The secret to managing student accommodation? It might not be what you think! Student Ambassador Shivani shares her account of moving to Dublin as a full time student and how she manages the sometimes difficult environment that is student accommodation

I came to Ireland in 2021 with hopes, dreams and excitement.

Dublin sunsets (photo: Shivani)

As a full time student studying in a foreign land with her education funded by a huge loan, I had no other choice but to be responsible with everything. Right from buying a bottle of milk to spending on junk food, I was doing mental currency conversion calculations because that’s what you do, right? I am from India so every EUR I spent was converted to INR and if that expenditure crossed my imaginary restriction, I would be guilt ridden! Apart from the currency differences, there are also differences with the people you live with. While there are good and bad sides to it, I chose to focus on the good and find a way out to tackle the bad.  


In my opinion, the best solution to get rid of unnecessary tension in your accommodation is to spend minimal time indoors. Hence, I took up part time job right after my first trimester ended because until then I was exploring the city, my schedule, the opportunities and the people. Just when I had mentally accepted that yes, this is the city I will be spending the next few years of my life in, I wanted to make the most of my time here. I started dropping my resume at every possible store in my neighbourhood, in and around the college campus and at my favourite restaurants. Luckily, I got a call back in 2 weeks from one of the retail stores and there I was. The next day, I went for my first day. Now, coming from India with a 3.5 years of work experience in a full-time consulting job, working part time at a retail store as a cashier was not exactly my plan. But, I think destiny had other plans. Right from the first day, I have been in love with the place I work at, the people I work with, and the work I do. I like to talk to people and my job as a cashier makes that possible for me.  

The best work friends! (photo: Shivani)

It has already been 4 months since I started working and I feel grateful and happy about the job. The regular customers know me by face and by name. It makes me so happy to know that when I am away or off-work, some of these customers ask about me. My colleagues hang out with me off work and make me feel so comfortable even as a foreigner. Trust me when I say this, taking up a part time job was tiring but honestly, it is that one thing that keeps me sane and happy in this foreign country. It helps me divert my attention from things that trouble me onto better things. Just a sweet “thank you”, “Oh. You’re so sweet”, “Oh, I like your Indian accent” from customers just makes my day.  


Shivani is working towards an MSc in Strategic Management at UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School