Aishwarya Jha, our Indian Ambassador, shares her three reasons for choosing Ireland and Trinity College Dublin from the quality of the education here to Ireland’s economic potential…
June 2012. New Delhi. Home. Moment of absolute mental chaos
My Board Examination results were out, and as it turned out, they were alright enough to meet my conditional offers from universities across the UK, Ireland, Singapore, Canada and Australia. What followed was serious grappling with unending questions and possibilities of “where”, “why” and “how”. After three months of debate, deliberation and drama, my family and I factored down to Trinity College Dublin. And I haven’t looked back since.
“Ireland is ranked amongst the top 5 countries for business opportunities in the world. It is an ultra-modern, international-trade focussed economy with loose tax residency that attracts leading international companies to its doorstep.”
Come autumn, I was walking through the front arch of this over-four-hundred-years old university campus. It dawned on me then that for the following four years, this shall be my home. And that brings me to the point of this blog – four years is a lot, especially at this formative stage of our adulthoods. Where you choose to spend your 20s will have life-changing implications, whether the choice was well-informed or not. While I may not have the golden list, here are the top 3 factors which shaped my decision.
Quality of education
I am often asked why I did not study in the top universities in India, given that India has some phenomenal institutions. Is it that I did not get into the good ones? No, I did. Then why? Simply: acquiring knowledge is great but I wanted to enhance my capabilities too. Predominantly, I relied on Trinity’s sterling reputation as an educational institution, and partly, I relied on its environment of holistic learning which provides scope for growing beyond the classroom. Its almost coercive insistence on engaging with the college community with a shocking number of student societies and other platforms pushed me to find new skills and passions. Turns out, I am good at archery and jumping off heights makes me cry (but at least I can say that for sure now); who would have thought!
While I do believe that emotional intelligence develops in challenging environments, if you are going to cry for your mom for the duration of your university-life, reconsider. In terms of financial feasibility, scholarships > heavy student loans. Top Irish universities do award scholarships for undergraduate courses, and the same was a huge factor that brought me to Dublin. While arranging my finances for the next four years in 2012, I took fluctuations in the exchange rate into account, and that has kept me from pulling my hair out in the years that have followed.
Ireland is ranked amongst the top 5 countries for business opportunities in the world. It is an ultra-modern, international-trade focussed economy with loose tax residency that attracts leading international companies to its doorstep. Personally, I have been in awe of the dexterity of Irish law firms and I do see a very productive future for myself here.
Two other factors that truly affected my decision were reliable law & order (generally and towards aliens in specific, both) and tolerance towards multiculturalism.
January 2016. Dublin. Home. Moment of surprising clarity.
With a few months left of my university-life, I can surely claim that the past few years have changed my perceptions, preferences, insecurities and ideologies. And for this, I am eternally grateful. From law to life – I have had ample lessons. By the time I graduate, I would have a very valuable degree, invaluable friends, vast opportunities for my future, and a source of contentment that should last me a lifetime.