From Brazil to Ireland: My Journey as an International Student at DCU
I began my academic life studying publicity and advertising as an undergraduate at CEUB, in Brasília. I fell in love with the field and after an internship at a local marketing agency, I decided it was right for me to finish my degree and maybe get further education in digital marketing.
During my undergraduate studies, I became increasingly aware of the possibility of studying abroad. Being born in Brasília, Brazil, as a son of two former teachers, I was taught that education can open opportunities that were previously unavailable and change lives. My friends and social media channels discussed the benefits of studying abroad, especially in Europe and Ireland. My interest grew and I began planning my next move. Studying abroad had been a lifelong dream of mine, but I didn’t know if it was possible or how to make it happen, so I researched the topic for a couple of years.
I was determined to find out as much as possible before embarking on a potentially life-changing journey. I wanted to know everything from colleges and courses to city life to job opportunities. I spoke with people that studied abroad, alumni, and people working abroad. Information is power, and for me it helped make important decisions. Based on the research, I felt prepared and ready to move forward with the application process.
My Journey To DCU: From Applications to Offer Letter and Scholarship
In terms of my application, I submitted it right when the universities were open for those (during November). In my experience, you are more likely to be accepted if you apply early because there are more slots available. I was fortunate enough to get accepted within two weeks of my application.
I also took an IELTS course before to prepare for the proficiency exam, and I did a year and a half of postgraduate studies to improve my chances of being accepted into a graduate school abroad.
Being born and raised in Brazil, I didn’t know how valuable my academic and work experience would be in a European country. Some acquaintances, friends and family friends were sceptical about the value of my experience and my chances, but I prepared myself as much as possible and took my chances, and I was pleasantly surprised. I got many offers from several universities in Ireland, and could pick whichever was the best for my priorities.
As a MSc in Digital Marketing applicant in Dublin City University, I had a great opportunity to apply for the John Thompson Scholarship, Although DCU was my first choice, I wouldn’t be able to pay full non-EU fees without financial support. So just like with my application, I made sure to get my scholarship application in quite early. The process and requirements were quite simple: curriculum vitae, motivational letter and academic history (with grades). Thankfully, I was awarded the scholarship at a later date (end of July). Later in the academic year, I was invited to a great (and quite fancy) lunch at the campus with all donors and fellow scholars, where I got to meet Mr. Lee Thompson, son of John Thompson.
Why Ireland? Why DCU?
Being a tech-head since I was a child, I’ve been passionate about using technology and digital products to change people’s lives, disrupting traditional markets, and helping scale companies with it. I’ve had experience at tech companies (most of them being startups) before and I took notice of the sheer amount of big companies (like Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Hubspot, Salesforce, Amazon, Adobe, Dell) that have offices in Ireland.
Additionally, being able to work after my studies was a huge criteria of my decision and I believe is the same for every non-EU student. First, as a postgraduate non-EU student, I can stay for another two years due to Stamp 1G when I’m finished with my studies.
Also, Ireland has such a huge demand in my area (digital marketing) to the point that my niche is listed in the critical skills employment list. This opens the door to a Critical Skills Work Permit, which is easier and faster to get. It also brings good perks like the possibility of getting a Stamp 4 (permanent residency) after the two years of the work permit.
Unfortunately, Ireland has been through an accommodation crisis for a few years. I got my scholarship offer at the end of July and most (if not all) the student accommodations in the city was booked out. I was fortunate to get a great place at the campus: a nice double-bed ensuite room. My tip would be to apply for those as early as possible, just like the programme itself.
In terms of DCU, I wanted not only a quality university but also one that focused on employability and inclusion. Being an immigrant, it’s quite easy to feel lonely and that you’re fighting an uphill battle socially. The fact that DCU is so supportive in many aspects made me see it as a non-brainer choice.
My Experience After 9 Months
This past academic year has been one of the best experiences of my life. I have been able to not only become a much better academic and marketer but I also had a great time socially.
In academic terms, the MSc in Digital Marketing has a plethora of advanced classes, simulations, assignments, and exercises to help you become more knowledgeable and skilled at not only digital marketing but also business management. You will write a lot of academic papers and submissions, and also have opportunities like in-class simulations and the Google Ads Grant to hone your skills. The professors have your employability at mind when setting up their modules. Don’t be afraid to talk to them and ask questions.
Socially, the university has a lot of clubs and societies for you to join and meet new people. I believe this is a great opportunity for international students, since most of us come without any family members or friends. I joined a lot of them, such as the Photography Society, Volleyball Club, Marketing & Innovation Society, Spanish Society, and DJ Society. I met great people and found new hobbies but also came back to some that I haven’t been involved with for years.
5 Tips To A Prospective International Student
Do a lot of research before choosing your destination
Apply as early as possible to increase your chances;
Join Clubs and Societies to meet new people and have great experiences;
Create a sheet with all documentation you need before and after you arrive with the dates and important information;
Use a tool like Trello to organise and keep track of your assignments and due dates.
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