My experience of Ireland

Going to a new city is always a different experience. When you go on a vacation it is mostly fun, but when you go to study it is a little daunting.

Before moving from India to Ireland, I was obviously excited to be moving to a new country, but I was a little afraid and apprehensive about leaving the place I’d called home for 21 years. Making the decision to move to Ireland was probably the hardest, but also the most exciting decision I’ve had to make. But I knew that it would be the best move for my future academic and professional career.  

I’ve been to European countries before so the lifestyle and culture shock weren’t as pronounced for me. I was still a little taken aback by the amount the Irish love their alcohol.  However, one thing that’s going to take a little getting used to is “slagging”, the Irish way of making friends by insulting them. I’m going to have to make conscious efforts to not get offended if someone insults me and know that they’re just trying to be friends with me!

One major difference I found is in terms of the education. In India, all the information required was in the presentation, self-reading wasn’t required as much. Here, however, the professors expect you to do a lot of self-study and they sometimes just put up a diagram and explain it. The professors treat us like adults and know that we are capable of doing a majority of the things ourselves. Having said that, I would also like to point out that we can go and ask the professors any doubts we may have.

Another major difference I felt is the gap between the teacher and the student. In India, the distinction is more pronounced and the teachers aren’t as approachable and friendly. Here, I know I can go and talk to my professor about anything, academic or not, without hesitation. And I think it’s wonderful. The curriculum is up-to-date with the latest research happening in the field and the professors themselves are very knowledgeable about their area of work and speciality.

It’s not just the academics that’s wonderful, it is also the number of extra and co-curricular activities that happen. Be it a talk by an expert in the field, the 120 societies Trinity has to offer, or the various sports clubs, one finds a way to maintain the perfect balance between work and play.

I must credit the Irish with their friendly and helpful nature. The day I arrived in Dublin, I didn’t have internet on my phone and I was pleasantly surprised to find people helping me with directions and even checking Google Maps for me. One rule of thumb is “If you don’t ask for it, you won’t get it”. The “it” could be help, student discounts or anything else.

Another thing that’s going to take getting used to is the infamous Irish weather. India has three distinct seasons throughout the year. Ireland has three seasons in one day! Buying the perfect jacket that will keep you warm and protect you from the rain is the key to braving the Irish weather.

The work culture is very different in India and Ireland. The Irish are very particular about their working hours and they love their weekends. In India, however, a “9-5 day” doesn’t mean you come at 9am and leave at 5pm – working professionals sometimes have 12-hour work days.

Another thing that I like about Ireland and Dublin is the safety. You can be out until 4am in Temple Bar or sitting near the River Liffey, without any worries. Safety is a major aspect when it comes to international students, and I think when coming to Dublin it should not be a concern. My only advice to someone coming to Dublin would be to find accommodation soon as that is a major problem faced by almost all international students.

I love Ireland and coming here is something that I will never regret. I have managed to meet some wonderful people, both international and Irish students. I could call this beautiful place home for at least a year, if not more.