From Lagos to Dublin: Navigating the Unknown – Study Abroad in Ireland
My Path to Study Abroad at DCU as a Non-EU Student
They say life’s biggest decisions come when you stand at the crossroads, torn between forging ahead or exploring a different path. That was my dilemma as I contemplated taking the leap to further my studies. Having built a comfortable life in the vibrant city of Lagos, Nigeria, for six years, the thought of leaving it all behind for an unknown adventure was both exhilarating and terrifying.
After weeks of soul-searching, I decided to put my research skills to the test and zeroed in on a master’s degree in digital marketing at DCU Business School. The idea of studying on a whole new continent, especially one I had never visited, felt surreal. But armed with an acceptance letter and a student visa, I was ready to embark on this once-in-a-lifetime journey.
An unexpected tip from a former colleague led me to Qatar Airways, which not only offered a student discount for flights but also allowed me to travel with an extra piece of luggage. Four bags in tow, I landed in Dublin at 6:30 am, wide-eyed and ready to embrace the unknown. My arrival was made infinitely better by the presence of a longtime friend from my university days in Nigeria. Maryanne, my unofficial tour guide, made me feel at home from the get-go. Eager to dive into the experience, I couldn’t sleep and insisted on heading straight to school. Maryanne, being the wonderful friend she is, didn’t hesitate to accompany me.
First Days in DCU
The first order of business at DCU was sorting out the essentials – student ID, bus pass, and confirmation letters for crucial documents. I also bought a local SIM card which offered free local calls and unlimited internet for the month. With administrative tasks checked off, it was time to find a place to call home. Securing accommodation was made easier by DCU’s Student Pad platform, connecting students with trustworthy homeowners. Within a week, I found a delightful place to stay.
As classes commenced, I couldn’t shake the worry of being out of the academic loop for almost a decade. However, DCU proved to be more than accommodating. Their academic support team, coupled with free access to LinkedIn Learning, helped me bridge the gap. In just three months, I found myself designing my first website using HTML and CSS – an achievement I never thought possible.
Exploring Dublin and Connecting to the Nigerian Community
Being a proud Nigerian, the hunt for familiar flavours led me to a Nigerian local shop stocked with Panla fish, Atarodo (pepper), Maggi cubes, and all the essentials to recreate a taste of home. Yet, the culinary adventure didn’t stop there. Ireland introduced me to a newfound love for burgers, baguettes, steak and mashed potatoes, even if the concept of “spicy” here is vastly different from what I am accustomed to. Something to also keep in mind is the short shelf life of fresh food items when buying groceries.
Navigating the city was surprisingly smooth, thanks to an efficient public transportation system. Armed with a student bus pass, I could explore every nook and cranny with ease. Google Maps became my trusted ally while TFI Live was my guide (this shows the accurate time of the bus) guiding me through the twists and turns of Dublin. However, cultural differences did present their own set of challenges. Not everyone I encountered knew much about African culture, leading to some interesting and often amusing encounters. But hey, it’s all part of the adventure. One unexpected delight was meeting two fellow Nigerians on my first day of school. We were all in the same boat, navigating the Irish education system with the wide-eyed enthusiasm of newcomers. Our connection has blossomed into a friendship, with regular exchanges of tips on surviving and thriving in this new environment. In the heart of DCU’s diverse student body, I found solace in the African society. Spotting them during the society showings day was as easy as following the irresistible sound of Afrobeats. The society not only provided social events but also became a conduit for connecting with like-minded individuals.
Conclusion: Should You Study Abroad in Ireland
Now, four months into my Irish adventure, I can confidently say that I am content with my decision. Of course, I miss the familiar faces and flavours of home, but technology keeps me connected with friends and family. In the meantime, I am relishing the opportunity to carve out a new life for myself – making friends, learning new ways, and embracing the rich tapestry of experiences that Dublin has to offer. This journey to DCU Business School isn’t just about academics; it’s about embracing change, cultivating new connections, and discovering the endless possibilities that lie ahead.
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