Office of International Programs, MH 148
Thank you for your interest in our study abroad programs! The goal of this page is to help you better understand the Cork semester study abroad program and highlight distinguishing features and components that will interest you as a parent. More detailed and updated information are given to your son or daughter in information sessions, academic reviews, workshops, and predeparture orientations. Once you read this information, we strongly encourage you to discuss this with your son/daughter first. Please know all information is given to the students, and we ask students to share all of this with you.
Sending students abroad is a partnership that includes students, parents, university personnel, and our overseas partners. We realize that you will have questions, and if our website or your son/daughter cannot answer those questions, we will be happy to discuss the study abroad process and program information with you. Please keep in mind that due to the FERPA federal regulation (Family Education Rights and Privacy Act), we will not be able to discuss specific information regarding your son/daughter; however, if your son/daughter is willing to sign a waiver form indicating the specific information to be shared with you, we will be more than happy to discuss specific matters regarding your son/daughter.
We hope you find this information helpful in assisting your son/daughter to accomplish his or her goal of learning, living, and serving abroad. We look forward to working with you and your son/daughter.
Students study at the University College Cork. The University was founded in 1845 and is a part of the National University in Ireland. UCC is Ireland’s premier research university. There are approximately 14,500 students who pursue undergraduate and post-graduate degrees. Over 1,500 international students from 67 countries and all five continents study in UCC. In 2005, 2008, and 2011, University College in Cork was selected as the University of the Year in Ireland. It is a large research university with over 16,000 students and over 1,500 international students. Over the past 10 years, the University College Cork has expanded beyond the gated, rectangular campus to include many buildings which houses academic departments and classrooms in the area of Cork. Students could take courses on the main campus or in buildings owned/rented by the University off campus.
Fall Semester or Spring Semester: Two Different Experiences
This is a fall or spring program for students interested in studying abroad in Cork, Ireland. The fall and spring program are very different. Students should attend information sessions to see which semester will offer them the most in regards to courses, benefits and activities.
Students who study in the fall will participate in a program called early start. It is a month long, pre-term course primarily for American students. Students can choose from one of six early starts to study to learn about Ireland from the perspective of business, music, literature, history, folklore, or archaeology. Once the month-long course ends, students register for courses to complete their full-time load of 30 Irish credits. The early starts provide limited excursions and trips and Loyola provides special dinners and cultural outings.
Students who study in the spring will register for a full-time load of 30 Irish credits, with a month-long break to prepare for finals. During this break, Loyola will provide students with a 3-4 day trip to Rome, special dinners and cultural outings.
Students must submit a completed, online application by December 4, 2014. Students will need their advisor’s electronic permission, and if applicable, their coach’s approval and signature to study abroad. All students must declare their major and any intended minors before they submit their study abroad application on-line. Students will be turned down for the Cork program if they have not declared a major. We strongly recommend that students submit any paperwork that involves declaring a major and/or minor or any change of major or minor far in advance of the December 4 deadline, since the above forms have to go to several different departments before it is officially declared.
Criteria for Acceptance
Students must apply to be considered for admission. Typically, sophomores with a cumulative GPA of a 3.00 or higher can be considered for the Cork program. Students with a solid 2.800 (without rounding up) can apply, but all admission into this program is based on the competitive pool of the applicants for that given year. Students accepted into the Cork program must maintain a cumulative GPA of a 2.800 or higher during their last semester before going abroad. In addition, students must be able to find enough courses that will work in their declared degree program and not have a history of serious disciplinary problems or continued small incidents on campus before and after acceptance.
A student who receives any disciplinary sanctions after being accepted can be removed from the program and the student will be financially responsible for any payments made on his/her behalf.
Criteria for Remaining in the Program
Studying abroad is a privilege that students have to earn by receiving and maintaining the required cumulative GPA to be accepted into the Cork program. Students must also demonstrate through their disciplinary record (on and off campus) to the Office of International Programs they are able to represent Loyola University Maryland and the United States through the display of personal responsibility, honest, and integrity for oneself and others by making wise choices and avoiding risky and/or harmful behavior that could jeopardize their privilege to study abroad and/or harm the reputation of Loyola University, the host institution and their fellow students.
Therefore, once your son/daughter is conditionally accepted into the Cork program, it is your child’s responsibility to keep their spot in the program. This includes their academic and disciplinary records at Loyola, which the Office of International Programs will review a second time prior to departure.
Students must maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 2.800 (no rounding up) by the end of the semester prior to going abroad. Not maintaining the cumulative GPA of 2.800 could result in removal from the program. Summer (at Loyola or away) school will not be considered as an appeal to remain in the Cork program. Students will be financially responsible for any bills incurred by the Office of International Programs on the student’s behalf. This includes but not limited to airline tickets, housing and tuition deposits or full payments, etc. The student will be billed for these items.
In addition to maintaining the academic requirement to study abroad, a student must also maintain the disciplinary requirement and not get into ANY disciplinary trouble after being accepted into the program. When a student gets into disciplinary trouble AFTER receiving his/her acceptance, this strongly indicates to the Office of International Programs the student is not taking the opportunity he/she has been given to study abroad seriously, and it could also be an indicator of potential behavioral problems while abroad. If a student receives any disciplinary sanctions after being accepted into the Cork program, he/she can be removed from the program and the student will be financially responsible for any payments made on his/her behalf. This includes but not limited to airline tickets, housing and tuition or full payments, etc. The student will be billed for these items.
European Educational Environment
Loyola University Maryland and the Office of International Programs consider studying abroad as an academic endeavor for students. This is not travel abroad. Students should take their studies abroad seriously while abroad. Students are expected to attend classes regularly, review and read materials associated with the course on a daily basis.
Your child will be studying in a different educational system at University College Cork. The European system gives students a great opportunity to structure their own workload, free of the burden of quizzes and midterms, which is the complete opposite of American education on the undergraduate level. For example, European universities do not give as many tests during a semester. In many cases, there may be only one test for a course, which is usually the final examination. If a student does well on the final examination, this is the grade earned in the course. However, the reverse is true as well. Extra credit assignments are not given to students to increase a grade neither is class participation taken into consideration in a European university.
Therefore, it is very important for your child to pay close attention to the recommendations given by the Office of International Programs and the overseas site directors on how to study in a European educational system.
Students will experience a European-style educational system, very different from Loyola. Students will be expected to enroll in anywhere from four to six courses worth thirty Irish credits for a semester, which is a full-time load at UCC. This is the equivalent of fifteen Loyola credits or five courses. Registration will take once the student arrives abroad; there is no pre-registration. It is recommended that students prepare in advance for their time abroad by having as many course options as possible. Students with double majors or students with majors and minors may have difficulty finding enough course options for abroad. If students still choose to study abroad under these circumstances, parents need to be aware their son or daughter may have to take summer courses and/or sixth courses to keep them on track for graduation.
As part of the process, we ask students to meet with their major advisor or department chair to discuss their study abroad plans. This is extremely helpful, because students can get recommendations on how to schedule major or minor courses at Loyola based on what is may be offered abroad, or indicate any potential problems missed by the student.
Students take a variety of courses, from Irish Folklore to Political Ethics, and within a variety of classroom styles (lectures, discussion groups, seminars). Most courses only have one examination to assess a student’s knowledge of the material, which the final grade of the course will be based solely upon. Students need to keep up their readings and prepare accordingly throughout the semester, and not wait to cram their studying at the end of the term. Some courses will be assessed on a project/mid-term, and/or a final examination.
Students cannot request to have their final examinations moved to another date. Students are expected to take their examinations on the scheduled dates. The final examination process is a very formal one and will be explained in detail during the on-site orientation. Since we do not have the examination dates in advance, students who finish their exams early can change their return ticket portion only to come back early if they desire. However, students must have completed all of the final examinations and class assignments before changing any airline tickets. Students/parents are responsible for any ticket changes.
Students should take their studies seriously while abroad. Students are expected to attend classes regularly, review and read materials associated with the course on a daily basis. Cramming is not recommended. Overall, students who study at the University College Cork do just as well at UCC as they do at Loyola. However, grades earned abroad can be higher or lower than what has been earned at Loyola. Students will be learning in a different educational environment and this may reflect in their grades abroad.
Six Myths About Studying Abroad in Cork
As you prepare for your semester overseas, you will receive a lot of advice on how to prepare for this new educational experience. Some advice will be good and some not so good regarding academics at UCC. As you will soon discover for yourself, the educational system in Europe is quite different than the American higher educational system. When you listen to the advice given on how to study at UCC from past students, you will need to distinguish between the myths and the realities of academic life there.
Below are some common myths about what it is like to study at UCC.
1) “You don’t really need to go to class; you can cram during the study week and pass.”
Most classes do not take attendance, but 100% attendance is expected. UCC faculty understand that Irish students are independent learners, self-motivated, and eager to learn. UCC expects the same from you and assume this is why you wanted to study abroad at UCC in the first place.
You are expected to attend class and take detailed, edited notes in class; it is part of the learning experience. You will need to be self-disciplined and motivate to succeed in the Irish system. Faculty at UCC consider it the student’s responsibility and “job” to come to class and do his/her work without needing constant reminders. Going to class is your first encounter with the material and the professor’s priorities. It establishes the basis from which you can then work for mastery of the material on your own. Professors have been known to mention something in class, and it will then show up on the exam. Professors have often mentioned “recommended reading” in class, which turned out to be critical on part of the exam. You will need a lot of academic self-discipline in order to succeed abroad, and you cannot wait to be told what to do every day (More on this below).
2) “It’s not really necessary to pace yourself because it’s totally possible to do a whole semester’s worth of work during the exam period, which is really long by American standards.”
Pacing is essential. You need to start work in the very first class and keep a consistent level of study and research throughout the semester, as what is presented in class are the guidelines, and the student is expected to do the work. The study and exam periods can indeed be long, but we are talking about a semester’s worth of learning. And any educational psychologist will tell you that relying exclusively on your short term memory when taking an exam is a recipe for failure. The European and other international systems give you a great opportunity to structure your own workload, free of the burden of quizzes and midterms. Frantically cramming in everything in the last two weeks is not structure, it is craziness. It also all but guarantees that you will remember very little of the material and you are very likely to receive a very poor grade. Also note that even though the exam period may be three weeks long you might, by luck of the draw, end up with three or four exams in one week, maybe even the first week! You will need a lot of academic self-discipline in order to succeed abroad and you cannot wait to be told what to do. Successful local students spend a lot of time working on weekends and prior to the study period in order to do well academically. Thus, one American student was heard to say after a bad exam, “I just wish I had had one more day to study” when in fact she had not started studying until the end of the semester.
3) “Since the classes are often boring and over our heads, it is hard to care about them as much as I would at Loyola.”
Many foreign systems are not as interactive as the American educational system. Some require very little, if any, active participation from undergraduate students. Professors have spent their entire professional lives becoming experts in their subjects. Undergraduate students are expected to learn from them, under their guidance. In these systems, undergraduate students are expected to demonstrate first how much they have learned and how much they know, before they can present their own opinions on a subject. It is very important to take very detailed notes during such classes. Some Loyola students find these different educational traditions “boring” because they are not interactive. They are however an integral part of the international experience that enables our Loyola students to take integrated courses so they understand better how other nations educate their students to compete with our students in the global economy.
One great advantage the European system and some foreign systems have over Loyola is the long ‘shopping period’ (think drop/add) they might offer at the beginning of the semester. However, in order to benefit from this, it is important to go to more classes than you will ultimately need FROM THE BEGINNING of the semester. The idea is NOT to go to one class for a week, decide it’s not for you and begin another --- in that case you have joined the second class a week late and may have missed crucially important information. The students who put the most effort into class selection also tend to be the most satisfied.
4) “Professors abroad will not fail you because they know you are there just for one semester.” On a whole our students do just as well abroad as they do at Loyola, but some students have received grades lower than what they have been accustomed to at Loyola and even a small number have actually failed courses abroad. So the reality is professors don’t fail students. Students produce work and it is either acceptable or not acceptable, and if it is not acceptable, you will receive lower marks and even failing grades. Therefore, since you are not familiar with the new academic system you are going into, wouldn’t it be wise on your part to make sure you are doing everything you can (attending class, keeping up with your assignments, taking good notes, etc.) to try to get the best grades possible?
5) “Failing a class is not that big a deal because you can always re-take the final exam.”
This is not necessarily true at UCC. It will depend on quite a few factors and there is no guarantee it will work out for you. First, most of the modules/courses in the fall are examined by continuous assessment, which means that most modules/ courses have no official end of the year exam in May. However, there are a few exceptions to this and the student must consult the Book of Modules for Visiting Students to ascertain how the module is assessed. This is your responsibility. You can ask the International Education Office if you have any questions on this.
The module or course grade is based on the course work the student submits over the fall semester (in class test(s), a paper(s), projects, etc.) only. If you fail an in class test in the fall, the relevant school/department will decide if it is possible for the student to retake the test or do an alternative assessment. However, it may not be possible to arrange for an alternative test or assignment.
If a student who studies in the fall or spring at UCC takes modules/courses that require an end of year official examination in May, the student MAY have the option of repeating the examination in August. HOWEVER the student MUST travel back to UCC for the exam AND not all modules/courses have repeat exams. You would need to check the Book of Modules for which ones may have repeat exams. If you do a repeat exam and pass, you will only receive a grade of 40%, the minimum pass grade at UCC for your exam, and it will not matter how good your answers are. The repeat exams are not graded on the same basis as the mainstream examinations.
6) “It’s impossible to guess what will be on the exam so it makes me feel like I have to study everything, which is so overwhelming that I lose motivation.”
Well, yes: you are expected to know everything that you have studied for that course. A final exam can ask questions about a point that was briefly discussed in class but that the student was expected to study further on his/her own. Examples of previous exam papers and assignments for most classes are available at UCC. Professors design and teach their own classes, they set assignments and exams, and they grade their own papers, so it is vital that students attend their classes. So in a very real sense they are not just studying to pass a test, but to exhibit their ability to command the material. This is a perspective on studying that many American students do not encounter before graduate school.
Don’t panic! Students have consistently adapted to these different systems and done very well. If not, study abroad would not be as popular as it is at Loyola and particularly the Cork program. It’s not impossible; indeed it’s not necessarily more difficult; but you need to be aware of what’s going on. You have to be proactive and tailor your academic habits to fit the new environment. Indeed, some students miss the freedom and responsibility of the European system when they return to Loyola, but that of course depends on each individual.
Length of Stay
The fall semester begins with the early start program, departing in mid-August, and the university courses commencing in mid-September. The program ends in late December, before Christmas.
The spring semester begins in early January, with a month-long break around Easter. The program ends in late May or early June. Students studying in the spring have been known to depart on New Year’s Day depending on when the university opens.
Students stay in a non-university owned apartment complex called Leeside Apartments. It is about a 15- 20 minute walk from the university. It is 10 minutes from the city center, where students can find restaurants, churches, pubs, a movie theater, a mall, an English Market, and many other exciting things. Leeside is a shared apartment complex, with a shared kitchen, living room, bathroom, and possibly bedroom. The apartments are intermixed with other graduate or undergraduate international or American students. All apartments are furnished. Bedding is not included.
Meals are not included on this program. Students cook their own meals in fully furnished kitchens in the apartments. This is one way to cut down on costs abroad. There are supermarkets in the area and an English Market to get fresh produce and meats. Two special dinners for the group will be provided at the beginning and at the end of the semester. Eating out can get expensive. There are inexpensive pubs, local hang-outs where students can buy inexpensive meals. If eating out at restaurants, we advise students to check with the waiter or waitress before ordering if they accept major credit cards. Some places may not accept credit cards, only cash.
Please keep in mind that overseas housing is very different than housing at Loyola. Rooms are much smaller and may not have all of the modern looking amenities U.S. housing may have.
Costs and Benefits
Students/parents pay to Loyola the following charges:
- Loyola tuition;
- Loyola housing charge;
- Reduced comprehensive fee;
- Program fee; and
- Study abroad deposit to hold your place in the program.
Students receive the following benefits on the Cork program:
- Tuition fees covered at UCC;
- Shared housing at Leeside Apartments;
- Limited trips through Early Start Program (fall only) and limited cultural excursions;
- Official airport pick-up and drop-off;
- Orientation on campus and abroad;
- Enrollment in student travel plan;
- Predeparture orientation; and
- Services provided by part-time director on-site.
Items not included in the Loyola charges but should be budgeted for:
- *Meals (past students suggest budgeting $1,500–$2,500);
- Bedding packages;
- *Immigration fee (currently 300 Euro to enter and stay in Ireland and subject to change);
- cell phones and other communication expenses;
- Medical and dental check-ups (immunizations up to date);
- *Start-up costs (bedding, cleaning supplies, etc.);
- *Health insurance (if you do not have a health plan that is valid abroad);
- Travel to and from the departure city/airport (United States);
- Personal travel (hostels, hotels, airline or rail tickets, food, etc.); and
- Bike rentals (optional and most students do not purchase).
(These items do not normally occur but could happen depending on the student and unforeseen circumstances:)
- A hotel stay abroad for an emergency (snow storm or flight cancellation);
- Lost keys or room damage;
- Illness (payment of services rendered expected at the time of service); and
- Summer school (student is behind in their degree program or a course is not offered abroad).
This is a Loyola sponsored study abroad program. This means that Loyola financial aid (academic scholarships, grants and other controlled sources of aid, with the exception of college work study), may be used to help with educational expenses. Students on athletic scholarships should consult the athletic department to see if this aid can be used abroad. Parents should contact the Financial Aid Office to discuss your financial aid package and how it works with study abroad. Conversations should be made with them before your son/daughter submits the study abroad deposit to Loyola.
Students can easily use both American credit cards (MasterCard and Visa mostly) and American ATM cards to pay for goods and services in Ireland. This is especially useful for visits to the hospital and payments for air travel. Make sure your child contacts their bank and credit card company prior to their departure in order to let them know he/she will be in Ireland for a specific period of time. It is also good to let the banks know if your child traveling outside of Ireland, too, so their card will not be deactivated.
There is a Bank of Ireland located on the campus of UCC. Students can open an account at the Bank of Ireland if they so choose. It is a good idea to check with your bank in the US to see if they have any affiliation with the Bank of Ireland or any other Irish bank. This may cut down on ATM/Debit card user fees. Past students recommend that students take out enough cash to last a few weeks. This cuts down on withdrawing monies every week and thus incurring bank fees.
Students reported spending anywhere from $2800-$9,000 during a semester. These funds are primarily used for travel, meals, and entertainment. The exchange rate and other factors can affect spending amounts.
The Irish unit of currency is the Euro, which is abbreviated as EUR. You should check the current exchange rate by visiting this website: http://www.xe.com/currencyconverter/exchange
The easiest way to handle money is with an American ATM card. You should check with the issuer to make sure your numerical PIN number will work abroad. You can only draw from a primary (usually checking) account. Be sure to check with your bank to make sure you ATM card can be used in Ireland and Europe. Check with your home bank to see what fees will be assessed by them.
It is also imperative that your bank knows that your child is going abroad to Ireland. For your child’s protection, they will block your credit card to any charge that seems out of the ordinary.
You can use credit cards in Ireland and Europe for everything from drawing cash to buying dinner to taking a cab. While Visa and MasterCard are more widely accepted than American Express for purchases, American Express offers its card holders some very useful financial services. Check with each company before you depart.
Drawbacks to Plastic
Even with careful planning and strict adherence to a budget, it is very easy to overspend. Finance charges can add up quickly if you extend payment on goods or take out cash advances. It is a good idea to establish an online banking account with your bank at home so that you can monitor your spending in U.S. dollars.
Obtaining a Major Credit Card
The card your child presents overseas must be in his/her own name as given on the passport. At a cardholder's request (parent or guardian), most major lenders will issue a dependent's card.
Documents for Abroad
Currently, the following documents are required to travel and study in Ireland:
- Valid, signed passport (with 6 months left after the program end date);
- Immigration card (obtained in Ireland);
- Letter from health insurance company verifying health coverage that is valid abroad;
- Official letter of acceptance from UCC;
- Letter of support from Loyola University Maryland; and
- No visa – currently, American citizens do not need a student visa–subject to change.
Health Insurance and Health Care
We recommend that you contact your health insurance company in advance to check on overseas coverage. Loyola University Maryland will need a letter from your health insurance company verifying your child has valid health care coverage for abroad, and that it includes hospitalization and accident coverage. Your student will need to take the original letter from the insurance company to Ireland to show immigration officials and a copy must be submitted to the office of international programs.
Before going abroad, students should make sure their immunizations are up to date before departing overseas. You can consult the CDC website or Loyola Student’s Health Center to determine what immunizations are required to study in Europe. In some cases, health care providers abroad may make recommendations to students to obtain additional shots after arriving in Ireland, like the Hepatitis C shot. There could be different strands of diseases found abroad than in the United States. In cases like this, it is usually left up to the student and his/her parents/guardian as to whether or not you want your child to receive any additional immunizations abroad.
Shipping medications is not recommended. We suggested that you obtain from your doctor and pharmacist enough medication(s) to last for the duration of the program. In addition, we also recommend bringing the name, dosage, and the breakdown of the medication just in case the student needs to purchase a particular medication(s) while abroad. This information should be noted on a doctor’s stationery or prescription pad.
Keep in mind certain medications considered legal in the United States may be deems illegal abroad. This should be discussed way in advance of departure so that other arrangements can be discussed in the event your son/daughter will not be able to take or obtain a certain medication(s) abroad. In addition, allergy shots and flu shots are not automatically provided to our students.
For allergy shots, students who will need to continue their allergy routine while abroad must get a letter from their doctor with the name and dosage of the allergy serum, and further details on the illness as to why the shots need to be administered abroad. UCC cannot guarantee that the Health Center there will be able to administer the allergy shot, as there may be licensing issues.
On the matter, flu shots are only administered to those people deemed most at risk for health problems, like the elderly or small children, in Ireland. As a result, flu shots are not readily available to all citizens of Ireland for the routine purpose of prevention. Therefore, American students who need to obtain flu shots abroad need a letter from their doctor explaining why it is medically necessary for the students to receive the shot abroad. This must be taken abroad and shown to the doctor at the Health Center at UCC.
Travel to and from Ireland
Group flights are arranged for students traveling to Cork. Student departures have been from either Newark International Airport or JFK International Airport. Two main carriers used are either Aer Lingus from JFK or United from Newark. Students fly to Shannon International Airport, where a motor coach with the director, Mary Breen, will take them to Leeside Apartments in Cork. The ride is about 2 ½-3 hour ride. Once the departure city is determined, information on carry-ons, luggage amounts, and restrictions will be given to the student. Here are the links for Aer Lingus and United Airlines. Information on carry-ons and baggage is subject to change. We encourage students to review the airline carrier’s website information on a monthly basis due to the many changes airlines make.
You may contact Alice Wilcox at firstname.lastname@example.org to make any changes on the return ticket only. No changes will be made if it will jeopardize the group flight arrangements or cost.
Due to registration taking place abroad, we do not know in advance when each student’s last final examination will be. If students want to change their return ticket only, they will have to contact Frosch Travel, not the Office of International Programs, to facilitate the change.
UCC is a full university with very similar departments and offices like Loyola. There are the Disabilities and Support Services Office, Student Health Office, Student Counseling and Development Office, Support Officer for International Students, and an International Education Office just to name a few on-site support services.
In addition, our part-time director will help students get acclimated to their new surroundings and direct them to the appropriate personnel or office that can assist them with any questions they may have. Visit the UCC website for more information on academic services, practical life and services for students.
When reviewing the above information, please note that certain services and accommodations provided by Loyola may not be available abroad, or services or accommodations provided abroad may not be provided in the same manner or exactly the same way as Loyola. Please encourage your son or daughter to contact our office early in the process to find out more detailed information or to get in contact with the appropriate department at UCC.
Arrival and Contact Information
Students will be picked up by motor coach with the part-time director and taken to their accommodations. The director will let students contact their parents when they first arrive to let you know they have arrived safely abroad. Please understand it may take a few days for students to get established, obtain cell phones (if purchasing them abroad), and recover from jet lag. Also, the director has scheduled welcoming dinners and events during the first couple of days.
Loyola University Maryland
Office of International Programs
410-617-2910 or 2920;
Part-time Director Abroad
Mary Breen–Department of English
University College Cork
International Education Office
University College Cork
011-353-21-490-4727 (Karen McSweeney)
011-353-21-490-4734 (Victoria Pearson)