Alec is one of our first year students from the US studying at Trinity.  Here he lets us know about his experience of studying History and Political Science at Trinity, one of our Top 10 Courses.

Your name: Alec Bickerstaff

Your year of study: Year 1 (Junior Freshman)

Your programme of study / course: History and Political Science 

What made you decide to study your course at Trinity?

When I first came to Trinity in September and met my peers, professors, and Dubliners in general, the first question they would ask is why I chose Trinity. Indeed, the decision to go overseas is certainly not a decision you make lightly. In short, I found the opportunities and the education trumped any other school I looked at, domestic and international. I didn’t choose Trinity because of its location (although, that is a fantastic asset). I didn’t choose Trinity just because it’s in Europe (again, also a fantastic asset).  I chose Trinity because I am spending four years doing what I love and better prepare myself for a future career. Over the next four years of studying History and Political Science, I will spend my time studying advanced topics and policy issues.

What, if anything, was the most challenging thing about moving to Ireland to study?

Certainly any transition into University is difficult, whether your school is miles from home or across an ocean. However, Trinity’s resources and staff are experts in helping with homesickness and general transition. Trinity students are assigned an advisor that meets with you periodically to discuss academic and other aspects of life at Trinity.  I am living in Trinity Hall in my first year at Trinity. The Welfare and International Welfare Officers on duty both provide a walk-in service to discuss any difficulties residents may have during their time in Halls. A similar service is available to the college at large through the students union. I have made good use of both services. The first few weeks away from home were difficult, but I sought help through the welfare officer and my tutor. They both gave me tips on how to succeed and overcome the difficulties of being away from home.

If you had one piece of advice to any other students about to start your course in Trinity what would it be?

One of the tips was to immerse myself in Trinity’s ever expanding list of student societies. I joined The Philosophical Society and took part in one of their famous Thursday night debates. I also joined the Trinity Hall entertainment team that plans, schedules, and runs student nights out for Halls residents.


Trinity has plenty of extracurricular activities to partake in! Chances are that if you have a particular interest there is already a club or society for it. If not, start one! The central societies committee works with students to help get funding for new societies as well as attracting new members to existing ones. Check out their website too! 

What is your favourite thing about Dublin? Dublin is a fantastic city to learn and live in. Consistently ranked as one of the top places to go before you die, Dublin is Ireland’s cultural, economic and social hub. Artists, bands and writers from all over the world flock to Dublin and often take part in public exhibitions, speeches, concerts, and other events. I had the opportunity to see Apple CEO Tim Cook speak at Trinity in the Fall.  A few weeks ago, I saw Kevin Hart and Ice Cube receive patronage from one of Trinity’s Societies. Other major figures like Tony Blair, Angela Merkel, and Bill Clinton have made visits to Trinity while in Dublin, certainly making celebrity watching a big part of the life of a Trinity Student.


If you would like to get to know Trinity College and the city of Dublin better, consider coming along to one of our upcoming US events.


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