Anyone who has spent time in Ireland- however briefly- will tell you that there is nowhere else like it on the planet. No exaggeration. Where else would you find such incredible culture and history, fantastic people, some of the best universities, and some of the best bars in the world? If you’re lucky enough to gain a place at university in Ireland and you’re travelling from overseas, you’re in for a treat. Now, where are you going to live?
While you may not know where to start, there’s no need to panic. We’ve pulled together some of your accommodation options when studying in Ireland, so that you can choose the location and style of housing that suits you. While getting organised ahead of time is advisable, it’s not the end of the world if you do happen to turn up in Ireland without anywhere to live. You’ll find that Irish university staff, and indeed locals more generally, are kind and helpful, and more than willing to point you in the right direction.
How about Halls?
There’s no doubt about it: halls of residence in Ireland are in demand. As Halls are a great option for first-year students, and as Ireland happens to be a hugely popular study destination, you may find some competition when you are looking at halls of residence. That said, as soon as you get your offer from your university if you make a big effort to contact the place and arrange for halls of residence, there is a very good chance you will receive one. If you are offered the chance to live in halls, jump at it! It’s a great chance to be sociable and comfortable while you settle into university. Can’t complain, right?
Just as in other universities around the world, the hall of residence in an Irish University is a great community to be part of. You will probably find a great opportunity to meet other students in a communal dining hall, hang out with them in the communal areas, and generally have a fantastic time getting to know Irish culture and the student way of life.
Be prepared for quite high prices in Irish halls of residence, they’re famous for that. But again, if it is your first year studying at university a halls of residence is quite possibly the very best option for you. You’ll feel welcomed, and it’s a great opportunity to find your feet as a student.
Maybe private rented accommodation?
You can also consider private accommodation that is off-campus. This is a good option for anyone who knows people or has friends at the university, which is why private accommodation is generally seen as the way forward after your first year. But if you’re in your first year it is still is a viable option, and the good news is that the university will have a list of quality landlords for you to look at. This means you have the reassurance of a university list that has vetted landlords in the local area.
Be aware that you may well be expected to lay down a deposit for private rented accommodation, and this can affect your finances considerably if you are not ready for it. Like most things as regards your preparations for university, it is all about planning.
How about a homestay?
The homestay option is a popular one, and involves a student moving in with a family. The university will usually again provide a list of good homestay options available to you, and it is worth considering, especially if you are looking for an experience that offers the comforts of family life.
You also gain the experience of living in Irish culture first hand. The family you live with will involve you in their daily lives, and generally help you become acclimatised to being away from home much quicker.
The best thing about university life if you are travelling in from overseas is the support you can find. Universities in Ireland are no different, and offer special international student support officers who can advise you and give support when you are looking for somewhere to stay. They are fully aware of the difficulties of studying abroad and have years of experience of dealing with them. Lean on them for support with issues like homesickness and finding a place to stay. They will be able to offer genuine and useful help.
Studying in Ireland is great fun for international students, and finding accommodation isn't as bad as it's cracked up to be. It is all about planning ahead and making sure you choose an option suited to your own personal requirements. So, all set? Get searching!