What’s different in Cork?!

In follow up to our last blog, we held more discussions with Latin American students and gathered their thoughts on changes you might expect in UCC. Here’s what they had to say…..

Crossing the road


This may sound simple but it’s something to note, in Ireland we drive on the left hand side of the road. This is really really important when you are crossing the road! You’ll have to change the side you normally check to see if a car is coming. Cork is a walking city so just be a little careful when crossing the road.

Academic year

The UCC academic year runs from September to June. This means you start classes in September which run until December. We have about a two week break at Christmas. Classes start again in January and students finish up in late May or early June.

Shop closing times 


Our shops do not stay open late! Some department stores stay open late on Thursdays or Friday but generally stores close around 6 each day. Some supermarkets in the city stay open until 8pm or 10pm but don’t assume that you can go grocery shopping at 10pm and make sure to check opening times with the shops first!

Self service machines

We have lots of self service machines in Ireland. Self checkouts in grocery shops and ticket machines in train and bus stations are common. Keep an eye out for this option to avoid queues!



Taxi ranks are common in many parts of Cork City. However some good advice is to keep a local taxi number in your phone, in case you are not within walking distance of a taxi rank and need a lift home! Students have great things to say about Hailo


In Ireland the tipping culture isn’t strong. We tend to tip at an evening meal where the service and food is good. Daytime tipping isn’t common and we do not tip in bars. This blog on tipping is a good point of reference for when you are unsure.

Travel cards

Get your travel card when you come here! Your UCC student card will allow for shop discounts all over Ireland so keep an eye out for signs advertising student discounts. You should also pick up the Irish student travel card to avail of the large discounts on bus and rail travel for all your trips around Ireland http://www.studenttravelcard.ie/index.aspx

Good news


We are not too expensive. We surveyed our Latin American students and they think that Cork is pretty affordable and isn’t a huge shock in terms of prices. We know this will vary depending on the origin of our students but our feedback was really positive overall on the cost of living in Cork.

People are friendly here and please ask if you have a problem. Don’t be afraid to ask your questions and make sure you get all the information you need.

Cork City is also safe and offers a warm, friendly and safe living environment. Ireland ranks 12th out of 162 countries in the Global Peace Index 2013.


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