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A year studying abroad: It's B for Bondi not Belfield

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Stephen Duke

Stephen Duke

Stephen Duke

UCD mechanical engineering student, Stephen Duke only started looking at the possibility of spending some time studying abroad a year ago at the start of second year.

Now, the 20-year-old from Gorey, Co Wexford is ensconced in Sydney, attending the University of New South Wales (UNSW), for his third year studies.

Travelling was on his radar, but he didn't want to take a year out of college.

He was thrilled to be offered a place in UNSW, currently ranked 48th and 109th, respectively, in the QS and Times Higher Education global university rankings, ahead of UCD in both tables.

He says there was a bit of "a mass exodus" for the year among his classmates because "no one wanted to be left behind".

Stephen had to pay only his Irish college fees, but landed in what was recently judged one of the 10 most expensive cities in the world.

Luckily, the stipend he receives as a UCD scholar is helping to meet the cost.

Stephen knows other students who have come to Sydney for a semester but he is taking the full-year option and has organised a work placement for the Australian college holiday, to bridge the gap between the end of one academic year in November, and the start of a new one in Spring.

He says he has had to adapt to a different way of doing things at college and finds it less structured than UCD but he is really happy with his move: "I am gaining so much from the academic side but also culturally: you see a different side of things".

Irish Independent