Thinking of pursuing your education in Ireland with the Athlone Institute of Technology? Wondering what is waiting for you here in the town of Athlone? Look no further, Paul Heng our Student Ambassador spills the beans on what to expect…

Athlone is a small town situated at the heart of Ireland with approximately 30,000 people living in it. That’s about 7% of the entire settlement of Ireland’s capital, Dublin City. Despite its size, there are actually lots of fun activities and places that a student can look forward to, from taking a picture at the Athlone Castle to hanging out with the friendly locals in Ireland’s oldest pub, Sean’s Bar.

As far as I have experienced, the locals here are friendly, and seem to all have a big smile on their face most of the time. Lost? Just ask around! Friendly locals are definitely there to give you good directions. Some of the people here are just so friendly they actually greet you good day when you pass by them. So, don’t forget to give them a big smile back and show them how great of a day you are having in their town!

Getting used to the life here takes time and it is normal to feel a bit homesick when you first arrive but don’t let that get to you. Slowly, and surely, with the help of your friends, you will get over it.

What’s the average student life like is in Ireland? Let me give you a quick overview. My daily routine goes like this: wake up, cook and eat breakfast, go to class, go back home to cook and eat lunch, go back to class again, back home for dinner, some time to do whatever I want, sleep, rinse and repeat! Here most students cook their own dinner so it makes sense to learn a few recipes! Groceries are easily bought from the local groceries retailers such as Lidl, Aldi or Tesco. The items that they have for sale are relatively cheap so don’t worry about the exchange rate and grab anything you are craving for. Need some spices from Asia? The Asian market is just situated right opposite of the campus selling a variety of Asian stuffs at a slightly marked up price. Well, they are imported, so don’t expect them to be cheap!

Well of course, life shouldn’t be that boring. So be sure to go by Charlie Brown’s or The Tack Room once in a while to get a few drinks and mix with new people or already-made friends. Not fun enough for you? Well, get a cab and take ride to the centre of the town and have a great night at the local nightclubs. Karma and Viva are nightclubs and student favourites. The entrance fee is relatively cheap so don’t worry and have fun!

Wondering what to pack? Let me give you a quick and crucial reminder… before you depart, make sure you get your supplies for winter ready! I’m not talking about foods. The local groceries will still operate as usual, so don’t worry that you will starve to death. I’m talking about clothes. Make sure you have yourself ready with thick warming winter jackets just so you can keep yourself warm in the harsh winter cold. Forgot to pack your winter clothing? No worries. There are two local shopping centres in Athlone with a variety of brand names such as H&M and Zara. When it doubt try the locals’ favourite – Pennys! If you are lucky, you might even get to see snow!

If you guys have any questions, feel free to drop a comment below.

Interested in studying in Ireland? Visit the Education in Ireland website for more information.