Grace MacLellan

It’s crazy that this is my final year. Unlike many of the North American students that come to Ireland to study, I did not come with a degree already in hand. I would say that this was one of the most crucial and equally amazing decisions I have ever made. Originally from the small island of Nantucket, Massachusetts, I had more exciting expectations from university life. Around the time of college applications, I came across the Atlantic Bridge Program and immediately I was drawn in. I have always known that I wanted to practice as a physiotherapist and I wanted to get “stuck in”, as they say in Dublin, and gain as much hands on experience as I could, as soon as possible. University College Dublin advertised just this. In the spring of 2011 I was accepted to the Bachelors of Science in Physiotherapy program at UCD where I joined one other American student amongst the 58 in our class.

When I made the trip to Dublin to look at UCD I completely fell in love with Ireland. The people are so kind and approachable exuding nonchalance and no one is in a hurry. The city is completely breathtaking and clean; the lack of skyscrapers is inviting and the fact that you can walk the entire city in one day makes my life here so effortless and exciting. The public transport system is so extensive and Ireland being so small means you can travel to any part of the country in one day.  I have been lucky enough to travel over to Galway, Wexford and other exciting places during my time here. It’s also so easy to travel to other countries during your stay, as the rest of Europe is located just across the sea!

UCD also has the distinct feeling of true campus life. While my course is quite intimate, there is such a vast capacity to explore and get involved. The International Office is a great support for international students at UCD, whether you are here for the semester or full-time. This university also has so much to offer including numerous sports and leisure clubs and societies. I was privileged enough to play with UCD Women’s Soccer team as well as join societies with loads of events scheduled throughout the year. It was also through UCD that I was given the opportunity to travel to India to volunteer as a physiotherapy student for my clinical placement. Ongoing clinical placement is a vital part of my program and UCD ensure that you participate in all areas and scopes of practice throughout your four years of study.

I am now in my final year at UCD and I’ve come to the conclusion that Ireland is a wonderful country. It has completely surpassed all my expectations and I am so proud to have been given this opportunity to study here for my undergraduate degree. Dublin has become a second home and I know that I will return often and fondly.

Applications are open for 2024 now.

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