Originally from India, I came to Ireland as a student full of excitement to explore Ireland while pursuing my masters; but along with the country, I ended up exploring so many aspects about myself that I wasn’t aware of. For example, I discovered my cooking skills as well as my packing skills as I have moved to three places since I got here. I also found out that it was so easy to make friends here simply by striking a casual conversation. Most importantly, I discovered that I could live independently without being guarded by the comfort of my family which helped me grow as a person. Here is my journey so far as an international student in Ireland, the experiences I encountered and the things I love about Ireland.
Firstly, the people are super friendly. It is amazing how one can have a random conversation with a complete stranger while waiting for the bus or taking a stroll in the park. Irish people have a very good sense of humour. I have made friends with the cab driver so many times while travelling by cab; every journey has been unforgettable and we ended up talking the entire time. My housemates are also super fun, and they keep telling me a lot about Irish culture, the food, festivals and places worth visiting.
There is an extensive variety of food available in Ireland. Apart from the authentic Irish food, one would be amazed by the food joints that offer delicacies from all around the world. Being an Indian student, I have never missed Indian food as there are so many restaurants that provide delicious Indian dishes. There is something for people from every nationality as well as scope for exploring food from various cultures.
Irish culture is very vibrant and multifaceted. I witnessed a glimpse of it on Saint Patrick’s Day where people were dressed in green to honour the tradition even if they were simply going for a walk in the park. Even though it was not possible to celebrate Christmas or Saint Patrick’s Day this year, almost every house was decorated to keep the festival alive.
As an international student, apart from savouring the alluring foodstuff and enjoying the cultural festivities, the most important reason to study in Ireland is the robust and competitive education system. The courses are designed to prepare the students to face real-world challenges that prove to be helpful both in the workplace as well as in life. The education is focused on practical learning and stimulating logical reasoning as well as problem-solving. Huge importance is also placed on polishing communication skills.
If all of these reasons don’t seem sufficient enough to fall in love with this country, the most amazing part is the natural beauty and numerous places to visit that have breathtaking views. The Wicklow mountains, Phoenix Park, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dun Laoghaire Harbour, Poolbeg Lighthouse, Killiney Hill and Grand Canal Dock are some of the places worth visiting. Recently, I went to Poolbeg which is a long, fulfilling walk along the coast and from the lighthouse, one can see ships and boats and also some seals if you are lucky. It is also a great point for sea swimming, especially on a sunny day.
Another good place for sea swimming is Killiney beach and not far away is Killiney Hill which is one of the best places to watch the sunset with a mesmerizing view of the city of Dublin.
All these things together make Ireland an amazing place to study while discovering the country, its rich culture and learning lessons that will go a long way in life. I am grateful for all the experiences I have had until now that have contributed to my individual growth and eager to find out what is in store for the future.
Simonelle Barretto is studying for a Master’s Degree in Finance at University College Dublin.