For half-Irish, half-Saudi Arabian Student Ambassador Nayyara, coming to Ireland to study was never about relocating, it was about returning to her home away from home. She learned to balance her studies and her social life, as she embraces her Irishness and life in Dublin…

I always heard students say “I’m moving to Dublin for studies”, or “I’m leaving my family, and my home to come study in Ireland”.  For me, this was never the case. 

Not relocating, but embracing, my home away from home…

I should give you a little bit of background – My name is Nayyara Mirdad and I’m a 1st year medicine student at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI). I’m half-Irish and half-Saudi Arabian, but I was born and raised in Dubai (I know, very fancy) and I am one of four children. I am in a family with not one, not even two but THREE older brothers who all have studied medicine at RCSI. So, let’s cut to the chase, since I’m half Irish, I visited Ireland every summer while growing up to visit family so you could say I was quite familiar with Ireland from the get-go. This is why, for me, I wasn’t ‘relocating’ to Dublin as such but rather moving to my home away from home. 

I always loved the thought of living in Ireland as a kid. The perfect summer temperatures and the stunning Christmassy feel of winter, where you’d hope for snow, but more often than not it would be rain. I’m sure you would be too busy with your head stuck in the books to notice! 

Early morning library study session (photo: Nayyara)

The studying begins!

I started my course in September and I met a lot of people on the induction day. All of the lecturers and students were very nice and laid back, so I didn’t feel overwhelmed at all. I felt the warmth of the people around me and surprisingly the sun appeared, which was a happy change from the Ireland I knew. I loved the whole atmosphere of living near the city centre, university, and my family.  

I quickly got into the routine of waking up, having a coffee, studying, sleeping and repeating it the next day. But, I soon realised this routine wasn’t too healthy, so I joined some RCSI clubs and societies which really helped me get away from all the stress of studying and the anxieties I had about upcoming exams. It gave me something to do to relax and regain some energy! I really enjoy tennis and archery, and they are a great way to meet new people. I also went to the library a lot more frequently over the weeks. I love being surrounded by people who are just so focused on studying because it genuinely does something to my brain where all I can do is focus on my own studying. I feel it helps me focus, but also it feels so good to be in the university, as it brings a more natural feel to studying. 

Tennis lesson at Trinity College tennis courts (photo: Nayyara)

Archery practice (photo: Nayyara)








My Dublin top spots

I quickly came to realise I never used public transport to its fullest, practically everything is walking distance and if it isn’t you can get public transport such as; the Luas (tram system), Dublin Bus, and the DART (overground trains). 

Once I got all the technical stuff figured out it was time for a night out! There is such a range of restaurants and pubs to go to, my top picks being Pablo Picante just off South William Street, The Hairy Lemon Restaurant and Bar on St. Stephens Street Lower, and finally, Wok-In which is just beside it for a good takeaway. In Dublin, I’d swear it’s a law that a bar has to be a maximum of 2-minute walk from where you live.  

All in all, I love Ireland. It’s a place for everyone, where everyone is welcome. I honestly don’t know what more to say, it’s just a masterpiece. It’s a great pick, especially for students!

Nayyara is studying Medicine at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland