Trinity College

I want to study in a foreign country for a while. So far, “Trinity College, Dublin (Ireland)”:http://www.tcd.ie looks most attractive to me. Mainly because our university has an exchange programme with them and because it’s an English-speaking country which is a must for me, because I want to improve my English.

There are three ways to get into Trinity College:
# There’s the Socrates student exchange programme. You take courses there and they’ll accept your credits here. The Socrates people will also take care of housing and insurance. Trouble is that, basically, I can only take courses from the bachelors programme, most of which I already did in Groningen and aren’t that interesting.
# I can try to take master courses anyway through the Socrates programme. This can become very hard, but it can be tried. Trouble is that even if I take all the courses from a master programme, I won’t get a Trinity diploma.
# Abort my studies here in Groningen and apply at the Trinity College on my own. Trouble is that I’ll have to finance everything myself: the study, housing and living. There’s no kind of funding, I’ll just be on my own. Good thing is that I’ll end up with a Trinity College degree and that I might use the credits for the software engineering master that I’ll be doing in Groningen this year. This means that, ideally, I might end up having two master degrees.

The cool thing about Trinity is that they got this really cool master programme: “Networks and Distributed Systems”:http://www.cs.tcd.ie/courses/mscnds/. It’s exactly the master programme that I’d like to do, and they don’t offer it here in Groningen. I talked to a friend that lives in Dublin, and he told me that Trinity College is highly regarded internationally, it’s said that if you have Trinity on your CV, you’re on for a great future. He also said that Trinity is quite hard to get into.

I’m probably going to try to enroll at the Trinity College on my own. This is quite exciting and somewhat scary to me because it has an application procedure, there’s no guarantee whatsoever that they will accept my application. To people living in countries like the USA, UK, Ireland etc. this may be very obvious, in the Netherlands it doesn’t work that way. Here, you can just pick a university and they’ll accept you (except for some studies, such as medicine). This also means that it never was very important to get as high grades as possible. Basically, until now, I just did just enough to pass, and that’s that. But now, as I’ll be competing against other students to get placement, those grades do matter. Thankfully they’re not that low (they average at 7.4 out of 10), but they could’ve been higher if I worked harder. Also, one of the the entry requirements is that you have a “upper second class honors degree”, something that’s quite hard to translate into the Dutch grading sytem, but I’ll just give it a shot.

So, the plan is to apply for next year (2005/2006) which still is far away, so I have time to prepare. In order to apply I need to get TOEFL certification. This is a certifications that proves that your English reading, structuring, writing and listening skills are good enough. I had a look at some sample questions, and it’s really easy, probably easier than the exams I took at high school. Also, I need references from two teachers saying that I belong to the top-something-percent of the students that they taught in the past 5 years. This is probably trickier, mainly because not many teachers know me that well, and it would be best to have a professor or two act as references (it’s more impressive). So I’ll probably have to go to talk to some to see how we can arrange this.

Anyway, all in very early stages, but it are going to be exciting times.

(Sorry for the bad writing, I wrote this really quick)