From September to December 2012 I did a semester abroad in beautiful Dublin. The time has passed far too quickly. I gained a lot of valuable experience, got to know great people and enjoyed the Irish open and fun-loving way of life to the full. The lectures at Dublin Business School were definitely an asset. In short: it was a wonderful time and I can only recommend Dublin to everyone to go abroad.
Dublin is one of the most livable cities that I have ever gotten to know. She is always on the move. Your energy is truly contagious. The Irish are such a warm, happy and personable people. Dublin is also very international and I’ve always found the city to be very tolerant. I never really felt like a stranger for a day. The atmosphere is very special. Oases of calm are hardly to be found, but for a “city dweller” like me there was nothing more relaxing than simply being driven by the hustle and bustle through the city center – from one city musician or artist to another. During the Christmas season in particular, Dublin is a single, shining sea of lights. Despite its big city hustle and bustle, the city is quite manageable and within the center everything can be easily reached on foot. In the streets with their numerous pubs and restaurants, people actually party every evening – mostly with a freshly tapped Guinness, the island’s national drink. Live music can be heard from almost every lively pub. On nice days, you can take a walk along the Liffey. The river roughly divides the city into north and south. Dublin is right by the sea and within about 30 minutes with the S-Bahn you are already on a beautiful cliff and the first beaches. Visit educationvv.com to get information about Riga Stradins University student exchange program.
The best neighborhoods are definitely on the south side of the city. Rooms in student dormitories can be reserved in advance. However, these are not recommended. They are usually much more expensive than privately rented rooms and, moreover, are often in poor locations. The location of the Herberton in particular is not recommended, even if the apartments are very nice and modern. The house should not be left there at night. I myself looked for a room on site, which ultimately turned out to be the best solution. On daft.ie and rent.ie, new apartments and rooms in shared flats are offered every day. The important thing here is that finding a flat in Dublin is a very quick and short-term affair. Most of the rooms are rented out immediately and not, as in many German cities, offered one to two months in advance. I came several times for viewing appointments, where I was then unfortunately informed that the room was already rented. First come, first served. If you have interesting offers you should call immediately (emails are seldom answered) and the best thing to do is to offer to drop by immediately. If you like the apartment, you should agree immediately before someone else does. However, when looking for a private apartment, you should also be aware that rents are generally very high. In the end I shared a room and still paid around 450 € a month. However, I had a very nice and large apartment with a large living area and roof terrace in the middle of the city center. In general, one can say that all of us apartment hunters in the hostel ultimately found an apartment within 2-4 days. Even if the search on site can be very depressing at first and you get to see a lot of very bad rooms, it is worth it – especially if you value security and a central location, which is not the case with any of the dormitories I know.
Introductory days and language course
My stay abroad at Dublin Business School began with a free 2-week English preparation course in early September. The course offered an optimal acclimatization phase, which I used intensively for looking for an apartment, first excursions, sightseeing and primarily for making first contacts and friendships. I found it very pleasant to have two weeks of transition before committing to the real lectures. So I was able to orientate myself very well and get to know the business school and its structures. The English course took place twice a week, half a day and twice a day, in groups of around 20 people. It included pure language units as well as courses on Irish culture and history. I found the latter to be particularly interesting and helpful. The English teachers were rated differently. I was thoroughly satisfied with mine, even if he expected a lot from us from the start and we had to give presentations and hand in small papers in the first week. Parallel to the language courses, the Dublin Business School also offered useful information events on IT, library use, leisure activities and a city tour.
Dublin Business School (DBS)
Dublin Business School has a total of five locations in downtown Dublin, all of which are within easy walking distance. It has two libraries and a small canteen. The organization left something to be desired and, especially at the beginning, the entire organization of the international students seemed to sink into chaos. However, everything was finally resolved within the first few weeks, and above all, the DBS employees were always friendly, had an open ear and all took a lot of time to deal with all of our concerns regarding course selection, performance certificates, etc. In general, the relationship between students, lecturers and DBS employees is very direct, open and very cordial. I particularly liked the relaxed and practice-related design of the lectures. The course sizes are very pleasant, but vary depending on the degree program. I had to take courses from a wide variety of master’s degrees and so I sat in courses with only 6-9 students as well as in an MBA course with a good 30 students. The participants, especially in the master’s programs, are very international. Unfortunately, I hardly had any Irish fellow students as a result, but I got to know people from all over the world. The exams at DBS usually don’t take place until January, but for us exchange students, alternative certificates of achievement were found in all cases, so that we were able to finish our semester before Christmas. In addition to the academic offer, the DBS has offered some interesting day trips free of charge for international students.
The range of courses in the Masters and Business areas is quite large. A big advantage of the DBS is that it enables you to take courses from a wide variety of master’s programs. I have taken a total of four courses from four different degree programs, which is by no means possible at all universities. The disadvantage here is, of course, that you have different fellow students in each course, so getting to know everyone intensively is almost impossible. On the other hand, my everyday study life was very varied. I attended the ‘Consumer Buyer Behavior’ course in the Marketing Master, in the Human Resource Master ‘HR in a changing world’, in the MBA ‘Strategic Management’ and in the Master Business Studies ‘Information Management’. My lecturers all came straight from the business world. As a result, in my opinion, some were a little too little prepared and could have used the lecture period a little more intensively and filled it with more content. But this also varied from lecturer to lecturer.
Cost of living
There is no other way to put it: Dublin is expensive. Not only is the rent above the average in most German cities, but groceries are also a lot more expensive. Small supermarkets like Spar or Centra have German petrol station prices. Somewhat cheaper but still more expensive than German supermarkets are Dunnes and Tesco. As in Germany, the discounters Aldi and Lidl are the cheapest. However, the prices for most products are also above German discount prices here. A drink in the pub costs around € 5. Clothing and public transport, on the other hand, are similarly expensive compared to Germany. A ride with the S-Bahn to the sea costs around 3 €. For day trips you pay around 40-60 €. With a student travel card you can get over 60% discount on bus and train rides on the island. Telephoning is also quite cheap. I recommend the Tesco Mobile International Sim Card. It is free of charge and you only pay an unbeatable 1ct per minute for calls to European landlines. When you top up, you always get the same amount for national calls. In general, it makes a lot of sense to always have your student ID on hand. In Dublin’s largest cinema, the Savoi, students pay only € 4 per show on Thursdays. Theaters, museums and many other events also offer student discounts.