Reasons for the semester abroad
At an event organized for the Holzminder students, a number of companies presented themselves and demonstrated which criteria are nowadays necessary for a successful application. In addition to good grades and a confident demeanor, many have indicated that a stay abroad is given high priority (approx. 30%).
When I heard that, it was clear to me that I should also take a semester abroad to increase my chances of a promising job. Furthermore, I figured I could use it to improve my English and grow personally.
With the help of MicroEDU , the initial idea quickly became a tangible reality. I was looking for a country with English as my main language and so I came across the Dublin Business School (DBS, see abbreviationfinder for more definitions) in Ireland. Due to the fast and competent handling of my concerns, the application should be completed within approximately 2 months. All the necessary documents are made available for download and a checklist is given of what you have to submit. In addition, you receive a handbook tailored to the university, which tells you how to fill out the documents and what the various terms mean. With this help, I was able to submit all documents on time and soon had a confirmation in my hands. And so I was able to choose suitable courses and plan the trip to Ireland.
In addition to the flight, the search for a suitable apartment naturally played a major role in the travel planning. I can only recommend everyone to start very early and logically look for a suitable place to stay in Germany. Of course, the suggestions that you get from DBS are useful. The so-called “Accommodation Guide” gives you information on Irish websites where you can find all types of accommodation can search. Of course, some apartments and hotels are also offered directly. The price is sporty to say the least. For this reason we searched through Airbnb and quickly found what we were looking for. In any case, you should accept that the daily way to the university can take 30-45 minutes. You have to rely on the bus or train as soon as you live a bit outside of the city. In the end, I and two fellow students found an apartment in Dublin 18 and were very happy with it. The rent was around 450 euros per resident. In the city center, this can double.
So it is worthwhile to go looking for an apartment via the aforementioned portal. In conclusion, it is important to say that you should definitely be careful about who you entrust your credit card or bank details to. The provider should have a certain seriousness. I would also be wary of ads on Facebook. It was not uncommon for several people to want to rent out an apartment as their own. The first request of the “landlord” was to pay the deposit in advance. In the case of critical queries that were absolutely appropriate, you then no longer received an answer. So only contact reputable providers who know that you cannot be ripped off.
Arriving and finding your way around
When the apartment was found and all other organizational aspects were taken care of, we went to Dublin in mid-September. We flew with Ryanair from Bremen, which took about two hours. The plane was a bit small, but you pay very little for such a flight. Now that you’ve got your luggage, it’s time to organize a trip to the city center. There are lots of buses in front of the airport. Some are large coaches (blue), which are a bit more classy, and the other the normal double-decker buses (blue / yellow). In the end, they all lead to the city center, only the regular buses are cheaper. What catches the eye now, of course, is that there is left-hand traffic in Ireland and you shouldn’t forget this, but more on that later. The drive to the city center takes about half an hour. During that time, however, you are already busy gathering your first impressions. What immediately catches the eye are the architecture typical of the country and the different colored entrance doors of the houses. For those who want to find their way around, I recommend the “College Green” stop. Almost all buses run from here and St. Stephen’s Green is also a 5-minute walk away. From there you can take the LUAS to the south of Dublin. In Dublin itself there are a number of ways to get around. Here is a brief overview.
Taxi: As in almost every other country, taxis operate in Dublin. The prices are surprisingly fair and even cheaper compared to Germany.
Bicycle: Coca-Cola bicycle stations are available at selected locations. These rental bikes can be rented for a small fee and, depending on the tariff selected, have to be reconnected to one of the stations. But be careful here. Dublin traffic is very hectic and certainly a bit confusing at first.
Dublin Bus: As I said, one of the central points for the bus routes is “College Green”. There are plenty of bus routes with reasonable intervals in terms of departure times. Most of the time, the “big” lines also serve the same stations. One more point. In Ireland you have to flag a bus if you want to ride. If none of the inmates want to get off at your station and you don’t wave, the driver will leave you there. And please remember to thank the bus driver when you get out. You pay for the ticket by telling the bus driver the number of stations you want to go and then putting the money in the coin storage. The price is on every bus. If you don’t know the number, tell the bus driver where you want to get off and he’ll tell you the price. A little tip, always take enough change with you, as the bus drivers don’t change money. For example, if you only have a fiver with you, you will receive a receipt for the fare and the money you paid too much. This can then be paid out again at the Dublin Bus headquarters. Experience has shown that you don’t do that, so it’s better to pay appropriately.
DART: This is the train, comparable to our S-Bahn. The DART travels across Dublin and beyond, both north and south.
LUAS: That is as much as the tram in our country. There are two lines, the GREEN LINE serves the south and the RED LINE the north of the city. It is the means of transport for people who live a little further out and cannot / do not want to take the bus.
In general, it can be said about the fares that they vary slightly depending on the means of transport. I therefore recommend getting the Student LeapCard. This is available to all students at Trinity College, regardless of which college you ultimately attend. This card entitles you to use all means of transport, provided you have credit on it. The creation of the map takes about 10 minutes and costs you 20 euros. Then you can recharge it again and again at many stations. This is especially worthwhile if you travel by bus every day. There is a limit so that a maximum of € 20 per week will be deducted. For the LUAS there are also daily, weekly or monthly tickets, for example. Since I was only on the road with it, I decided on this variant.
Finally, a tip. If you want to find your way around, it is best to use GoogleMaps. You can use it to search for any connection and you will be shown departure times and lines. This is much easier than via the websites of the respective providers. And if you don’t know the way, just ask one of the locals. The Irish are very friendly and helpful.
Food and shopping
Now we come to the catering, so how do you make ends meet with your money. One of the reasons for me to go to Ireland was the euro. I thought that since there is the euro there and not the expensive pound as in England, it must also be cheaper here. Well, I was a little mistaken. Ireland is definitely more expensive than Germany. I’ll say in advance that you need around 1000 euros per month to pay the rent, buy food and treat yourself to something on the side. The temptation on the streets of Dublin is great and there are many opportunities to get rid of your money, perhaps faster than you would like.
I would definitely recommend avoiding the SPAR. Although the shops are in the city center, they look great and are easy to get to, but they are also very expensive. I can recommend Tesco and SuperValue if you only need a few things, such as something to drink and a small snack. The shops are also well represented and the prices are reasonable. After about a week we found out that there are ALDI and LIDL in Dublin too, which made things a lot easier. These shops have by far the largest range and the best prices, even if they are higher than the German ones. Still, I would recommend everyone to go shopping there, as it gives you more money to spend on other things.
Dublin is a wonderful city and you will quickly enjoy the countless pubs with live music. Excursions are always recommended. Especially Galway, Glendalough, Newgrange and the coast (Howth etc. ) should not be missed. However, the city has one shortcoming: it is incredibly expensive. 5 to 7 euros for a pint of beer is not uncommon there, especially in the more touristy pubs in the Tempel Bar area. Opinions also split here. Some say it is too touristy, expensive and not typically Irish at all. I found the pubs in the Tempel Bar very good. They are always well attended, the music is always lively and Irish. You don’t get that in other pubs, but you tend to meet Irish people there.
So that’s pretty much all I can say about my semester abroad. I can only recommend Dublin and Ireland in general to everyone who has not been there yet. This country casts a spell over almost everyone. It’s definitely the case with me, which is why I like to go there again and again. I hope that this experience report helps one or the other and I wish those who choose Dublin a wonderful and unforgettable time.