Preparation, supervision and organization
In the summer of 2015 it was clear to me that I would like to study abroad. After extensive research on my options (I am a high school graduate, which limited my options a bit) I came across the organization MicroEDU and got in touch with them. Together we came up with the idea that I could do my studies in Ireland. It was a great fit for me, as I didn’t want to be too far away from family and friends and already knew the country from previous vacations. So I decided to send my applications to two universities in Dublin. According to Abbreviation Finder, GCD is the abbreviation of Griffith College Dublin.
The contact with MicroEDU was always helpful, friendly and I was well looked after with all my questions during the application process . In February 2016 I received the good news that Griffith College in Dublin had offered me a place to study, which I gratefully accepted. The other university also sent me an acceptance, but only in August 2016 and since I live by the motto: “First come, first served”, I decided to go to Griffith College.
The course should then start on September 19, 2016. In the summer I started thinking about the necessary organization, as I had decided to go abroad for a complete bachelor’s degree. In this case, important things have to be covered, such as additional insurance, but also questions have to be clarified whether there are contracts in Germany that have to be terminated (in this case, in most cases, you can access the special right of termination because of a change of residence abroad). Taking out insurance is a very important and not to be neglected topic. You should find out what the insurance situation is like in the relevant country. In Ireland, for example, every citizen has the right to free health insurance. However, this only covers the bare essentials. In addition, one should keep in mind that medical care, as we Germans are used to, is not of the same standard in most countries. The question then arose for me as to whether I need private supplementary health insurance. Of course, there was also a consultation with my health insurance company in Germany (I was / am a public health insurance patient there). Due to the fact that I am moving my residence abroad for 3 years, I was recommended to take out private supplementary health insurance that covers costs, such as patient repatriation, hospital stays, etc., i.e. everything that can be very costly. In these situations, not everything would have been covered by my German health insurance. As a private supplementary health insurance for longer stays abroad, I can recommend Hanse Merkur, which I also decided on. The next important point is liability insurance. Ireland, for example, is not a particularly rich country and there are many people who are not insured. I have one here private liability insurance for everything basic concluded with default coverage. This seemed very useful to me and is not associated with any great additional costs. MicroEDU answered all of my questions during this process as well.
Arrival, accommodation and location
For the first year of my studies (September to June), I decided to move into the Griffith College Halls of Residence. This is Griffith College Dublin’s student residence and is right on the university campus. For me that was the best solution for the time being, as I came to Dublin on my own and in the end it helped me a lot in making connections quickly and easily.
I made my way to Ireland at the beginning of September 2016, as the well-known introductory events started a week before the start of the semester and I wanted to have a few more days to explore the city and its people. When I arrived at Griffith College, I first had to “check-in” at the dormitory. There I first had to sign some documents, were given documents and of course my key to my dormitory apartment. The “check-in” went very smoothly without long waiting times.
Griffith College’s dormitory consists of two apartment complexes. Each apartment has bedrooms, living room and kitchen. The kitchens in some apartments are quite simply equipped (I was missing an oven, for example). You can choose whether you book an en-suite room (your own private bathroom) or share a bathroom, just as you can choose whether you want to move into a double or single room. The bottom line is that it’s just a question of price. The equipment in general is okay. I honestly have to admit that the dorm room cost is not exactly justified. The equipment is simple and everything looks very shabby now. It’s clean and tidy but definitely needs improvement. However Of course, the dormitory also has advantages, such as 24/7 security, no more access to the campus for external people after 11 p.m. (campus residents come in via code through the side entrance of the campus), bus stops around the corner, supermarkets in the immediate vicinity and themselves Aldi and Lidl are only 20 minutes away on foot. The city center can be reached within 10-15 minutes by bus (about 30 minutes on foot) and the best bars, pubs and discos are about a 15-minute walk away, so everything is within manageable distances. What is also very positive is the district itself. Dublin is divided into North and South Dublin. The north of Dublin is considered a cheap but also rather unsafe district, whereas the south of Dublin is more expensive but safer. I also run shorter distances (max. 15 minutes) alone at night, provided that these are routes that I know. A taxi is recommended for longer distances that you are traveling alone at night as a woman. The last buses leave at around 11 p.m. and then unfortunately only again the next morning around 6 or 7 a.m.
University and courses
Griffith College is a very beautiful university that consists mostly of older buildings, which gives it a charm of its own. I think it’s great that the university has its own campus Has. Most universities in Dublin do not have a real campus, but this helps international students in particular to find a connection faster and easier. The university has a not particularly large but still sufficient library (here you can not only borrow books, but also DVDs, among other things) with areas for learning, but computers and printers or scanners are also available there. If the library is too full, there is also another “study room”, which also provides a computer, printer or scanner.
There is also a cafeteria or a small cafeteria. The price of the food there is completely okay, but in my opinion there is too little choice of vegetables and generally too little choice for vegetarians and vegans. Otherwise , the food actually tastes very tasty and there is not the same thing every day.
My first semester at Girffith College consisted of 6 different courses / subjects, which I did not choose, but were fixed from the start. It’s more like a school system. You get your course plan, which is structured like a timetable. It says when you have which course on which day. My courses are / were Business Management, Accounting, Business Maths, IT Skills for Business, Small Business Development and Learning to Learn. The courses themselves usually consist of a maximum of 30 people (in mine we are 13 people), which I think is very good. the Lecturers can build a much more personal relationship with you, respond intensively to your concerns and simply look after you better. Here you just have to decide for yourself whether you like it or not. The courses here usually last 4 days, so you have one day off a week. My courses started in the morning between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. and ended around 4 p.m. in the afternoon.
I must also mention here that there may be deviations in my case, since I am not doing a semester abroad, but a full course of study at Griffith College. Because of this, it was perhaps only for me that my courses were given and that it is different for people who spend a semester abroad at the university.
Life in Dublin
Dublin is a classic big city that shouldn’t be judged for its supposedly bad weather. The climate here is different, but as often as is always said, it doesn’t rain at all here.
For someone who also lives in a capital city in Germany, the change is certainly not quite as big as it was for me. What you should definitely keep in mind is that Dublin is one of the most expensive cities. That means everything is more expensive. Regardless of whether it’s food, accommodation costs, public transport, clothing or the prices in bars, pubs and discos. In general, one can say that everything is about twice as expensive as in Germany. My tip would be that you go with the Auslands-BAföG grapples. Even if you are not entitled to BAföG yourself in Germany, you may still be entitled to BAföG abroad. At least that way you would get a little financial support. I would recommend you to buy groceries in Aldi or Lidl. There you will also find some well-known products from Germany. It is positive that you can get discounts in many shops upon presentation of your student ID.
As a student in Dublin you are in good hands in any case. The only important thing is that you have to show some initiative if you want to make friends or make friends. Say, go out into town, meet new people in the pub, join societies (every university in Dublin offers different ones) and don’t be afraid to approach new people openly. The people of Dublin will receive you with open arms and are always ready to help.
The city itself has its own charm. It is very international and tolerant of foreign cultures, but also loud and full of a mixture of modern and old buildings. It is certainly pleasant that many routes can be walked, as the streets are always congested and it is usually faster to walk than by bus or taxi.
One advantage of Dublin is, of course, that the sea is not far and that Ireland itself offers many possibilities for excursions. A very nice little town not far from Dublin is Malahide with many small stretches of beach where you can relax perfectly in summer. There are also inexpensive bus tours or train rides from Dublin to Galway (there you will find the famous Cliffs of Moher), Cork, Limerick, Howth, Wicklow Mountains etc. If you like nature, you are definitely at the right place here. Dublin is one of those cities where you don’t have to drive long and you are in the middle of meadows, fields and unspoiled nature with heaps of cows and sheep. Ireland is also a good address for equestrian enthusiasts. There are many equestrian facilities in Dublin itself, but the rest of the country also has a lot to offer in this regard, as the Irish are particularly active in horse racing.
Another positive aspect are the internship opportunities (at least in the commercial sector). Many internationally known companies have their headquarters in Dublin, but also in other cities in Ireland. There are of course great opportunities for internships during or after your studies. For matters of this kind you can also contact the German-Irish Chamber of Commerce in Dublin.
Living and studying in Dublin is definitely recommendable and to this day I do not regret my decision and look forward to the next few years. My English had already improved tremendously after the first few weeks here, I met a lot of great new people and so far all the experiences I had gained were worth every penny. Both the city itself and the country offer an incredible number of things to see with breathtaking nature and great people who couldn’t be more open to other nationalities. At the end of the day, the only thing it takes to make your dreams come true is courage. And I’m more than happy to have had this one.