Ireland is one of the top 10 education destinations across the globe, emerging rapidly in the league of the most sought-after locations for Indian students to pursue higher education programs. The country is known for its amiable diplomatic relations with India, a trend that is strengthening each year with reciprocal mobility of talent between the two locations. Statistically speaking, every year there is an increase of about 10% in the number of Indian students applying to Ireland, which has brought more students embarking on this intriguing journey abroad.
So, if you are one of the many aspirants who feel the same, the following are a few tips to keep in mind for having a smooth sail in Ireland:
It’s all right to feel homesick
You are moving to a new country, and loneliness and homesickness are bound to kick in. I suggest carrying a few photographs of happy moments with family, friends, and even pets. It’s all about being familiar with a new setting and for this, you can pack some comfort food like snacks, and sweets which will help you during this period. Maybe even carry a few clothes that keep you comfortable and help you tide through this brief homesickness. It will help to have something to retreat to when you’re stuck in bed with a cold or when you are missing your family.
Soak up the culture but don’t forget your own
Moving to a new location can be daunting but do remember to soak up the culture of the place. What is its pop culture, its history, and how is it similar or different from the culture back home? Please accept that you are not going to get things right in the first few months of being in Ireland. If you have researched their culture well and learned to accept it, you will eventually have strong emotional ties with your new location.
As Indians, we tend to be very good at academics but lack networking skills. It’s important to learn to network, beyond our Indian circles and communities. You have moved there to get a global education so make friends with the different nationalities that are there in Ireland. And it’s not even difficult. You can team up with your new friends abroad and hit the local hotspots or festivals and events to get started. Knowing one thing, having local friends is a blessing. They can tell you where to go, and what to eat and get the best deals on almost everything.
Seize every opportunity
This is very important. Seize every opportunity you can get while studying abroad. Whether it’s a coffee with a stranger, clubbing at night with friends, being part of research and assignments with a diverse group, or even helping your professors out. Every opportunity is a lesson and memory – an experience that will last you a lifetime. You don’t know where exactly these opportunities will lead you. Maybe, even your next job!
Time management is the key
You have to be patient and give yourself enough time to immerse yourself in a new destination abroad. You may find life in Ireland slow at times compared to cities in India but believe me, the quality of life is so much better, and so is the work-life balance. Having said that, understand that there will be times when you will feel overwhelmed and be ready for several assignments and assessments, making their way to your calendar. Learning in institutions abroad is starkly different than it is in India.
Get ready to use your grey cells because your institutions will expect you to apply your mind and demonstrate you have understood concepts. Plagiarism will not be accepted, which may take longer for you to get work done. The only easy way to manage is learning and acing time management. Of course, you need to have fun but learn to finish your assignments on time too.
Most of all just enjoy the magical country of Ireland. An education there will give you the edge you require to further your career.
The author is Wendy Dsouza, Vice President, India & South Asia - Enterprise Ireland.