What Students Need to Know When They Get to Ireland
The day is nearly here! You have been offered your college place, your visa is approved and you have decided where to stay. Amazing!
With the heavy lifting out of the way, now is the time to learn about the smaller bits of the need-to-know information that will allow you to hit the ground running as soon as you touch down in Ireland.
As they say, it’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it! An essential part of your stay, health/medical insurance for international students is a must. If you are from the EU or European Economic Area (EEA) and attending a course of study, you are entitled to free hospital care as long as you have Form S1 (formerly E.109) with you.
To get this form, be sure to contact your home country’s health authority. They will be able to provide you with everything you need to acquire a European Health Insurance Card. Worth noting that this card must be obtained in your home country before departing.
If travelling from outside the EEA, you will require private insurance as per the Policy on Non-EEA Nationals outlined earlier. This can often be handled under group schemes via your university or college of choice. Otherwise, you will need to pursue your own individual insurance. Do note that health insurance with an Irish provider can only be arranged once you are living in Ireland.
There are a variety of providers here in Ireland that international students can avail of. Some of the most popular are typically:
You can also enter your own personal details and compare various plans on The Health Insurance Authority website.
So, let’s get into one of the most important things that you’re going to notice every day – the weather!
Generally speaking, Ireland is pretty mild all year round, rarely will you encounter any crazy weather or extreme temperatures. If you’re arriving at the beginning of the academic year, that being August or September, you can expect to catch the end of the summer with temperatures in and around 14°C. As we move into winter, it can drop anywhere down to around 4°C, but rarely will it stay that low.
Despite the pretty mild climate, rainfall is very common – so do be sure to pack appropriately! Otherwise, you will most definitely be spending some of your budget on a rain jacket soon after your arrival.
Getting around Dublin (and Ireland) is made especially easy thanks to the relatively small size of the island. In the capital, Dublin Bus, the LUAS (tram) or DART (rail) will be the best methods of moving around.
The Dublin Bus website should be your first stop to see what routes are available near both your accommodation and college.
While Dublin Bus is confined mostly to the capital, it has a very thorough network of routes that interlink with other modes of transport and make their way through all areas of the city and suburbs.
Dublin’s light-rail service, the LUAS operates across two lines on the North and South side of the city, and it also connects in the city centre now, too.
We love the LUAS to get around the city as it can be super-convenient. Especially if your stop is right along the line! You can see the full list of routes and maps here on LUAS’ website.
DART and Irish Rail
Starting up North in Malahide and heading all the way down to County Wicklow, the DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) is ideal for travelling along the coastline. Whether it be for a college commute or just to enjoy the seaside on a sunny day. The trains are also very regularly scheduled.
Iarnród Éireann (also called Irish Rail) is the larger commuter rail service that owns the DART. They provide plenty of other nationwide services that you can see on their website.
An essential item to keep in mind early in your travels is the Student Leap Card, it caps your weekly travel costs for Dublin Bus at €20, the LUAS at €20 and the DART at €27 – saving you plenty in the long run. The Transport For Ireland app allows you to top up your Leap Card through your phone and plan journeys all across Ireland across multiple licenced transport providers.
Phone & Internet
There are a host of networks and mobile phone operators in Ireland with a variety of bill-pay or pay-as-you-go plans. If you don’t want to part ways with your phone, student-friendly providers like 48, GoMo and Lycamobile offer plans starting as low as €10.99 per month for calls, texts and data. Just order your new SIM card and you’re ready to go!
Well, we think that’s pretty much it! The hard part is out of the way and you should be pretty well-equipped to start your journey of studying in Ireland.
While there are certainly quite a few hurdles to hop over and hoops to jump through in the process, we promise it will be worth it once you arrive! The Irish student culture is fantastic both in and out of the classroom. To keep your ear to the ground and be kept up to date once you arrive, you can follow us over on Facebook or Instagram.