great mix of high end academic delivery and extensive student life options on campus. There is every amenity, service and security on campus that they could ever need, our residences are an incredibly high standard, we have such a wide range of clubs and societies available so that international students can really integrate into the student life landscape. Our academic offerings, supports and resources are second to none! And of course, studying abroad at UCD means students have easy access to not only Dublin’s amazing city centre but to the rest of our lovely island! They can really immerse themselves in all aspects of their semester - academically, through student life, and culturally.
Describe a typical day for a student at UCD.
That is a really tough question! Every day is so different here with so much happening for all students! In a general sense though, I imagine a typical day for a student at UCD would mean lectures, tutorials, seminars, study groups, clubs and society meetings, and meetings with faculty or programme staff. We offer an extensive cultural programme within UCD International through our Global Lounge so perhaps attending one of our many events there or even taking the bus in to the city centre for dinner or a gig or city event, such as the Open House Irish Architects Event happening at the moment for example.
Why do you think cultural immersion experiences are valuable?
I believe cultural immersion opens our eyes to the rest of the world. It pushes us outside our comfort zones and helps us to realise that there is so much happening outside of our own personal bubbles.
I believe it helps us to be more understanding of others once we see how small the world actually is and how colorful and educational cultural experiences can be.
How do international students in Dublin have access to unique cultural experiences?
Dublin and Ireland are places culturally rich in history, heritage, music, art. And luckily, Ireland is a very small place so students could easily see the entire country in one semester if they wanted to! Each corner of the country offers unique cultural experiences. Dublin is the epitome of urban life in Ireland and also the gateway to the rest of the country. From organised tours, cultural events and simply just getting lost in the city or jumping on a train to the other side of the country, Dublin is a great base and a great starting point.
What is your best piece of advice for students contemplating study abroad?
Be open minded. Often times students choose Ireland because we are an English speaking country, but it’s important to remember that they will still be faced with obvious and not so obvious cultural differences in college life and everyday life. Being open minded means realising that things that are different are not necessarily wrong and can be a learning opportunity. Enjoy the challenge, take it all in and don’t waste a second of your time! It will be over before you know it!
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Meeting new students with nerves, and even some anxiety when they arrive, but by the end of their time seeing how they have grown so much academically and personally. Any apprehension they had is long forgotten and they are stronger individuals having had this experience, which I get to be a small part of. And I also learn something new with every group so I am always kept on my toes, and that keeps things very interesting!