Despite a rocky beginning, Student Ambassador Nikhil from India had a lucky start when he moved to Ireland! His luck didn’t end upon his arrival, as things just keep getting better and better. Read on to hear about his memorable Irish welcome…
It was ten past two in the airport on a rainy August night
I was waiting in line to board my first international flight
Passport in my hand, sweating bullets through my sweatshirt
Waiting to cross the ocean, from Mumbai to Dublin via Frankfurt
Finally, I scan my boarding pass at the system but it says ERROR
I have never in my life experienced a sudden sense of terror
Flight attendant asks me to step aside, My heart drops into my stomach
But little did I know, I was about to get a taste of my predestined luck!
With a ticket that wouldn’t scan and let me into the flight, I was waiting to find out whether I needed to book another ticket to Dublin or go back home. Just then, the flight attendant comes and says, “Congratulations, you have been upgraded to Premium Class for your flights to Dublin.” I grabbed the new ticket before the flight crew changed their mind and went on to board the flight premium style! The premium class in Lufthansa airlines had the most comfortable seating filled with lovely amenities and I gently leaned back and brace myself for the take off! I usually have trouble sleeping, but after the most delicious and hot meal, I slept like a baby for 8 hours. I woke up to a lovely breakfast and by the time I finished it, we were almost reaching Frankfurt. After I landed in Frankfurt, I had less than two hours to find the terminal to Dublin flight, clear the security and immigration check, and board the flight to Dublin.
I could already picture myself at the end of a long boarding line, barely moving and the time running out. However, as I cleared my security check early and found the terminal for my Dublin flight, I realised I was the first one in the boarding line! I clear the immigration and boarding and wait in my premium lounge while I see the line at the boarding grow and grow. After a while, we took off from Frankfurt and were on our way to Dublin. Although the International Higher Education Students Centre arranged a free Coach Bus which would take me to the bus stop near the Airbnb I booked, I was still worried I might get lost finding the route while carrying 3 sets of large luggage trolleys with no mobile internet to access Google Maps!
As I cleared immigration at Dublin Airport and walked up to the Greet & Transfer centre at the airport, I was told that a free taxi had been booked for me and was waiting to drop me at my exact destination location. My friendly taxi driver, who was from Istanbul, helped me carry the luggage and I sat in the back free from all the worries and enjoying some of the first views of the City of Dublin.
I was so worried of how my first international journey would be
A series of lucky events have made my landing in Ireland worry-free
As I sit in the back of the taxi, looking at the City of Dublin
I could not believe what a lovely and gorgeous country I was in
I see groups of friends enjoying beer and having fun
I see families having a picnic at parks, getting some sun
I see many international students, and tourists admiring the city
I see the impeccable architecture and lush green trees, all so pretty
The hosts of my Airbnb were a lovely Irish & Indian couple who gave me a warm welcome and helped settle in. I was so touched when they made a delicious plate of tomato rice just for me! After a nice warm bath, I called my parents and friends to tell them the incredibly lucky journey I had so far. After a quick nap, I decided to go take a walk in the calm and serene streets of South Dublin. I took a stroll in a park nearby, watching the ducks swim about in the pond, great big trees all around. A grandmother carrying her granddaughter from school noticed that I was new to the neighbourhood. After a brief introduction, she went on to let me know the best Mobile SIM network to purchase for international students, all the wonderful places we can visit on a student budget and also the best Indian Restaurant in the city. The kind, funny and warm conversation with her made me feel so welcomed and wanted to start exploring the nearby sceneries and hotspots around the city at the earliest.
Later that week, I visited my college, Dublin City University (DCU), where the staff were so helpful in attending to all my queries from registration, to courses, opening bank account(s), student travel cards, a GNIB card and anything else I needed. All I had to do was follow the very detailed instructions provided by the International Office at DCU! Easy! As I was about to head out from college, I was asked by a photographer if I was okay to be photographed for the university’s social media page. I said yes, and the next thing I know, me and my classmates’ faces are on the DCU’s Instagram page! How lucky is that?!
After spending hours looking for an apartment to rent, I finally found the perfect place that was close to my college and to the city centre. The landlord was kind and arranged a viewing immediately and helped me move into the place and settle in. Given how tough it was to get an apartment in the fall of 2021, just when the Covid restrictions were lifted and all international students started to come in, I counted myself incredibly lucky how I was able to find a great place in a safe neighbourhood within five days of landing in Dublin.
Looking back at my journey and my first few days in Ireland, I couldn’t help but think how absolutely lucky my experience in Dublin has been so far! Landing in Ireland has indeed brought so much luck in my way and made my life so much easier that it really feels like a fairy tale at this point. If I knew moving to a new country was going to be this lucky, memorable, and incredibly welcoming, I would have applied to study Masters in Ireland a long time ago!
Nikhil is pursuing an MSc in Data Analytics from Dublin City University.