Are you coming to study in Ireland this year? Our Indian Student Ambassador Ansh Mahajan has some very helpful and timely advice
I still look back to the day when I had landed in Ireland as an international student from India. My mind was flooded with mixed emotions of excitement to be in a completely new world, coupled with a little anxiety of managing everything on my own in an alien country.
Having been here for a couple of months now, I literally laugh about each and every memory. So here I would like to share seven things from my personal experience that I believe can help you navigate better when you start your journey in the Irish land.
1. Get exact information about transportation: Your flight will drop you safely at the airport, but what next? The first thing that you need to do soon after is reach your accommodation.
As soon as you land in Ireland, look around for the exact information of the transport source you will be accessing to reach home.
If you’re taking a bus, make sure you have the exact time and number of the bus and you are at the right bus stop at least 10 minutes prior to the departure of your bus.
Tip: The bus fares are significantly less if you book your tickets online. If you are taking a taxi or a lift, make sure that you know the exact spot where you will meet them.
2. Buy a Sim card: It is really important to stay connected with our loved ones, so your next task is to buy a Sim card and inform your family that you have arrived safely. There are many network providers in Ireland to choose from, including Vodafone, Eir and Lyca.
You can easily find a sim card in any shopping centre or some supermarkets. Don’t panic if you can’t find a Sim card, as free wifi is available in most places including busses.
3. Inform the international office: The next important step is to inform the international office of your third-level institution about your arrival, so that you are taken care of. They will let you know the dates when you must visit the college for your induction and registration.
4. Get to know your surroundings: The next thing on the list is getting to know your surroundings. You need to familiarize yourself with your surroundings, the routes, the places where you’ll get your daily needs and, of course, the restaurants and pubs!
5. Interact with people: Being alone in a different country can be depressing and might trigger homesickness. Thus, I believe that interacting with other people is essential to help you adjust in a new place; it will also help you understand your surroundings better.
6. Open a bank account: A bank account is obviously important for almost any transaction nowadays. So opening an Irish bank account is one of the essential things to do. You will require your passport and a letter from the college stating that you are a student of that college. Next you will need to make an appointment with the bank and submit your documents.
7. Get an appointment for your Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) card: You are required to get yourself a GNIB card before your visa expires (which is usually three months), and for doing so, you are required to take an appointment with your local garda (police) station.
This is usually a far-off date because many international students come during that time. You are also required to renew this card every year till the duration of your stay, so make sure that you keep a track of it. [Note: This may change due to Covid-19 restrictions, so keep up-to-date.]
So these were some of the important things which I wish I’d known before coming here, so that the path could have been a bit smoother. I’ll leave a link to my Instagram here. Feel free to contact me with any queries.