Kimi Sakoda, our Japanese and DCU Ambassador, shares her knowledge around what to expect when studying abroad in Ireland…
Moving to a different country is an exciting but also a terrifying experience, especially if it’s the first time moving out of your home or you have language barriers. This is something many international students experience when going to college in a foreign country. So, to make things slightly easier for the prospectus students, here are four positive and negative things you can expect when you move to Ireland.
It’s inevitable to talk about the Irish weather, and as you will know after a little bit of research, Ireland isn’t the greatest country for sunbathing and having picnics in the sun. It’s more of having your perfectly set hair ruined by the wind and the rain. Especially for people coming from warm climates, the chilliness might be difficult at first, but it’s something you will quickly adjust to. Just make sure to bring your warmest waterproof jacket! You will soon find the beauty of the drizzling rain, while you sit at home, sipping on some nice warm cup of tea. You will also appreciate the sunny days a lot more, so don’t miss out on the opportunity to go out and explore on those days!
One of the concerns I personally had before moving to Ireland was if the people would be as nice and friendly as the stereotype goes. This should have been the least of my concerns because Irish people are in fact very nice and friendly, as I can confidently tell you from experiencing their niceties countless of times. Me having no sense of direction, I have gotten lost millions of times, and in some situations, Google maps do not help you at all. But just stop anyone on the streets, and I can say that 99% of the time, they will go out of their way to help you. The Irish are also very accepting of other cultures, so you will, for sure, feel welcomed the instant you land in Ireland.
We can’t talk about studying abroad without mentioning homesickness. No matter how much you love Ireland, I’m sure most people, including myself, experience this to some degree for a period of time, long or short. You can be well adjusted to Ireland and feel at home here, but there are moments where you just miss home. And that’s okay! Homesickness is inevitable and it is your right to miss home, and your family and friends. But if it gets too overwhelming, be sure to consult with a counsellor or someone you trust.
The housing crisis
Ireland has been going through a housing crisis in recent years, especially in Dublin and it is not easy for anyone to find affordable accommodation. If your college offers you on-campus accommodation, then you have nothing to worry about, but if you are looking to rent, this could be challenging depending on the timing. From the end of August to September, there are TONS of students looking for accommodation, meaning there will be high competition. So do make sure you have a place to stay before you move. An alternative to renting your own place is to find a host family, which might be slightly easier.
Everyone, and I mean everyone, have moments of nervousness and anxiousness before and after moving, and this is just a natural process for students coping with change. When you face a problem, just know that people are there to help, whether it’s the International Office, Student Union or your fellow classmates. So don’t be shy, and take advantage of the services and help they provide in order for you to adjust to the Irish life quickly and smoothly, and to make the most of your time in Ireland.