From India, Shivani Bhat shares her experience of moving to Ireland and all that came with it. In her first blog, Shivani tells us how she managed to settle into her new life in Dublin while facing a few unexpected challenges!
“Every moment is a fresh Beginning” –T.S. Eliot
The year 2020 brought with it a lot of uncertainties. I received a lot of mixed responses from the students already in Ireland about travelling in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic. After putting in a lot of time and effort, and with all the excitement piling up I decided to begin this journey. Semester one was planned online and my travel to Dublin was scheduled in December, during the “assignment submission” phase.
Flying to Dublin, reaching my student residence, checks and immigration, everything went hassle-free. The meet and greet services by the university were available at the airport on arrival. The tough part though was what was awaiting. Settling into a country with different cultures, chilly weather and new food styles felt like a challenge. Besides, a lot of submissions were already in the queue in December. To freshen my mind, I started taking short walks with my friends in the nearby parks (Albert Park, Santry Park). A good thing was that DCU provided us with a free gym membership during Christmas break. They also arranged get-togethers and small Christmas events on the campus for all the international students so that we didn’t feel homesick during the lockdown on arrival.
When we travel to different countries or cities and find someone who speaks the same language or hail from the same country, the loneliness factor decreases. The very fact that my dorm was filled with students from India enthralled a sense of belonging and made me a little less nervous and more outgoing. Coping with a different vibe that Dublin brought with it suddenly became simple and so, after several meals, movies and walks, it all felt good and comfortable like a second home.
Exploring a new place is always a joyful experience, and with the intriguing landmarks that Dublin has, I felt I could relate a lot with ones back home. I visited some cool places around Dublin like Clontarf, Kildare Village and Dublin City Centre itself. The place looked particularly captivating during Christmas.
The next best thing I noted about Dublin was that, although the traffic laws are quite stringent, they are followed rightfully by the residents and commuters here. I never saw an individual violating the traffic which made me feel so much more safe and confident around the city.
Apart from this, the next tasks were to get the important stuff like an Irish Residence Permit, PPS Number, open a bank account and purchase a leap card for bus travel. The best thing was that everything was online. The authorities respond in time and the delivery speed is quite fast except for Christmas. The Dublin Bus Service is well-organised and sticks to the schedule. It’ll help you explore the parts of Dublin city. Another good thing was the proximity of convenience stores in and around the accommodation (Spar, OMNI shopping centre, LIDL, Dealz). With plenty of options for daily essentials, I did not have to worry much to find food items and groceries around.
The ride here was delightful and amazing and I’m looking forward to more fun and bright days ahead. Even though I’ve only been in Dublin for a short while, I can surely vouch that Dublin is the way to go for everyone! Cheers!
Student Ambassador Shivani Bhat is studying MCM-Data Analytics at Dublin City University.