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Multiculturalism at University – Why It Matters

One of the benefits of studying at a university or college is learning in a classroom with students from all over the world. This can bring challenges but also many benefits to you, both personally and professionally. Let’s take a deeper look at multiculturalism at university and why it’s so important.


Studying at university, whether in your home country or abroad, is a fantastic opportunity to make friends that speak different languages. With a multicultural friendship group, you’ll be exposed to lots of different words and phrases which will enhance your language learning skills. At university, you may need to find a ‘common’ language such as English to communicate in for university work and group presentations. This will present you with the opportunity to learn a new language – surrounded by your friends who can help you to practice your pronunciation. 


With friends from different parts of the world, you might also be invited to stay with them in their home countries. You can visit their family, learn about a different culture and explore a new part of the world. This will help you to broaden your horizons, become independent and learn about the world by getting out there and seeing it.


Meeting people from different countries will help to break down any subconscious stereotypes you might hold about people from that country. And there’s no better way to break those stereotypes than to speak to people face-to-face. Learning to understand other people and have empathy is a very important life skill. But with tolerance, kindness and compassion, it’s our young educated generations that are breaking down barriers of hate and discrimination.


Be it food, music, TV, fashion, or cultural traditions, there’s so much to learn from mixing with people from different cultures. Being open-minded to experiencing different cultures will benefit you as a person and help you to learn and grow. By stepping out of your comfort zone, you can experience a multicultural lifestyle and become very knowledgeable about different parts of the world.


Surrounding yourself with a diversity of languages, cultures, ideas and perspectives can help you to grow as an academic and become a truly international thinker. As a student, it’s important to consider a variety of opinions and learn how to think critically about what you’re learning. Being able to communicate and connect with people from different countries isn’t easy but it’s a very important skill that will become useful later in life – when working on your career.


Your Mental Health at University – How To Get Support

May is Mental Health Awareness month, so we wanted to take the opportunity to talk about mental health at university. According to UCAS, there has been a 450% increase in student mental health declarations over the last decade. With more awareness and acceptance of mental health conditions now than ten years ago, this isn’t surprising. But it does show that students at university are particularly vulnerable to having poor mental health.

Joanna Dale, a Student Advisor at the University of Sussex, tells us about the University’s approach to Mental Health.

“I’m an advisor in the Student Life Centre, which is part of a wider Student Experience Team at Sussex University. The Student Life Centre supports students during challenging or difficult times which often affect their mental wellbeing. We want students to feel they can open up about their mental health and talk honestly about what they are going through.

“Sometimes students come to the Student Life Centre and have never spoken to anyone about their mental health before. That is a very important moment for them and we take what they tell us very seriously and listen carefully. We talk with students about how they experience their mental health issues and what might help them. This can include other University services such as the counselling service, the specialist disability unit or the campus & residential team. We also signpost to a range of external resources in the local area and support students to engage with those services.”

“We encourage students to develop their autonomy and find ways to boost their wellbeing and build emotional resilience. Fostering a culture of openness and acceptance around mental health is a core value in our work. We all need support at times and no one should feel they have to manage on their own. We want students to feel part of a community where we all care about each other”.

If you’re worried about your mental health at university, we hope Joanna’s words will inspire you to talk to someone about it. University can be a very stressful time for young people that are studying at a high level and living away from home for the first time. It’s very normal to feel down or put out by the university experience. All universities will run specialist services for mental health, counselling and learning support, so it’s important to use these services if you feel like you’re struggling. Confide in your friends and others, and don’t ‘deal with it’ alone. You’re never alone.

Why not read our article about Mental Health Awareness Month.

Pete’s Urban Planning Degrees at the University of New England

Pete Russell is a Manager of International Development for a consultancy based in Canberra, Australia. He graduated from the University of New England (UNE) in 2008 with a Bachelor of Urban and Regional Planning, before continuing his studies with a Master of Planning and Management of Natural Hazards. We asked him about his time at university, what it was like to find work as a graduate and his volunteer work in the Philippines. This is his story.

What made you choose UNE?

“I would like to think it more or less chose me! I left high school and I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do with my life. I moved to Sydney because I had family there, picked up a job and worked for a year, sort of like a ‘gap year’. I worked with someone who suggested I look into Urban & Regional Planning and at the time UNE was one of few offering the course.  While there were options in Sydney, having grown up in the country I  wanted to get out of the city and I guess what attracted me to UNE was the full experience of a residential campus and the additional sense of community that would come with that.

“Fortunately, I received early entry into UNE and that was it and commenced a Bachelor of Urban and Regional Planning in 2005. I have been at UNE as a full-time student, living on campus within the college system and also as an External Masters student.”

The course you studied, how was that?

“Fantastic lecturers and an open and friendly class group. I’d say first up that one of the benefits of my undergrad with UNE is that the class sizes are smaller and you benefit from this with face-to-face time with your lecturers that themselves have time to give you honest feedback and advice. I enjoyed the face-to-face small study groups too which went for the duration of my degree. Even if some of my peers weren’t on campus, we were still close and even now we professionally have that connection.”

Did you have any challenges at the beginning

“My college created a lot of structure which was really good, but I guess the challenge was getting used to living with so many people! The college I lived at had over 200 people and I had just been living in an apartment in Sydney before so it did take a little bit of adjusting. I had been working full time too so adjusting to the relative ‘freedom’ and lectures and writing assignments took some getting used to. I found UNE to be a very social place and I’ve found that the friends I made then, have remained my friends for life. Country universities can be like that and those social skills and relating to different people are now a key part of working life. First to admit I made mistakes and learning experiences about myself and the world and that’s all part of the experience. I feel like UNE chose me as there was a range of sporting activities (including rugby!), live music and just general college life. I loved being part of the community.”

Do you find the differences between Bachelor Degree and Master Degree? How does the Bachelor help you? 

“Well, there were a few aspects. A Masters requires a lot more in-depth research for everything. It requires an implied level of analytical thinking and stronger references. My Bachelors at UNE prepared me for my Masters in that respect with the fundamentals for the next stage. What also really helped was that I was able to draw on my own previous professional experience developed in between the Bachelors and Masters. This was important to me as I could implement and refer to my previous practices and even now, I’ll look back and apply these strategies. 

“My masters in Planning and Natural Hazards Management covered cyclones, tsunamis, volcanoes, bushfires etc and how they will impact on the built environment in the future and then what policy interventions are needed to mitigate these impacts. Some of the lecturers I had for my undergrad were there for my Master’s so that immediately made it easier. I could just call up my lecturers to have a quick chat and they’d always be there. You rarely have that level of engagement and this is one of the best experiences of my time at UNE. Reflecting on the Master’s degree, it was great how the practical side of things has aligned itself to my working life. I finished my masters 18 months ago and I use it every single day at work- it’s a mindset. It’s not like reading an academic journal, it’s something I carry with me and I take it to meetings and overseas into the Pacific.”

Why do you choose to do two degrees from the same University?

“I knew that I needed to do a Masters degree after finishing my volunteering assignment. Unfortunately, a Bachelor’s degree doesn’t mean much in international development in the area that I am working in –  you really do need some kind of Masters degree- but really one of the motivations to travel and work overseas was to seek ‘answers’, when really I came back with more ‘questions’ if that makes sense. A Masters degree was a way of satisfying that thirst for knowledge. When it came to deciding where to do my Masters, UNE was an easy choice. I knew who and what I was dealing with, how the course would be delivered, who the lecturers were. I think also, a sense of loyalty and familiarity helped too. I’m thrilled with my decision though, returning to UNE was the right one.”

What kind of support and opportunities did you get from UNE?

“Opportunities and support were abundant. There was a great sense of community and leadership opportunities within the College as well as additional academic support. There was also a variety of competitions between colleges for everything from music and theatre to sport. It wasn’t just all about studying. I was fortunate enough to be the Vice President of the college in 2007 which was a great honour and I feel like all these capabilities are what have developed me into a relatively well-rounded person today. All of these skills contributed to my career and they were developed (and even started to develop) during my time at UNE. 

“In particular I loved how we weren’t just in a college bubble. We interacted with the Armidale community frequently. My college was aligned to the local rugby team, the Armidale Blues so we meet real people in Armidale who would discuss their lives and welcomed us into their community with open arms. It was a holistic experience and I felt very connected.”

Why Study Abroad in Ireland? – University College Dublin

There are so many reasons why an international student would want to study abroad in Ireland, and in the capital city of Dublin.

One of the most important reasons is that Ireland is a perfect destination for an international student who wants a world-class education in a progressive, innovative country with promising career options. It is also perfect for students interested in stunning scenery, beautiful coastal and mountain walks, ancient culture and architecture. Those who prefer the indoors life will adore Ireland’s numerous museums and art galleries, gourmet food, coffee culture and cosy pubs with their traditional live music. 

Graduates who want to stay in Ireland for longer after they complete their studies and pursue a career will be happy to know they can avail of either one or two-year stay-back visas.

Study abroad in Ireland

Ireland is a very safe, friendly and welcoming country. On the Global Peace Index Ireland is ranked 12th in the world, and 22nd in the World Happiness Index. Young Irish people have the fourth highest standard of education in the world, according to the OECD 2019 Education report.

The Bloomberg Innovation Index 2020 has ranked Ireland as the 16th most innovative country in the world. Ireland is also home to five of Forbes Top 10 companies; Apple, Google, Alphabet, Amazon and Samsung. 

Study in Dublin

International students will feel right at home in Dublin city, which topped the 2020 Condé Nast list of Europe’s friendliest cities. They will sure of a warm welcome! The cosmopolitan city centre has all the amenities of a European capital city and is easily traversed on foot or on public transport. 

Dublin is the gateway to exploring Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way and the Ancient East. Here you will find beaches that attract surfers from around the world, cliffs, mountains, ancient ruins, hiking trails and world-renowned food and hospitality. It’s also the gateway to mainland Europe with affordable and regular flights.

Why study at University College Dublin?

University College Dublin (UCD) is ranked in the top 1% of higher education institutions worldwide. In the overall QS World University Rankings 2020, UCD is 177 in the world. UCD is number one in Ireland for graduate employability, and 78th in the world (QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2020). UCD has been number one for three consecutive years!

In the 2020 QS World University Rankings by Subject, UCD has four subjects in the top 50, see more on our subject rankings section. For the past two consecutive years, UCD has also been named the number one university in Ireland by US News & World.

Established in 1854, there are now 34,000 students studying at UCD – more than 8,400 are international students from 140 different countries. The UCD Alumni Network is influential, successful, active and truly international.  Many of the 288,000 UCD global alumni network, living in 169 countries, hold positions in leading organisations around the world. 

Undergraduate students love the UCD Horizons programme which is much more flexible than traditional degree programmes. It offers students the choice to adapt the curriculum to their personal preferences. Along with core and option modules that make up their main degree, students can choose two elective modules from outside their degree. We’ve had Medicine students who have chosen Psychology and Orchestra!

Through six Colleges, UCD offers Ireland’s most diverse range of graduate opportunities. Masters programmes are led by academic experts and offer international graduate students unparalleled choice at all levels. UCD’s graduate programmes are recognised and valued by academic institutions and employers around the world. UCD offers Doctoral Programmes, taught and research masters, graduate diploma, certificate programmes and higher diplomas. Taught programmes are modularised to facilitate access, continuing professional development and life-long learning.

UCD is situated on 133 hectares of beautiful, green parkland – one of the largest urban campuses in Europe. Students live and study in modern, world-class buildings surrounded by beautiful, green parkland, wildlife and fabulous facilities. Take our 3D campus tour to experience it for yourself!

Some of the world-leading facilities our students benefit from include the UCD O’Brien Centre for ScienceUCD Sutherland School of Law and UCD Lochlan Quinn School of Business.  

Number 1 for Graduate Employment in Ireland

UCD was ranked number one in Ireland for graduate employability and 74th in the world, for the third consecutive year in the 2020 QS Graduate Employability Rankings. The career services UCD offers our students are top class. Through the Jumpstart programme, international students begin their preparations before they arrive on campus. They have access to interview preparation, internship opportunities, and alumni connections.

Scholarships for International Students

There are a wide variety of scholarships and awards for international students at UCD. These awards are highly regarded by employers and industry and celebrate the diverse talents of our students. There are also a number of Global Excellence Scholarships available to international students. They are competitively awarded based on academic merit and offered by country and/or by discipline. Students must hold an offer before they can apply for a scholarship. Full terms and conditions apply. 

International Student Life at UCD

At UCD our students benefit from a unique and world-class experience, through involvement in clubs, societies and sports, volunteering opportunities, and exposure to active and independent learning strategies. 

UCD students are the most engaged in Ireland with over 100 clubs and societies in which they can explore new interests and friendships. These experiences and our campus environment mean that UCD offers unparalleled experiences for students looking to study abroad. Our students enjoy woodland walks, biodiversity areas, wildflower meadows, as well as outstanding sports facilities, health and fitness centre and the UCD Student Centre.

For more information about studying at UCD, go to www.ucd.ie/global and select your country of residence for specific entry requirements, study options, scholarships, fees, accommodation and much more.

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Enjoyed this article? Discover more reasons to study in Ireland.