Laurel Leyden at the Cliffs of Moher

Laurel Leyden


UCD Fall 2012

Dublin, Ireland

Coming into ILR as a transfer, I was not expecting to have the opportunity to study abroad. I was worried that I would not have enough credits or would be too far behind to take a whole semester away from Cornell. However, the UCD Semester in Dublin Program not only gave me the international experience that I was looking for, but the classes also coincided with what I was studying in ILR. Thanks to the ILR study abroad directors and the Quinn School at UCD, I don’t think the transition could have been any easier. I met amazing people, traveled to amazing places, and enhanced my knowledge of labor relations through an international perspective.

I lived on-campus with two Irish female students. I was so lucky because we immediately hit it off and they became my closest friends in Dublin. I was able to travel to their hometown of Dundalk, about an hour north of UCD, and they taught me all the secrets to the city of Dublin. I still skype with them on a regular basis. Living on campus allowed me to becoming involved with different clubs and particularly lacrosse. Lacrosse is a new sport to Ireland, but UCD had a strong team made up of a combination of Americans and Irish students. It was a blast! We would go away for tournaments, and it was a great way to meet people and see other parts of Ireland.

In terms of classes, the European teaching style is quite different from that of the U.S. because so much more weight is placed on final exams. All of my classes had exams or projects that were at least 50% of my grade, one being 80%. This was slightly intimidating at first because Cornell, and particularly ILR, has a culture of continuous assessment. However, my nerves were eased within the first few weeks when I realized how approachable the professors were for extra help. Because the classes focused on labor relations, human resources, and business, which perfectly aligned with the courses of ILR, we were able to further our discipline of study with an international perspective. Each class only met once a week, giving us ample time for schoolwork and to explore Ireland and the rest of Europe. I had the opportunity to travel to London, Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam. The program really allows for the perfect balance of school and traveling.

Overall, the experience was amazing. I cannot stress how much the trip meant to me and I will never forget the people I met. It was the fastest four months of my life and though I am glad to be back in Ithaca, I cannot wait to visit again!

- Laurel Leyden, UCD Fall 2012