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What’s it like to study at UCC?

After settling into his routine as a Chemical Engineering student at University College Cork, Danillo Castro our Brazilian Ambassador, offers his personal take on classes, internship opportunities, the grading system, resources, and facilities on campus…

Chemical Engineering at UCC

My first semester at UCC is over (now there are only well wishes for good grades!) and the second semester has well and truly begun. I study Chemical Engineering and most of my classes are in this field. I have also taken a module in Management and Marketing to learn valuable leadership skills. This class is one of my favourites, and a highlight of UCC is every international student has the option to choose modules from all areas, so you can take classes that are outside of your field. Personally I think this is a great idea as it enables you to expand your knowledge in areas you may not have considered. You are also free to choose the number of modules in your timetable so that your schedule is as busy or relaxed as you need it to be. Additionally, the facilities on campus are great! This includes state of the art laboratories, classrooms and buildings. UCC also has a lot of opportunities for extracurricular activities to improve your skills and enhance your CV for your future career – always a plus!

Internship opportunities and support

While studying here in Cork, I’ve discovered that the city has a thriving pharmaceutical industry. This is really exciting news for me as most of my classes are based in this field, meaning more internship opportunities that I could eventually apply for.

There is amazing student support on offer at UCC. Assistance is available to help you start your internship search, as well as with writing your CV, managing your funds, learning to make presentations, Office program tutorials, creating a study routine, and even psychological counselling, if needed.

Environmentally-friendly campus

I’m participating in an interesting initiative called Green Campus here at UCC. The university is the one of the first in the world to adopt with this initiative and, even better, it is managed by students. The main objective is to make the campus more “green” and create awareness of sustainability among the students.

UCC grading system

The grade for passing at UCC is 40%, or 4, the maximum being 10. I found this quite strange because at my home university it is 60%, and many others have a grade of 50% or sometimes even 70% to pass. The modules can have final exams and continuous assessments, or just one encompassing exam. The assignments can be individual or as a group. Personally all my classes were graded fairly, did not demand too much and had reasonable set dates for assignments and exams. Another thing to be praised is the commitment from the teachers. They are there for you whenever you need help.

Clubs and societies

In my first blog post I mentioned that I am playing in-line hockey. On campus, you can practice a wide range of sports. UCC offers everything from traditional—like soccer, volleyball, and swimming—and Irish—like hurling and Gaelic football—to specialty sports like martial arts, mountaineering, archery, and canoeing. The list goes on! As well, you can participate in societies that focus on things like languages, games, management, science, and culture. The UCC societies are fun and there are always events to attend where you can meet other students.

In terms of negative aspects, I really cannot think of anything that stands out. Everything that I would mention happens in all universities with no exception. The accommodation is acceptable where I live, but there are several different accommodations to choose from in and around the Cork campus. The university restaurants are also reasonably priced and serve variety of food for a rounded diet!

I must confess that the first semester was a little hard, but I managed to have fun learning. I discovered something new every day, not only in my modules, but also through living abroad.

Read about my first semester at UCC

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