Ireland is a country where thousands of international students hope to study at prestigious institutions in order to expand their knowledge and experience different cultures. For many, it sounds dreamy, but it turns out to be very scary and thrilling for the young souls who are stepping out of their comfort zone. In a country where the number of students is rising year by year, here is a list of 10 things that international students need to know and do before, and as soon as they step foot on the Emerald Isle.
Here is a guide of 10 things for international students in Ireland:
While traveling around, you can come across many elegant and furnished houses in Ireland, but to lease one under your name as an international student in Ireland can be a tough task. You will have to work on accommodation before landing in Ireland. Thanks to many safe and trusted sites and links, you can start the house hunt in your home country and contact the landlord. But make sure, first, you find something near your college because this is your first time living in Ireland, and second, your house has good transport connectivity to the city center, be it with Luas, Dart, or buses available at regular intervals.
The different ways to book your accommodation, whether single rooms, studios, apartments, or independent homes, can be through the Facebook pages for accommodations in Ireland or the designated WhatsApp groups of your college, but also:
2. Visa Appointment
The second thing that, as an international student in Ireland, you would have to worry about is the student visa. When you receive your student visa, it is valid for three months from the date it was issued. So, in order to prolong your stay in Ireland, you must schedule an online appointment with the Irish Immigration Services in advance. The Irish Immigration Services website informs you about the process of visa extension, how long it takes, and the documents you need as a student.
To apply for the appointment, you can visit Irish Immigration Services
Once you land in Ireland, you will notice that people here use public transportation heavily. Transport like buses, Luas or Dart is efficient. For traveling through these modes of transport, you will have to apply for a student leap card. Leap cards are basically “tap and go” travel cards, on which you can add a certain amount of money and use it conveniently. Because you are an international student in Ireland, your student leap card would incur half the cost of an adult card, which turns out to be affordable and cheap.
Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann are the main bus service providers, covering both urban and rural areas and offering transportation between cities and towns. While the Irish rail network operated by Irish Rail connects cities and towns across the country. For fast and frequent service across the city and its suburbs, you can use Luas, a light rail tram system. Also, for further updates and to recharge your Leap Card, you can even download the Leap Card App.
To get your leap card, you can use Student Leap Card – TFI
- Irish Bank Account
Ireland is a country where most transactions are done with “tap and go” cards. Though you can use cash, having your own student bank account would be convenient and helpful. The majority of people prefer to open their first Irish bank account with banks like the Bank of Ireland (BOI) and Allied Irish Bank (AIB). As soon as you land in Ireland, make sure to book an appointment with your preferred bank. These banks will inform you of all the details, benefits, and documents you need to open a bank account. As you will be receiving your card and the PIN by post, make sure to check your mailbox daily.
- Job Hunting Websites
Together with your continuous college tasks and classes, the job search is going to be one of the most significant and time-consuming activities. The application procedure for graduate jobs and other positions at many companies begins in September or October and lasts until December. And during this time period, you would be busy with your group projects and assignments.
Hence, it is advisable that you already sign up with the job listing platforms, like LinkedIn, GradIreland, Indeed, etc., keep connecting with people that are in your college and in your desired company, and have your resume up-to-date so that all you are left with is applying for the desired jobs. And not to worry, it is pretty easy to connect through LinkedIn as an international student.
- Personal Public Service Number
So the first basic question is, what is the PPS number? Using this unique reference number, you can primarily access social welfare, healthcare, education, tax advantages, and housing benefits in Ireland. In addition, if this is your first job, you must register your PPS number with the Revenue Commissioners. It is a 7-digit number followed by 2 letters.
PPSN can be applied for when you land in Ireland, just by going through the MyWelfare website, which is linked below. This is an essential piece of identification for anyone living or working in Ireland. So even if you land here as an international student, you can apply for your PPSN just by going through MyWelfare.
- Pocket-Friendly Shopping
Dublin city is filled with fancy outlets, luxury brand stores, and shopping centers. As students, these stores are really fancy and tempting, but are they pocket-friendly? Well, that’s for you to answer, but it’s advisable to look for stores that are pocket-friendly and where everything is easily available.
As international students, you might be working part-time jobs along with your course, so it is wise to make Lidl, Tesco, and Aldi your go-to stores for grocery shopping while keeping brands like Zara, H&M, Berksha, New Look, Pull & Bear, and Sports Direct your shopping stops. Just make sure that you keep an eye on the sales periods in these outlets; you might end up finding something good at very cheap prices, which will make your day.
So Guinness, an Irish dry stout, is the most preferred alcohol and can be found anywhere. It is brewed in almost 50 countries and served in 120 countries. This national drink of Ireland is everyone’s favorite, and it is said, the bars near the Guinness Factory serve the best Guinness.
Also, the lengthy and thrilling tale is shown to millions of visitors at the Guinness Storehouse, a popular tourist destination. You can book your tickets for the Guinness Storehouse under international students which would cost you less comparatively, have a relaxing and calming tour, and finish it with a pint of Guinness.
You can also act all touristy in your initial days while having a pint of Guinness at the Temple Bar and learning the local lingo. You see, Irish lads find everything “grand.” Things you might hear more often are; ‘what’s the craic?’ which simply means ‘what’s happening?’, “sound” (good), grand (okay/fine), and “slainte” (cheers).
Ireland is a beautiful and scenic country. You will find places here that come straight out of a film or heaven, to be honest. You will find the views here to be breathtaking and relaxing, making you ponder life and the small things we ultimately like in our lives.
Make sure to take some time off from your studies and go for a Howth Cliff walk or the hidden beach at Howth, visit Bray (Wicklow), with friends, or simply go for a walk to Poolbeg Lighthouse. Just remember you are embracing life, and these places would help you find the peace and reassurance you are looking for.
- Be friendly
People here in Ireland are very friendly and helpful. All you need to do is be open and slowly and steadily come out of your comfort zone. Try out new things and visit new places with different groups of people. Doing this would be an easy way for you to make friends and grow your network as well. Just remember to come out of your shell and experience all the things you can while living here and to be open to exploring and learning.
I hope you find peace in the chaos! Slainte!