Antonio's Erasmus Experience in Dublin, Ireland
Why did you choose to go to Dublin, Ireland?
It sounds a bit cliché but I ended up there through pure chance. I’m an Erasmus student and amongst all the destinations you can choose, Dublin was one of them. Although it wasn’t my first choice, nowadays I consider it as one of the places where I have been happiest and I love the city for that and do not regret my choice at all.
How long is the scholarship? How much money did you receive to help you with living costs?
In relation to economic assistance, I’m lucky enough to receive a joint grant between the European Union (EU) and for being Andalusian, the Andalusia regional government. The EU grant only covers 5 months of my stay and in the case of Ireland being a group 1 country (a high standard of living), I get €300 a month, so in total €1,500. The Andalusian grant covers the entirety of my stay here, giving me €250 a month. In general I can’t complain, it’s very good. Furthermore, if you have received grants in the past from the Spanish Ministry of Education, you can get even more money depending on the country you go to.
What's student life like in Dublin?
Student life is great. Wherever you go, be it the university, out partying or just to chill, Dubliners as well as students are very attentive and sociable, you won’t have any problems with them. They always help you no matter what you need. But of course, it makes all types to make the world go round, not everyone is so nice but in general very good.
Would you recommend the city and the University of Dublin to other students?
Of course, a hundred times over. It’s one of the experiences that every student should live through as Dublin has so much to offer. The university is welcoming, so much so that immediately after arriving you feel like you’re at home.
What's the food like?
The food is one of the city’s weak points. I must say that you don’t eat badly but coming from Spain and taking into account our level of gastronomy, you can’t compare. That is when you start to miss your other life in Spain.In the end you get used to it and you make do with what you can and eat what you like. That’s the truth, it also has its good parts.
Was it hard to find accommodation in Dublin?
Finding accommodation at the start is one of the most difficult aspects. Personally, I was very lucky as I stayed in a student hall of residence called Griffith College and I had my spot straight away so I didn’t have to do any extra work looking for a roof over my head. I would recommend looking for accommodation a lot in advance in order to ensure you find something.
How much does it cost to live in Dublin?
Economically speaking, Dublin has a high standard of living. Between shopping and leisure time, you can easily end up spending around €250 a month. In terms of accommodation, prices are high but if you are sociable and open minded enough to share a flat or a room with more people, the price goes down considerably, but you have to be prepared to do that.
How's the language? Did you go to any language classes?
The language is very accessible. Generally it is easy to understand and communication in most cases isn’t forced. I refer to talking to any old person on the street who understands that you’re a foreigner and a novice, they’ll help you out and not make you feel stupid. At university I took English classes as a subject which is always a good idea.
What's the cheapest way to get to Dublin from your city?
Without a doubt, the easiest and best value way is by plane. It’s pretty hard to get to Dublin any other way to be honest.
What places would you recommend for a night out in Dublin?
Dicey’s Garden is very well known in the city for its student atmosphere, it’s good fun. On Wednesdays all drinks cost €2 all night.. If you are Spanish and want to feel like you’re at home in relation to the music they play and the people who go, then Mercantile is the place. Although in my opinion, I wouldn’t recommend making friends with so many Spanish people as then what’s the point of living in another country. Both Hawl at the Moon and Opium are also fun.
Is it good to eat out in Dublin? Can you recommend some good restaurants?
One of my favourite places is Burritos, it serves Mexican food and The Port House, a Spanish restaurant located in Temple Bar (although it is expensive). It’s prices mean it’s not somewhere you can go every day of the week but the food there is great.
What good cultural sites are there to visit?
Dublin has a lot to offer culture wise. You can find free tours which explain to you all the stories and secrets which you should know about the city. Trinity College is spectacular. You also have Dublin castle (first photo below), Temple Bar, Hapenny's Bridge, Henry St to shop at, Spire and the Guinness beer factory which is something you simply must experience in person.
What advice would you give future students heading to Dublin?
My advice is don’t be scared, go out and explore new things and don’t let money concerns stop you from doing so. It’s a unique experience in life and one that deserves to be be made the most of. And if you choose Dublin, I assure you that your experience as a student will not have lived better moments than what you will live here, because the city is full of life.
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