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“University of Limerick: Beautiful Land of Oneness” – By Tanin Torabi

Tanin Torabi is an MA Contemporary Dance student from Iran, studying in Ireland with the University of Limerick. Here, she explores the sense of international community at UL. 

-University of Limerick- Beautiful Land of Oneness-

Scrolling up and down my student email box, I cannot even handle opening all the emails of events and opportunity notices that I receive every day from the university.

I wonder, I deeply wish I had attended UL for my Undergraduate degree as well so I had more free time to attend and experience them all! I receive emails from student union, clubs and societies, the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance which I study at, and even from the Cappavilla village – the on campus student accommodation, almost every day. Having a quick look on the titles today, I learn that there is an arts workshop happening in the student center, meal vouchers are to pick-up from student hub, a lunchtime dance concert is held in the academy, the Cappavilla reception has a Nutella/strawberry pancake morning, and all are for free! I wish I didn’t have to work all day on my thesis!

MA Contemporary Dance class outside the Irish World Academy, UL!

I drink my cup of chamomile tea and wonder how my life has changed in the University of Limerick. I remember how many great opportunities are just ready here for people who are thirsty of learning and experiencing. I wonder how I have been embraced by UL and the students here. I was truly welcomed when I had just arrived in Ireland and had no clue about what is going on. I was totally impressed with the way I was welcomed at the very first week and soon everything was fixed and life seemed quite natural and settled!

The MA Contemporary Dance is a really international course!

Most importantly, I was more impressed with the diversity of nationalities in the university! Look! I study MA in Contemporary Dance and we are 9 of us in the class, from 8 different countries: Canada, US, Ireland, Costa Rica, Iran, Ethiopia and more! Good God, it is a lot! And I live in a 6-bedroom student accommodation and we are from China, France, Pakistan, Ireland and Iran! (Yes! I’m from Iran!) and I know closely many other students that are in our neighborhood or in the close courses from India, Chile, Finland, Serbia, UK, Japan, Australia and…! I cannot explain how much this diversity of people and knowing them and living closely with them has changed my attitude towards life and the world. One can easily see the beautiful sense of unity and oneness here. One can see how similar people are together and how sensible they are. As Baha’u’llah says: “The earth is but one country and mankind its citizens.”

MA Contemporary Dance class – 9 students from 8 different countries!

I believe having these international experiences and this level of exchange in the early ages is crucial for students. People who understand this aspect of life and this oneness in addition to their own practice and education, can be better people to run the world and make this world a better place to live! I truly am thankful to University of Limerick for giving me this opportunity to learn about people from different countries, nations, nationalities and genders and feel this deep love and nearness to them.

This should not be taken for granted as something that can happen in every educational system with any policies. UL definitely considers the importance of diversity and giving international students a chance to attend it. It certainly is a wise and valuable policy that I as a student also feel its value now.

I look out through the window and see people playing Hurling in the grass square in the middle of Cappavilla. The good thing about chamomile tea is that it is still drinkable when cold!


Performing at the Irish World Academy



Tanin Torabi felt a passion for dance from the very early age of four, but since Iran’s revolution in 1979, dance had been illegal and forbidden in the country, so she could not continue her education in this major; however, she was very keen to follow her love and passion in dance. She is currently studying MA in Contemporary Dance Performance in The University of Limerick, Ireland and hopes to continue her artistic career in Iran.


Low fees and top universities: why Irish are studying abroad

Increasing numbers of Irish students are considering study options in Europe due to affordable fees, prestigious courses and easier entry requirements. Photograph: iStock

Thousands of college hopefuls have been scrambling to apply for third-level courses in Ireland in recent weeks.

But increasing numbers are looking further afield to Europe where affordable fees, prestigious courses and easier entry requirements are turning students’ heads.

The United Kingdom has traditionally been the location of choice for most Irish students who head outside the jurisdiction.

Several thousand typically apply for courses in Northern Ireland (particularly those living near the Border), Scotland (where Irish students pay no fees) and England, despite the £9,000-plus (€12,500) yearly fees.

But the impact of Brexit and uncertainty surrounding fees means more students are looking at study options for courses taught through English in countries further afield such as the NetherlandsDenmarkPoland and Germany.

Some of the attractions for Irish students are obvious: cheaper accommodation, exposure to other cultures and a chance to study in European universities ranked higher than Irish colleges.

Eligible Irish students can also take their State-awarded grant with them and may work at a part-time job. About 1,500 third-level students from Ireland in receipt of State-funded grants are studying in colleges abroad.

Guy Flouch, head of the European University Central Application Support Service, says points pressure in Ireland is a key factor driving students to consider studying abroad.

Increasingly common

Mr Flouch said when he attended the recent Higher Options fair in the RDS last year, guidance counsellors were approaching him saying studying abroad is becoming mainstream.

“It is becoming an increasingly common option especially in the wake of Brexit where Irish students are much less interested in Ucas, the portal for studying in British universities,” he says.

“One of the factors there is fear is come year three or four they may have to pay international fees as Britain will be outside the EU.”

Almost 900 degree programmes across all disciplines are taught through English in Europe. Many – though not all – are cheaper than studying in Ireland.

No fees apply in Germany, Scandinavia, Sweden and Finland. In AustriaSwitzerland and Belgium fees are usually less than €1,000 a year.

In the Netherlands, fees of €1,984 apply (where more than 40 per cent of these programmes are offered), but students can get a loan to cover this, paying it back over 35 years.

Europe also offers top-quality universities with many such as Utrecht and Leiden (the Netherlands), Gottingen (Germany) and Lund (Sweden), which rank higher than Irish universities.

Securing a place in college can be a lot easier than through the CAO. The barriers to entry are set lower and there is a strong focus on third level being accessible to everyone, regardless of academic achievements.

“The overwhelming philosophy in mainland Europe is that students have a right to an education therefore they don’t do points,” says Mr Flouch.

“They can go to universities that are higher ranking than ours to do courses such as psychology, law, physiotherapy or business.”

Comes with a caveat

If getting into a top university with fewer points may sound like it’s too good to be true, it comes with a caveat.

“I tell students, you play hard but you must work hard too,” says Mr Flouch. “ It is easy to get in but I tell students you have to work hard once you get in there. These are some of the top universities in Europe.

“There is no repeating of years. You’re expected to get 45 out of 60 credits, take part in problem-based learning and show up for all your lectures and tutorials,” he says.

They are sentiments shared by students themselves. Karl Wolfe (20), who is studying physiotherapy in Fontys University in Eindhoven, says his course is highly demanding.

“The course is quite intense with a lot of study hours and project work to do but it doesn’t feel like hard work when you love what you are studying,” he says.

Sarah McClafferty (24) from Donegal, who is studying veterinary medicine at Warsaw University of Life Sciences, says the workload is “huge”.

“It is quite hard to adjust to a brand new lifestyle and culture especially for the younger students who are just straight out of school.”

Students who find it difficult to cope do end up dropping out of courses. Mr Flouch insists these rates tend to be low because international students tend to have done more research on course demands.

Individual universities tend to attract Irish students for highly-regarded courses.

Physiotherapy at Hanze University Groningen in the Netherlands has attracted about 15 Irish students, while veterinary science at the Warsaw University of Life Sciences in Poland is so popular about half of its first-year class are Irish.

Meanwhile, psychology, law, business, medicine and other subjects at the University of Groningen have attracted about 80 Irish students.

Hungary and the Czech Republic are also popular destinations for students who want to do medical courses, though some colleges can charge hefty tuition fees.

Italy, too, is growing in popularity with medical students, with seven public universities in Italy that offer medicine through English.

Denmark is another popular destination as there are no fees and free healthcare for EU students.

Overall, he says the majority of Irish students flourish in a variety of ways while studying abroad.

“The levels of self-confidence and self-esteem and independence they get is a skill set employers really see,” he says.

“They are self-sufficient and living abroad – meeting challenges and succeeding. It impacts positively for the rest of their lives,” he says.

Case study: ‘It is quite hard to adjust to a brand new lifestyle and culture’

Sarah McClafferty (24), from Donegal, is studying veterinary medicine at Warsaw University of Life Sciences.

“It was always been my dream to become a veterinary surgeon,” she says. “I worked as a veterinary assistant last year, which I absolutely loved and decided to follow my dream and studying in Poland seemed perfect as I always wanted to travel.

“The application process itself, for studying abroad is quite straight forward. You then have to sit an entrance exam which is basically just higher-level chemistry and biology.”

She says she doesn’t have time to do a part-time job because of the workload. She is entitled to a student grant, however, and her parents assist with tuition fees.

While the course is taught exclusively in English, students must learn animal anatomy in Latin, the universal language of medical terminology.

She says studying in Poland differs significantly from studying in Ireland.

“It is quite hard to adjust to a brand new lifestyle and culture especially for the younger students who are just straight out of school,” she says.

“All our exams are continuous assessments which means we have to start doing exams almost immediately.”

She says studying abroad was a big decision, but one she is happy with.

“The experiences I have had in the last few months have been a learning curve but I’m enjoying it thoroughly and I am even starting to learn Polish, which we are given classes on.”

Homesickness isn’t too much of an issue given there are more than 30 Irish students in her class.

“It’s pretty much like a home away from home with all the Irish that are here and they have even got their own Gaelic team.”

Ireland offers affordable tertiary education options

Photo shows the Trinity College Dublin campus.

KUCHING: Ireland remains the world’s most affordable destination for tertiary education.

Visionary Education Consultancy (VEC) director Anna Cher said there is still a lack of awareness among many East Malaysians about Ireland’s tertiary options even though it is a friendly country with highly-established and world-renowned universities.

“Some universities and institutes of technology even subsidise or provide free on-campus accommodation for Malaysian students. Some are also offering scholarships for eligible students.

“Tuition fees per year is about 9,000 euros for most institutions, while rental is about 250 euros per month, depending on the area. These are considerably cheap if compared to other Western countries like United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Canada,” she told reporters.

She pointed out that Malaysian students do not need a visa to study there.

“Also, they are allowed to remain in Ireland up to one year after graduation under what is known as the Graduate Work Visa Scheme,” she added.

VEC is authorised by the Irish Embassy in Kuala Lumpur to recruit students who are interested to further their studies in Ireland.

The next intake for universities and institutes of technology will be January.

“Students can come to us with their SPM (Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia) or Cambridge O level forecast results and we will help them with the enrolment. They will start their foundation studies in January, which takes seven months to complete.
After that, they will enter undergraduate programmes in September.

“Admission requirement is a minimum of five credits in SPM or Cambridge O levels including Mathematics and English,” Cher explained.

Well-known Irish tertiary institutions are Dublin City University, Trinity College Dublin, National University of Ireland Galway, University of Limerick, Cork Institute of Technology, Dundalk Institute of Technology, Institute of Technology Carlow and Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

VEC also provides similar consultancy services for Swiss College of Hotel Management Lenk (SHML) in Switzerland and International Aviation Centre in Kuala Lumpur.

Studying in Ireland – An Unforgettable Experience

Studying in Ireland - An Unforgettable Experience | Study and Go Abroad

Increasing numbers of Canadian students are making the decision to study in Ireland each year – and they have good reason to!

Ireland is a beautiful island, combining contemporary modern cities with an unspoilt countryside, cityscapes steeped in history, and a rich natural habitat. Renowned for friendliness, our safe, English-speaking country offers the warmest of welcomes to students from all over the world. At any one time there are 5,000 Canadians living in Ireland!.

Reasons to study in Ireland

  1. Ireland is a friendly and safe country – with a hospitable and welcoming nation of people.
  2. English-speaking country – Ireland is the only English-speaking country in the Eurozone with close cultural, economic and educational links with North America and the UK.
  3. Internationally Recognised Qualifications and Extensive Choice – Students can choose from an extensive range of courses to meet their needs in colleges and universities recognized for their excellence worldwide.
  4. Supportive Learning Environment – Dedicated international offices work closely with academic, administrative, and specialist staff to fully support students throughout their time in Ireland.
  5. Innovative and Creative Culture – Ireland is known for its entrepreneurial society: Eight of the world’s top ten ICT companies and nine of the top ten Pharmaceutical companies have their European base in Ireland.
  6. Distinguished Graduates – Ireland’s graduates are innovators, leaders and ambassadors for excellence all around the world. Qualifications earned and connections made in Ireland deliver a passport to success and a high rate of employability after college.
  7. Leading Global Companies in Ireland – Companies who require a skilled, educated and highly capable workforce to drive their success choose to locate in Ireland; including Google, Facebook, Pfizer, Apple and Intel.
  8. Gateway to Europe – Ireland is a gateway to Europe. Many students who study in Ireland take time during their school holidays to visit the UK, France, Spain, Italy, and other European countries just a stone’s throw away.

As well as this, Ireland has a worldwide reputation for high quality education which is built on the solid foundation of commitment to excellence. Ireland is ranked 1st in Europe for graduates per 1000 of population.

Popular sought-after programs

Current Canadian students in Ireland are studying across a number of different disciplines. Popular programs to date include:

  • Architecture
  • Engineering
  • Travel, Tourism and Hospitality
  • Construction Management
  • Renewable Energy
  • Business – Marketing, HR, Management, Accounting
  • Social Care
  • Early Childhood Care & Education
  • Public Affairs and Policy Management
  • Medicine
  • Graduate Entry Medicine

The Education in Ireland website has a very useful ‘What Can I Study?’ function. Students can type in their preferred subject, which level (undergraduate or postgraduate), and where in Ireland they would like to complete their studies. A list of possible universities and colleges is generated, with further information on the institution and the selected course of study if you follow the links.

Research in Ireland

Ireland is making a marked and growing impact in every research field it is engaged in. Irish universities are now in the top 1% of research institutions in the world in 18 fields, spanning natural sciences, social sciences and the humanities. Ireland is ranked 20th in the world for overall international scientific citations per paper – a remarkable achievement for such a small country.

As a country, Ireland is currently ranked 18th across all fields, having risen from 36th in 2003. In terms of research, Ireland ranks:

  • 1st in the world for Immunology
  • 1st in the world for Animal & Dairy
  • 3rd in the world for Nano-Sciences
  • 4th in the world for Computer Science
  • 6th in the world for Material Science

Student Ambassadors

Education in Ireland has a number of student ambassadors who regularly post blogs about their experiences abroad. I caught up with some of them earlier in the year and they were all very positive about their decision to study in Ireland:

‘’When I decided on leaving Canada to finish my undergraduate degree in Ireland, I didn’t really know what to expect. I hadn’t researched much on the country but I thought that the international experience would look good on my résumé. Little did I know that I was in for one of the best times of my life!

Studying in Ireland opened up doors that allowed for me to further develop skills that employers are looking for today. It not only provided me with a degree, but I was also fortunate enough to find employment in Ireland upon graduating.’’ (Cameron Bradley, Waterford)

‘’I chose Ireland because it offered a chance to gain further education in my field of study, while providing a unique opportunity for international experience. To date, I have enjoyed my studies, while taking advantage of various opportunities CIT has provided to explore the culture and landscape of Ireland.’’ (Stephen Hotke, Cork – also in photo is Canadian ambassador Joel Frederick Foster)

‘’Since coming to Tralee, the world has become a lot smaller to me. I have been introduced to new possibilities and ways of life, and can honestly say I have learned a lot from the experience. Ultimately, I would recommend studying abroad to anyone who is interested in taking on a challenge – it can lead to great rewards.’’ (Chloe Logan, Tralee)

‘’Through the International Society, I have a concrete network of fellow students who are going through both similar and vastly different experiences. We are able to laugh at the embarrassing confusions and miscommunications that frequently happen. We are able to find support and comfort when our situation seems overwhelming. And we are able to exchange our enthusiasm and passion for adventure and exploration.’’ (Kelli Brenton, NUI Maynooth)

Colleges Ontario – Institutes of Technology Ireland Agreement

Since 2012, a new agreement has been in place between the Colleges of Ontario and the Institutes of Technology in Ireland, which enables graduates of a two-year diploma in Ontario to study in Ireland for a further two years, receiving an honours degree upon completion. In some cases, Ontario students can earn their honours degree with just one additional year of study. This option is available across many disciplines of study. Tuition is set at a fixed sum of €7,500, students are still eligible for OSAP, and no work permit is required for up to 20 hours part-time work per week. (For more information, visit www.ioti.ie)


L’Irlande est un pays magnifique de gens chaleureux, sympathiques et accueillants. De plus, l’Irlande a une réputation mondiale pour l’éducation de haute qualité. Vous ne regretterez jamais un séjour passé sur l’île d’émeraude ! Pour en savoir plus, n’hésitez pas à contacter Ciara Halliday :


Tuition Fees and Living Costs for International Students in Ireland

Ireland is a welcoming island with cosmopolitan cities and a strong history related to literature. The government is annually investing around 870 million EUR in research in higher education and also encourages international student scholarships. The country has nine prestigious universities and 15 technological institutes that welcome around 35,000 international students from 161 countries.

Ireland tuition fees.jpg

The impact of research in Ireland is visible in natural sciences, social sciences and humanities. The international environment is visible in this English-speaking country that matches the charm of the UK, while keeping costs close to European averages.

Find more information below about the university tuition fees, living costs and scholarship opportunities for international students in Ireland.

1. University tuition fees in Ireland

EU/EEA students can study for free

The undergraduate degree courses in Ireland are, usually, free for citizens of Ireland/EU. However, in order to benefit from the “free fees initiative”, you have to apply for the funding governmental programme and prove that you are eligible(e.g.: you apply for the first time, and your chosen programme lasts more than two years).

Nationality, immigration status, residence and course requirements are also criteria that can qualify you for a tuition-free university degree.

However, all students have to pay around 2,500 EUR/year for student services, such as examination entries and support for clubs and societies.

Tuition fees for non-EU students
  • Undergraduate courses 9,000 – 45,000 EUR/year for undergraduate degree courses.
  • Postgraduate Master and PhD courses: 9,150 – 37,000 EUR/year.

Fees vary depending on your chosen field of study, programme and university.

Ireland living costs.jpg

Most affordable universities in Ireland

Check the list of Irish universities with the most affordable tuition fees for EU/EEA students:

  1. University of Limerick– average tuition fees 7,000-8,000 EUR/year.
  2. University College Cork– average tuition fees 6,500 EUR/year.
  3. Cork Institute of Technology– average tuition fees 3,500 EUR/year.
  4. St. Patrick’s College– average tuition fees 4,500 EUR/year.
Tuition fees at top-ranked universities

Here is a list of average tuition fees at the top-ranked Irish universities:

  1. Trinity College Dublin– average tuition fees 7,500 EUR/year.
  2. University College Dublin– average tuition fees 6,700 EUR/year.
  3. National University of Ireland, Galway– average tuition fees 6,000 EUR/year.
  4. Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland– average tuition fees 6,000-8,000 EUR/year.

Take note that usually, non-EU/EEA students will have to pay double the tuition charged to EU students.

2. Student living costs in Ireland

Ireland is a country where you will enjoy a balanced lifestyle. Living costs are a bit below average for the European area. Total living costs for an international student are around 600 – 873 EUR/month.

Average living costs in Irish cities:

  • Dublin and Cork: you will pay 730 – 873 EUR/month (without the accommodation costs)
  • Galway and other smaller cities: 600 – 700 EUR/month

Check out a detailed list of prices and estimates on living costs in Ireland!

Accommodation costs in Ireland

Accommodation plays a major role when it comes to expenses as a student in Ireland. This means students spend around 38% of their total monthly budget on housing.

Universities accommodation in residence halls usually costs above the European average of 200 – 300 EUR. Only 12% of the total international students enjoy accommodation in student halls, according to a European study. However, 72% of them are satisfied with the rooms and services.

Apart from residence halls, you can rent/share an apartment or choose home stay housing.

The main accommodation prices for students in Ireland are:

  • Student living alone: 414 EUR/month
  • Student living with partner/child: 470 EUR/month
  • Student living on campus: 375 EUR/month
Other costs associated with accommodation

During your stay in Ireland, you will also pay for:

  • Utilities: around 153 EUR/month
  • Internet pass: up to 100 EUR/month
Food costs

Average monthly food costs are not high, these may cost around 240 EUR/month for grocery shopping. You can find cheaper food products in supermarkets such as Aldi, Lidl, Tesco, Dunnes or Superquinn.

You can also dine in a small restaurant and pay 15 EUR or enjoy a three-course meal for two in an average restaurant for 55 EUR.

Ireland costs.jpg

Transportation costs

Students from Ireland can benefit from discounts for transportation especially if they use the Student Leap Cardor the Bus Éireann services to travel around the country.

Around 27% of the students use public transport in Ireland and a monthly pass with a special discount for students is around 50 – 55 EUR/month.

The most popular mode of transportation is the bicycle, chosen by 38% of the students. You can rent a bicycle to get around the city; rates start from 20 EUR/day.

Extra costs

Some other small expenses you may need during your study:

  • books, research magazines: 70 EUR/month
  • medical insurance: 45 EUR/month

3. Funding & student support

While you study in Ireland you also have the chance to find some possibilities to support yourself financially. Here are some scholarship examples:

a) 15 undergraduate scholarships: awards are 6,000 EUR/each student

b) 11 postgraduate scholarships: awards are 10,000 EUR/each student

After you have all the information packed, get ready for a unique study experience in Ireland!

Five Unexpected Reasons to Study in Ireland

Five Unexpected Reasons to Study in Ireland main image

Throughout the course of mu undergraduate years, postgraduate years, and later years leading up to the present, I have written many a blog listing reasons to study in Ireland. A significant number of those blog posts spoke about my favorite places to visit in Ireland; others honed in on the more abstract reasons for studying in Ireland-cultural, historical and the like. This blog post is going to take a slightly different turn…

Fear not: I won’t send any of you off the “metaphorical blogosphere road”. Instead, it is my greatest hope that, through the words below, you will gain a better understanding of just how much studying in Ireland can change any given individual, no matter what path of life he or she is on at present. Without further ado, here are my “Top Five Unexpected Reasons to Study in ireland”!

Studying in Ireland will help you…

1. Chill out… a ton. I seriously can’t even fathom what my mindset or “sense of the present” would be llike today had I chosen to study in Ireland. I’m going to level with all of you, because even though I may not know you from Adam, I tend to have a compulsive need to tell the truth…especially when I know it can help those around me.  I am your classic over-achieving, talkative, go-getting, perfection-seeking, passionate, goal-oriented, dreamer who can’t help but get in my own way sometimes. Okay, more than sometimes. Before I went to Ireland, I found it very hard to chill out, take a breather, relax, however you want to say it. I was in constant motion, which in many ways was good, but in more ways, to put it bluntly, over-kill. When plans I made fell through, or I was a bit behind palnning a paper or project or proposal, I would get angry at myself. I knew intellectually that I needed to find my “inner  Zen”, but I had no idea where to start. Then something incredible happened: I accepted a place in the study abroad program at the University of Limerick, and everything started to fall into place…without my incessant planning, I might add. Ireland is a peaceful place. It is a welcoming place. It is a place that allows visitors to look at the world around them and take it all in, instead of only sneaking an occasional glace once in a while. Things aren’t as rushed, people are genuinely happy to talk with others, and life is more about voyage as opposed to the reaching of one’s personal terminus. While studying in Ireland, I changed from someone who lived and breathed planning and deadlines, to someone who uses plans in beneficial ways without letting them control me. Ireland taught me to see life in a different, more beautiful and open, kind of way. That, in itself, is a gem I will always cherish.


2. Gain a better appreciation of history. You may not think about it all that much, but the United States of America is compared to other countries, very much akin to a toddler. At the ripe age of 237 years old (almost 238), we are very young country. While the Republic of Ireland is also fairly young, having gained independence from Great Britain in 1922 the land and culture of the country is rich enduring and deep-rooted. I mean, seriously there are forts, castles, ancient tombs, breathtaking rock formations and notable landmarks EVERYWHERE. While I was at the University of Limerick, I had two castles (King John’s Castle and Bunratty Castle) within a 20-minute drive from me. The Cliffs of Moher were a 35 to 40 minute drive away. I could get to Dublin to visit the Famine Ship and the Guinness Brewery via the train in two hours. The express bus to Galway City, where I got my lovely claddagh ring from Thomas Dillon’s Claddagh Gold, was a 45 minute ride. Cork and Blarney, both with beautiful sites and a plethora of stories to go along with them, were an hour and 30 minutes away by bus.


3. Look and feel healthier. You know all those really gross additives and artificial flavors and colors that we hear so much about? You know how, despite hearing about all these really gross “items” in our food, we still eat a lot of them anyway, usually because we have no idea they were even in our food in the first place? Good news…Throw high-fructose corn syrup, dangerous artificial products and harmful preservatives out the window, because in Ireland they are ridiculously hard to come by. I’m not saying that they’re completely not-existent, but I can tell you that, in Ireland, you won’t feel the need to read the fine print on every single label just to make sure you’re “eating right”. Between the wonderful farmer’s markets found in the major cities and on the campuses of colleges and universities, to healthier options found in local grocery stores, Ireland boasts a land of genuinely healthy food options. If you’re anything like me, you’ll find yourself feeling healthier.


4. Become a time management champ. I feel as though this reason is semi-obvious. While studying abroad, you’re going to want to explore, go out, travel, get involved on campus, and, you know… study. All of this very achievable as long as you get to grips with the time management, fast. While this life skill is one that isn’t “Ireland specific”, I felt as though I would be doing all of you  a huge disservice if I didn’t include it, even briefly. Basically, budgeting time for all of your study abroad endeavors is POSSIBLE in Ireland…and I’m not just saying this as the “pre Ireland me” spoken about in reason #1. I;m saying this because there is no more peaceful, beautiful, safe and welcoming environment than the Emerald Isle, if you’re looking to refine your time management skills, identify your passions and hone in on your strengths.


5. Discover your hidden strengths and passions. I kind of gave a few mini-spoilers to this final reason while writing the other four, but I still feel that it deserves its own slot. Simply put, my time in Ireland allowed me to discover strength and potential inside of myself that I had neglected to notice until my time as a study abroad student. Studying in Ireland:

  1. Forced me to embrace change, and the fact that life doesn’t always go as planned.
  2. Helped me understand my greatest assets and those pesky weaknesses.
  3.  Afforded me the independence I  so craved since, well, birth.
  4. Showed me that making mistakes isn’t a fatal flaw…It’s human and necessary for growth.
  5. Allowed me to see clearly for the first time who I was (and am now) and what exactly that meant for my present and future.
  6. Showed me just how open my mind could become, and how many wonderful adventures I could fill it with from day to day.
  7. Gave me to tools to write my own story, and share it with others.


Why study at Institute of Technology Blanchardstown?

  • Government owned college based in Dublin, the capital city of Ireland
  • Ireland’s newest college (estd. 1999) with state of the art computer, network and digital forensics labs
  • Strategically located in Blanchardstown – IT and Software hub of Ireland
  • Excellent Scholarships. Free Airport Pick Up and upto 5 days free accomodation*
  • Highly regarded college with critical links to local industry
  • Globally recognised CISCO NetAcad Premier Networking labs
  • ITB is a part of Information Security Ireland  – an industry led organisation comprising of technology firms, academia and the Irish Government

DkIT students dream up AIB Hackathon Experience

DkIT students from the Department of Computing and Mathematics recently took part in AIB DataHack, an initiative aimed at 3rd Level computing students to help build the future through the power of IT. The overall prize fund for the competition was €8000. In total, sixty-three teams entered into the Datathon or Hackathon, comprising of 126 students from 13 different Universities and Institutes of Technology, Supported by the DkIT ACM Student Chapter, there was a strong showing from the Institute with five teams participating in the AIB Bankcentre in Dublin. In the Datathon the students were tasked with solving a problem using a large dataset provided, while the Hackathon entrants were asked to build an app, judged by two criteria – Quality and Awesomeness! Jonathan McCrea, host of Futureproof on Newstalk, and Aoibheann Bird from the Insight Centre for Analytics joined the AIB judging panel to assess the entries.

Ronan Prenty, a fourth-year student from the Level 8 Computing programme in DkIT, took part in the Hackathon alongside classmate Audreen Soh. Audreen explains, “We were amazed at the setup provided by AIB on the day of the event. The level of competition was extremely high amongst the 126 competitors. Thankfully, the free food, drinks, goodies and spot prizes throughout the long day kept us going, along with the good music and the many games we got to play!” In the Hackathon, the participants were challenged to develop an idea that could enhance society. Ronan details, “Our idea was to bring good to communities within Ireland through crowd funding – we created a cross platform app that worked on any browser and could be installed on any device as an app. People within communities could pitch their ideas of something within the community that required funding and at the end of every month AIB could shortlist these ideas for people within that community to donate/vote on. Each vote would cost the user €2 with the possibility of AIB or other big companies to sponsor votes. Essentially, this would increase AIB’s Corporate Social Responsibility within these communities”. They coined their innovative App, ‘Community Together’ which allowed users to post and vote on causes that needed attention within their communities.

In the preliminary round of judging, the contestants were separated into multiple groups of four teams, each team having to pitch their idea and product to developers and staff from AIB. From there, it was narrowed down to seven teams in the finals where Ronan and Audreen pitched their concept to the judging panel. The Dragons Den setting allowed the duo to showcase their creation, and provided the opportunity for the judges to get a hands-on experience of their application.  The standard of competition was very high but ‘Community Together’ impressed the judges sufficiently to be placed second overall, with students from NUIM claiming the top honours.

Congratulations to Ronan and Audreen, and indeed to all students from the DkIT ACM Student Chapter who represented the Institute so well when taking part in the DataHack.

Maddie: University College Dublin (Semester 1, 2015)

Academic experiences

I’m a fourth year Business Management/Arts student and I chose to study only my Arts courses while on exchange.
At UCD I studied 6 courses (modules), which is the standard full-time load.
Though you have to study more courses, I found the workload to be similar (if not lighter) than my usual workload at UQ.
In my experience the grading system at UCD is also slightly more generous.
My classes at UCD consisted mainly of lectures, with few tutorials.
However, the class sizes were much smaller than those at UQ so it was not difficult to get to know the lecturers and seek their advice on the coursework.
I had some trouble signing on to my modules before I arrived in Dublin, and did not get into a few modules I needed as they were full.
The staff at the UCD International were a wonderful help in my first week on campus and signed me on to the modules I missed out on.
There were many other exchange students who were in the same situation and the staff were able to sign them on to their classes or find alternatives for them.

The Cliffs of Moher

Personal experiences

Going on exchange was such a unique and worthwhile experience.
I met amazing people from all around the world, and made close friendships with both Irish and International students (including some fellow Australians) who made my exchange even more rewarding.
I was able to travel all around Ireland and Northern Ireland throughout semester.
I also made it to Scotland, England, Portugal, Denmark and Iceland.
I completely fell in love with Ireland, and it didn’t take long for Dublin to feel like home.

University College Dublin


I lived on campus in the Glenomena residences.
In Glenomena you share an apartment with 5 other students, have your own bathroom, and share the kitchen/living room.
The apartments are very modern with enough space to live comfortably with 5 other people.
The kitchens are equipped with two small fridges, a microwave and a stovetop but no oven.
I got by fine without an oven (you may sometimes just have to get a bit creative with your cooking). When it comes to choosing a residence, you can’t really go wrong with any of the main campus residences.
It just comes down to your personal preferences for the number of housemates, shared or ensuite bathrooms, catered or non-catered, and the price.
They are all a short walk to all the buildings on campus, and the convenience store Centra.
I really enjoyed living in Glenomena and would definitely recommend it.
There is always security at the gate to the Glenomena/Merville residences at night, and other entrances are locked after a certain time at night.
This meant I always felt very safe being in the residences, even though the tight security was at times inconvenient.
It’s very easy to socialise while on the residences and there is a great sense of community, which is what I liked the most about living on campus.
I was lucky enough that all of my housemates were Irish students, I found that most exchange students I met lived with mostly (or exclusively) other International students.
This made it very easy for me to meet other Irish students and get to know Dublin and Ireland through their perspective.
Living with other International students gives you the opportunity to really get to know people from all around the world, and you’ll always have someone to go exploring with.
It just means you may have to make more of an effort to get to know Irish students, but there are plenty of opportunities to do so through classes, clubs and societies, and living on campus.

Phoenix Park


I found Dublin to be fairly similar to Brisbane in terms of expenses.
To live on campus you need to pay the residential fees upfront so there’s no rent or utility bills to worry about.
Make sure you have at least a rough budget for everyday expenses, entertainment etc, and travel. Little things like paying to use the laundromat on the residences, and topping up your Leap Card (Go-card equivalent) can add up very quickly so it’s important to keep that in mind.
I think the best thing to do is over-budget for most things, as there are always going to be unplanned opportunities, and unexpected expenses that pop up.
I took advantage of the OS-Help Loan, and was lucky enough to receive a travel grant for my exchange.
Ireland is a great base for traveling around Europe, and it’s very easy to get cheap flights with airlines like Ryanair an Aer Lingus.
Keep an eye out for special deals and sales with budget airlines.
Ryanair was offering 60 cent return tickets to Copenhagen during one sale while I was on exchange!


Academic development and employability

Going on exchange has made me a far more confident person.
You get thrown into the deep end in a way, so you learn how to be more independent and become far more capable of working through unexpected or difficult situations.


Being in Dublin city on St Patrick’s Day was absolute madness, and if you are at UCD in UQ’s semester one (their second semester) make sure you are in town that day!
The streets become flooded with people in green, and the atmosphere is electric.

Top tips

Take some time to learn about Irish history and culture, whether through your classes or on your own.
It will really enrich your experience.
Join the ESN (Erasmus Student Network) or ISS (International Student Society) to meet other exchange students, go on day/weekend trips around Ireland and enjoy heaps of social events throughout semester.
The International Office books appointments for international students at the Garda National Immigration Bureau to get the necessary GNIB card.
I’d recommend going to the office during one of these appointments or getting to the office before it opens to potentially avoid what can sometimes be a more than 6 hour wait.
Visit all the tourist spots in the city, and venture out to places like Howth, Dun Laoghaire, Killiney Hill and Bray just outside the city centre.
Outside of Dublin my personal favourite places were The Cliffs of Moher, Galway, Blarney Castle, Connemara, and The Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland.
Watch some live music: The Ruby Sessions at Doyles are great for undiscovered local talent, or Cobblestones if you want to see traditional Irish music sessions.
There are also some very talented buskers on Grafton Street!
It helps to really do your research early on not only the host uni and courses, but also the city and country you’ll be living in to make the whole process a bit smoother.
If you’re interested enough that you’re reading testimonials my advice is definitely follow through by going on exchange.
It takes a lot of organising, but it’s easier to participate in UQ Abroad than you might expect, and most definitely worth everything you put into it.

Balancing Academics and a Social Life at NUI Galway

Hui Sun  is an international student from China earning her MEconSC in International Finance.

Some Chinese friends kept asking me how I manage to balance full-time school, part-time job, recreation and extracurricular activities in Ireland when I barely knew anything about how life is like in another continent. As a foreign student studying abroad for the first time, it goes without saying how important it is to improve our work-life balance in an entirely different environment.

If you want my honest answer, there are two very important tools that I’ve integrated into my weekly life that I think each international student should bear in mind: handle your pressure and time management.

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My Master’s degree major is Finance but my Bachelor’s degree major is Accounting. So honestly, I did not have a very solid foundation with what we ought to have in mathematics and programming, except some basic understanding in advanced mathematics. So at the very beginning, I found it quite hard to catch up when we were studying quantitative finance computations related to calculus, statistics and computer programming. I have to confess that at that period, I was quite upset and even depressed because I found myself quite slow in understanding lectures (both in aspect of language and content) even though I have already spent most of my time in library learning by myself. Then I made a complaint to one of my Chinese friend who has been studying in NUI Galway for 4 years, he told me to stop push myself too hard and gave me some useful tips:

  • Step 1: Self-analysis, find your limits, your strengths and weakness, the most effective studying method for yourself and your optimal hours of sleep, etc.
  • Step 2: Stop spend all day in library and enrich your spare time, but narrow down your involvement to the things which could really ignite your enthusiasm.
  • Step 3: Keep a calendar. Stick to it.

I followed his suggestions and did a thorough self-analysis. I realized that I am always eager to understand concepts and things from very bare bottom, i.e. from the bare axioms. I liked logical reasoning. In short, I was right on choosing my major. What I truly lack is not mathematic knowledge itself, but enough confidence and patience. So I settle down to study from the very basics, little by little, and luckily, my classmates were always there to help me so I happily aced my first semester’s exam.

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Also I have decided to push myself to develop healthy habits—to work out and better my physical fitness. This semester, instead of taking everything one step at a time, I decided to take life head-on because, why not? You don’t know your limits until you challenge yourself and I wanted to learn mine. Sure, there are some hard days, but that’s when exercise comes into play. Specifically, tennis and climbing. Actually, I was quite uncertain when I begin to decide whether I should start learning some new sports because I am not used to be a total novice when I enter college clubs. It’s not like the time I attended college table tennis club in China when I have already been trained for years. Fortunately, when I finally set up my mind and stepped into the tennis court and the climbing wall, I found there were quite a few newcomers like me who had no experience and all of us were taught from the very basic. The club managers were very friendly and patient, we all enjoyed ourselves, and I should say doing sports is really a great way to release our pressure form the daily routine. I even passed my NUI Galway climbing certificate after the whole session of climbing class!  Sun Pic 4.jpgSun Pic 5.jpg

The third aspects for me to change has been organization, specifically time management. Utilizing my at-home calendar app, Google calendar app, and an on-the-go planner app has helped me tremendously in terms of knowing my weekly assignments and tasks. I believe very strongly in writing things down and setting reminders because that is one of the best ways I retain information and memorize my goals. A good organizational practice to get started is to take everything that you need to do in a week and write them down from greatest to least important and make it your business to set aside time for every goal each day. Before you know it, your entire list will be diminished and you might even have some time to spare for extracurricular activities.

These may seems like two very small methods towards self-improvement, however, practice makes perfect and habits turn into muscle memory so even if you don’t see much of a change immediately, taking baby steps towards big goals are still steps in the right direction.