As Student Ambassador Bruna Gonçalvez Heleno found out, moving to a new country can be tough but, as soon as she settled in she was in love! In her first piece, which she begins with a poem, she talks about the difficulties she faced and her favourite experiences…

October 5th, Daylight 

She landed in unknown lands 

In her bag, hopes and dreams 

Yearning for fresh air 

She took a step outside. 

That was when reality hit her. 

And nothing was how she imagined. 

Her dreams falling apart, like a house of cards 

No one understood, but she persisted 

Picking up card by card 

Giving time to the time 

She was right 

It wasn’t how she imagined 

It was better 

It was real 

This summarises how I felt in the beginning here in Ireland. The first month was not nice. Find a house, find a job, get a visa, open a bank account, buy a leap card, new culture, English classes, different food, different time zone, everything was new and rainy – it rained every single day in my first month here. In addition to all this, I am from São Paulo and over there, the mentality is “time is money”, we are always in a rush – here, it’s more like “take your time”.

Exploring Dublin’s parks (photo: Bruna)

One day I was walking (more like running) in the streets and I realised that I was living in Ireland. This was when I started slowing down, getting more involved in the culture, learning about the city and making friends.

It has been more than two years since I stepped off the plane in Ireland. I will not lie to you, some days will be frustrating, and sometimes you will feel alone. Your family will send you photos and you will wish you were able to be in two places at same time. Or in my case, your nephew will call you crying because he is longing for you and your heart will ache. But, you will also have unforgettable days. The first time carving a pumpkin for Halloween, seeing whales for the first time, your first snow, and the first Christmas during winter (and wearing a Christmas jumper – yes guys, it is not only in movies where that happens!!). So many firsts, so many new experiences, so much to learn that makes it all worth it.

Wearing a Christmas jumper for the first time! (photo: Bruna)

So, if your aim is to study and live abroad, just do it! Ireland is a beautiful country with people from all around the world. They are really friendly and there will always be someone to help you. And if you don’t like it in the beginning, do not give up, give it a second shot and you, like me, may fall in love with this place. 

Bruna is doing a Bachelor of Science in Computing at Dorset College Dublin