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07 Mar



Study abroad: discovering Athlone

March 7, 2016 | By | 4 Comments

Thinking of pursuing your education in Ireland with the Athlone Institute of Technology? Wondering what is waiting for you here in the town of Athlone? Look no further, Paul Heng our Student Ambassador spills the beans on what to expect…

Athlone is a small town situated at the heart of Ireland with approximately 30,000 people living in it. That’s about 7% of the entire settlement of Ireland’s capital, Dublin City. Despite its size, there are actually lots of fun activities and places that a student can look forward to, from taking a picture at the Athlone Castle to hanging out with the friendly locals in Ireland’s oldest pub, Sean’s Bar.

As far as I have experienced, the locals here are friendly, and seem to all have a big smile on their face most of the time. Lost? Just ask around! Friendly locals are definitely there to give you good directions. Some of the people here are just so friendly they actually greet you good day when you pass by them. So, don’t forget to give them a big smile back and show them how great of a day you are having in their town!

Getting used to the life here takes time and it is normal to feel a bit homesick when you first arrive but don’t let that get to you. Slowly, and surely, with the help of your friends, you will get over it.

What’s the average student life like is in Ireland? Let me give you a quick overview. My daily routine goes like this: wake up, cook and eat breakfast, go to class, go back home to cook and eat lunch, go back to class again, back home for dinner, some time to do whatever I want, sleep, rinse and repeat! Here most students cook their own dinner so it makes sense to learn a few recipes! Groceries are easily bought from the local groceries retailers such as Lidl, Aldi or Tesco. The items that they have for sale are relatively cheap so don’t worry about the exchange rate and grab anything you are craving for. Need some spices from Asia? The Asian market is just situated right opposite of the campus selling a variety of Asian stuffs at a slightly marked up price. Well, they are imported, so don’t expect them to be cheap!

Well of course, life shouldn’t be that boring. So be sure to go by Charlie Brown’s or The Tack Room once in a while to get a few drinks and mix with new people or already-made friends. Not fun enough for you? Well, get a cab and take ride to the centre of the town and have a great night at the local nightclubs. Karma and Viva are nightclubs and student favourites. The entrance fee is relatively cheap so don’t worry and have fun!

Wondering what to pack? Let me give you a quick and crucial reminder… before you depart, make sure you get your supplies for winter ready! I’m not talking about foods. The local groceries will still operate as usual, so don’t worry that you will starve to death. I’m talking about clothes. Make sure you have yourself ready with thick warming winter jackets just so you can keep yourself warm in the harsh winter cold. Forgot to pack your winter clothing? No worries. There are two local shopping centres in Athlone with a variety of brand names such as H&M and Zara. When it doubt try the locals’ favourite – Pennys! If you are lucky, you might even get to see snow!

If you guys have any questions, feel free to drop a comment below.

Interested in studying in Ireland? Visit the Education in Ireland website for more information.


  1. Where i will get cheap and good accommodation
    Specially sharing with group of females specially Asians near Ucd Smurfit college during August


    • Paul Heng

      Hi Renuka,

      Unfortunately, I am unable to give an answer to your query since I am not studying in Dublin myself. However, I would suggest that you direct any queries that you have to the International Office of the University that you are enrolled in or to some other student ambassadors from Dublin based Universities. I’m pretty sure they would be more than delighted to help you out. I apologize for not being of much help but I do hope that things will run out smoothly for you. Cheers!

      Kind Regards,

  2. Ahmad

    hi dear Paul,

    I am in admission process in letterkenny institute of technology. I am satisfied about the quality education of that institute but my agent saying that letterkenny is very small city and casual work is a big problem for internanal students also saying you will have to ask your family for living expenses again and again as there is no part time jobs. I searched out lots of citse about this matter but didn’t helped. can you please help me about this news whether its true or misguiding by my agent

    Great Thanks

    • Paul Heng

      Hi Ahmad,

      Your concern for not being able to get a part-time job to fund your study life here in Ireland is truly understandable. However, I would say that it is nothing really much that you should really worry about. True that it would be harder to get a casual job in a small town like Letterkenny when compared to a big city like in Dublin. In addition to that, for being International students ourselves put us in more or less, a disadvantageous position when competing for jobs with the locals. As difficult as it can be, still, it is very unlikely that such opportunities will not be unavailable as stated by your agent, even in a smaller town like Letterkenny. I believe that with adequate determination, you will be able to land on one yourself. Plus, I do know a few International students who are working as part-timers to support their studies here in Athlone (also a small town). Also, please take note that you will be eligible to undertake casual part-time work for up to 20 hours per week or up to 40 hours casual full-time work per week during normal college vacation periods. Moreover, it is also advisable that you try get to your Personal Public Service number (PPS) as soon as you arrive in the States as this is required for you to undertake both casual or full-time employment here in Ireland. I hope my answers help you and I wish you all the best with your future undertakings. Looking forward to have you here in Ireland as well. If you have any further inquiries, please feel free to drop in a comment and I will try my best to help you out. Cheers!

      Kind Regards,

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