Student Ambassador Harshali Jagtap, is still coming to terms with the ever-changing Irish weather! Through all of the sunny-rainy-sunny intervals she has overcome personal challenges, had some amazing road-trips, and located the all-important Indian spices! Read about her life at TUS in Limerick…

I’m Harshali Jagtap, Indian born but from Kenya, a very warm country. The town I come from is called Mombasa, which is the hottest part of the country as it is just below the equator. Coming from such a warm place to a cold place is one of the toughest challenges my body has experienced to date. 

The coldness swept me off my feet and made me wear two sweaters at a time with warm gloves! But, aside from the cold, everything that I have seen in the movies and pictures came to life, the surroundings, the people, and the beauty I saw arriving in Ireland; it was beyond everything I had imagined!

A sunny day by the sea (photo: Harshali)

The day I landed in Dublin, the sky was ocean blue, the clouds like cotton, with birds making their journey across the horizon; it was a breathtaking view. Road trips have always been my favourite part of travelling. The trip from Dublin to Limerick was one of the best road trips I’ve ever been on.  

Beautiful sunny skies (photo: Harshali)

I didn’t know how public transport worked abroad, and it was very confusing at the very start. I had no idea what to do or who to ask for help because I barely knew anyone here. Although, it was a sweet challenge to overcome.

The fear of being alone in a new country when I had always been with my parents was a big factor thing for me too; just knowing they wouldn’t be there if something came up. Here, I have forgotten my fear of being alone in a different place. The Irish people are very friendly and open, they would help you even if they didn’t know you.

Accommodation is simply like another home for me, it is so peaceful and comfortable and the students here are lovely. I had very few friends back home, but since I’ve come here, I’ve lost count of the number of friends I’ve made! I didn’t know I could make such good friends in such a short time! 

I am studying BSc in Software Development at Technological University of the Shannon: Midwest and Midlands. Moylish campus was something I’d never imagined: the big ceilings, huge long hallways, big lecture rooms, and comfortable labs with extremely friendly people in them. I didn’t feel like an outcast, but one of them.

Exploring Limerick with friends (photo: Harshali)

To date I have enjoyed every single day of my time in Ireland. It is filled with new opportunities, new friends, and new experiences. I am also loving my course as we have so much new and interesting information to study, fully equipped labs to work in and the most helpful lecturers! 

When you are an international student, you sometimes need to live on a bit of a budget. Living in Limerick is definitely within your budget, but sometimes you need to do some calculations on your spending. As an Indian, where to find the right groceries was something I had no idea about. Finding shops where I can get spices and masalas was like a treasure hunt to me! We Indians need spices and masalas or else the food just isn’t right. However, Google Maps and some Indian friends were there to help! I cooked with them too, the vibes were so homely.   

The weather is ever changing, at one time of the day it might be sunny and after a short time, you would need to put on your sweater – the weather here cannot be trusted! I am still trying to get to grips with the weather, and it is going to be tough. But I’ll try not to complain about it all the time, and focus on enjoying the city and my new life!

Harshali is studying Software Development at the Technological University of Shannon: Midlands Midwest.