10 Tips for a Successful First Year at an Irish University: A Checklist for Indian Students
This page provides a checklist of 10 tips for Indian students to have a successful first year at an Irish university, including attending orientation programs, networking, and creating a fun bucket list.
Ireland, known as Emerald Isle because of its unreal beauty, is slowly getting to be known for more than just that. Also known as the Land of Saints and Scholars because it is renowned in history for its education, Ireland is becoming one of the top education destinations around the globe. Statistically speaking, there is around a 10% increase yearly in the number of Indian students applying to Ireland universities. While going to a new country may prove to be challenging here are 10 valuable tips to help you get settled and make the most out of your first year at an Irish University
1. Attend Orientation Programs in your First Year at an Irish University
All Universities have orientation programs, where the students get to know one another before the proper academic session starts. It is an event where students interact with their classmates, do fun activities together and are also informed about the various facilities and services of the University. Whether it be the fear of being unfamiliar with your classmates, not knowing your way around the campus or not knowing University laws, rules and regulations; programs like these will ease the start of your educational journey. Orientation programs are a great way to mingle with peers and faculty and explore the University campus before the academics start.
2. Adjusting to the Weather
While this may seem an apparent inevitable factor to adjust to, it is sometimes overlooked. Weather affects a person in many ways, and the bone-chilling winters of Ireland are prone to grey skies and dull cities leading to depression among the people. It is crucial to prepare for the weather conditions mentally and physically so that it does not take a toll on you, even more so during your first year at an Irish University. Please ensure you have proper winter wear, as it differs from the winter season we are accustomed to in India. While it may seem like a gloomy time, there are many fun things to do in Ireland during the winter! Visiting the natural wonders, sightseeing, Christmas markets, and many more are surreal experiences in the winter season. Make sure to tick them off your list during your Winter break. This leads us to our next tip.
3. Seize Every Opportunity
This tip is essential. No matter how big or small the opportunity is, grab it. It could be getting out of your comfort zone and drinking coffee with new friends, helping on a team project with a diverse group of people, or volunteering for activities at the University. Every opportunity will serve as a lesson and memory, giving you the experience of a lifetime. Warm up to new people and grab any chance you are offered, whether it helps you develop professionally or mentally and physically. It will help you develop in numerous ways; these small opportunities you choose to grab could even lead you to job offerings. So please make the most of what you have and give it your all!
4. Networking in Your First Year at an Irish University
As Indians, we excel in academics but tend to lack networking skills. Remind yourself of the reason you decided to pursue your studies abroad. Get out of your comfort zone and befriend people, make connections and discover. Being around people from the same country as you in a foreign land is a blessing; however, growing outside of your circle is vital. Networking is a crucial skill to possess in foreign countries as the mix of nationalities allows numerous ways to grow and learn from people worldwide. It helps develop better connections and build a better reputation leading to more opportunities for growth and support. Also, remember, the locals know the best of everything! Stay in touch with them to learn all the best tips and tricks, deals and places that will benefit you, especially in the first year at an Irish University.
5. Getting a Local Bank Account and SIM
One of the first things to do when you reach your destination is to open a Bank account for better money management. Many Irish Banks offer special rates and services to students, especially International students. Having an account in a national bank will ease transfers and payments, and it will be safer to carry a bank card around instead of cash. The requirements for opening an account are pretty basic. You will need documents like Proof of Identity (passport copy), Student ID card, home address and Irish address. Get an Irish sim card for easy use and internet facilities. You can easily find a sim card in any shopping centre, or Tesco (a famous supermarket chain). There are many network providers in Ireland, like Tesco, Vodafone, Three, Eir and Lyca. If you cannot buy a sim card right away, do not panic because free wi-fi is available in most places in Ireland, including buses.
6. Get to Know the Country
Familiarize yourself with Ireland’s laws, customs, traditions and festivals so that you can blend in better, during your first year at an Irish University. In both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, cars are driven on the left-hand side of the road like in India. Smoking in public places, including restaurants and hotels, is completely banned. It is amusing to note that tea is considered a lifeblood in Ireland, just like in India. The Irish take their tea and weather talks very seriously. There are over 300 festivals in Ireland all around the year! The Irish are enthusiastic people and love to celebrate. These festivals include music, food, agriculture, well-being, and the list can go on. Festivals like these are a perfect opportunity to mingle with the Irish and celebrate with them. It will make your first year in an Irish University much more fun and easy. Make sure to research before landing in the country to know what to do and not face any unpleasant situations.
7. Navigate Through the City
It is a good idea to go around and study the routes throughout the place you live in. Whether you reside in the campus accommodation or not, being familiar with the means of transportation and travel routes will help you in your journey in and out of campus. Unfamiliar places bring anxiety and fear of getting lost. Make sure that in the first year at an Irish University, you always go around with someone you know and trust, until you are confident in going alone. Inform someone before leaving and keep your phone charged and with you at all times.
You can get a Student Travel Card (a student ID and discount card) through which you can avail of up to 40% discount on public transport like rail and bus. It even works in some retail shops for a special student discount.
8. Collect Your Irish Residency Permit (IRP) Card
Any student coming from overseas (except EU, EEA or Switzerland) must register for the Irish Residency Permit (IRP) if your stay in Ireland is for a period of more than 90 days. You have to go to the registration office in person. There you will need to show documents like
proof of medical insurance
proof of monetary funds (it is to show that you have sufficient funds to provide for yourself during your stay).
Other requirements include your purpose of travel, i.e. Admit Letter from the University or your official University documents. The IRP is simply an identity card that shows that you, as a foreign national, are allowed to stay in Ireland legally for more than 90 days. The IRP card contains information like your name, photo, and other details, including your immigration permission and permission stamp number.
9. Give Yourself Some Time
Needless to say, you will feel homesick, but that is okay. It is normal to feel this way. Remind yourself why you took this step and came to Ireland in the first place. Ireland is home to many nationalities and people, go outside, explore and make new friends! Participate in group and college activities to divert your homesickness for the better. In case of prolonged homesickness, the majority of the Universities offer counselling services that you can opt for to get help professionally.
Also, there will be times when assignments and deadlines will overwhelm you; remember that time management is key. The education outside of India is starkly different; nevertheless, it provides an excellent opportunity to learn and grow. You will also have to do chores by yourself, which you may be accustomed to someone else doing for you, but the satisfaction of doing them yourself is unmatched. There are many things that a student will have to learn and will come to appreciate as they live away from their family. Keep in mind that it is crucial to give yourself some time to adjust and adapt to a whole new world, but once you conquer it, there will be nothing to stop you from acing the first year at an Irish University!
10. Create a Fun Bucket List
Make sure to have fun every once in a while without compromising your studies. Make a bucket list of all the places to visit and things to do in Ireland. Try new cuisines, attend festivals, help in community work, hang out with different nationalities, etc. This will help you balance your life and give you a sense of fulfilment, allowing you to have the best of both worlds. Keeping yourself engaged will help fight homesickness, and before you know it, you will have created fond memories with many new people. So make a bucket list of all the things you want to do in your first year and the years to come.
To find out about the top tourist attractions in Ireland for your bucket list, click here.
While Ireland may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of pursuing further studies, you should consider it. Ireland has it all: the student-friendly atmosphere, a good standard of education and living, andjaw-dropping natural wonders. In this blog we have covered some important tips that will help you settle well among new people and in a new environment in your first year at an Irish University. These tips will guide you to make the most of your time in the best way possible and enhance your overall learning experience. Happy Learning!