Preparation and application process
After submitting all relevant documents ( letter of motivation, etc.) in the course planned by OLAT at the Koblenz University of Applied Sciences, I received the information some time later that I had been nominated for the semester abroad. Language certificates that are accepted by Dublin Business School are the DAAD test and the TOEFL test offered by the university.
In the next step, I turned to MicroEDU, for the further application process at Dublin Business School (DBS). MicroEDU is an organization that has concluded cooperation agreements with universities abroad and officially represents them in Germany. The application assistance is therefore free of charge for students. After MicroEDU had given me all the relevant documents and sent them to you, DBS quickly gave me the approval. MicroEDU also helps with questions about renting accommodation and provides contacts who have already visited the DBS. After transferring the tuition fees and verifying all the required documents, the DBS sent me the data for the introductory event, which does not necessarily have to be attended, which is still advisable. Depending on the choice of courses or certificates, the tuition fees are of course different.
The MicroEDU staff were extremely helpful and friendly and supported my application process perfectly. This also applies to the DBS employees, who always answered questions in a friendly manner. The responsible colleague from MicroEDU also inquired during and after the semester whether everything was going to my satisfaction. In order to have an application process that is as symptom-free as possible, I recommend consulting every MicroEDU!
Accommodation and arrival
The accommodation Search for Dublin turned out to be relatively difficult and expensive as Ireland and especially Dublin in a “Housing Crisis” infected and can not build enough accommodation annually for the population masses.
I looked for a place to stay relatively early in order to save as much money as possible – which didn’t really work. Platforms like daft.ie are overcrowded with people who want to get money out of your pocket with deposits. Ultimately, I found a single room through ISA Accommodation, which also accept shorter visiting times, apart from the student residences, which usually have a minimum rental period of 54 weeks. There are also deviations there, however, as some of my fellow students have found a place to stay there through the DBS.
The price must be calculated between 550 € – 1200 € per month, which depends on the standard of each person. Double rooms are available from 550 €, some single rooms from 750 € which, like mine, were relatively far away.
After arriving at the airport, I was brought to my accommodation by a driver from ISA Accommodation, which was an additional cost. The flight itself cost around € 100 for a one-way flight from Cologne with luggage. The earlier you book, the cheaper the flight will of course be. Since I only wanted to book my flight after I had secure accommodation, I unfortunately had to dig a little deeper into my pocket. Once at the accommodation, some rules were clarified and apps were exchanged to make it easier to find your way around Dublin. Recommended apps are above all “Dublin Bus, Journey Planner and myTaxi”, especially if you have to take the bus or Luas to the university every day. At almost every stop there is a digital display showing the respective bus route and arrival time.
The bus drivers only stop when someone extends their arm in a nice and friendly way. The payment method for buses and Luas takes some getting used to at first. It makes sense to get a Leap Card after you have received your DBS student card. This is best applied for at the main office on O’Connell Street, as I did, or at Trinity College, which is relatively close to the DBS.
The one-time creation of the Leap Card takes a maximum of 30 minutes and costs € 10 processing fee. The card can then be topped up with money at the same location or with the associated app. The card has a limit of € 5 per day and € 20 per week for bus journeys.
I cannot recommend paying the bus ticket in cash, but it is unavoidable at first. If this is the case, it is advisable to always have a lot of change with you, because the bus drivers do not give change. However, you have the option of adding a credit to the ticket, which can be redeemed at the main branch, but this is never done. Not even with a € 10 note if the ticket costs just under € 3.
The Journey Planner (TFI) is particularly recommended for excursions, as it shows the duration, changes and the amount of money.
Dublin Business School
The DBS has around 9000 national and international students and is a private college in Dublin.
There is not really a campus, rather the DBS consists of several buildings, which are distributed directly in the city center. The library is located in the building on Aungier Street, where group rooms can be booked and copies can be made. All documents uploaded to the Moodle e-learning platform can be printed out free of charge. To do this, the student card must be registered once on a printer. The print job can be conveniently sent from anywhere and remains in the queue for up to four hours. In addition to normal books, there is also an online library that can be used free of charge.
Coming from Germany, the DBS system initially took some getting used to. In the event of problems, however, the DBS employees were available at any time. The main point of contact for this is the support desk on the 2nd floor of the Castle House.
The purpose of the introductory event was to get his student card and to get additional information about the DBS and its regulations. Basically, it can be said that one hour of lectures usually only lasts 45 minutes, as the buildings often have to be changed. Which does not mean that less learning material is covered. Depending on the field of study, however, you are often in the same buildings. You get used to being able to enjoy the Irish weather between lectures relatively quickly.
I decided on the certificate in sales during the semester abroad. The professors were all very positive and put a lot of emphasis on a personal level. The size of the courses varies greatly, but on average there were always around 20 people in a course. Unfortunately, not many different nationalities were represented in the courses, which was probably due to the fact that I had chosen the prefabricated certificate for sales. The courses consisted mainly of German or French people, with only a few exceptions other nationalities were represented. If it is important to you to improve your English, you should look out for other courses that are not offered in the certificates.
The examinations for exchange students depend on the courses chosen. In principle, I had to write an assignment in each module, which made up around 50 percent of the grade, and at the end of the semester I had to write another exam or give presentations. It was unfortunate that both assignments and exams coincided towards the end of December. Accordingly, it is advisable to complete the assignments, which often have to be completed in groups, early in order to have a little more time to study the exams. Unfortunately, there is no lecture-free time right before the exams, but there is a reading week in the middle of the semester, which many use to travel or to fly home for a week.
The grading system is also different than in Germany. The grade is always given as a percentage. It took getting used to that you fail if you reach less than 40%. The best grade is 70% and not 100% as expected. However, there are certainly differences between the universities and colleges that are connected to the DBS.
Offers from DBS
The Student Experience Team is available for all students. The office is on the 4th floor of the Castle House. They are responsible for ensuring that the stay abroad is as successful as possible for all students. To do this, they organize some events at which DBS students get a discount. Everywhere in the buildings there are information boards with different activities, which are divided into weeks. These can be easily scanned and booked using a QR code on your mobile phone. Some of them are free, others cost a little money, which is very limited. Of course, there are also larger events over several days, which accordingly cost more money.
One of the biggest events was a surf weekend, relatively far north of Ireland. In addition to surfing, other activities were planned there for the evening and during the day.
If everyday student life is not enough for you, there is a large number of societies on offer, which will introduce themselves during the semester. Anyone who wants to pursue a certain sport, or who is already pursuing and wanting to continue, should find out in advance whether it is offered. But societies for music or business are offered to exchange ideas among equally enthusiastic people.
Living in Dublin
Dublin, with around 500,000 inhabitants, is a capital and economic metropolis that is very easy to travel to either on foot or by public transport. The city’s international character ensures a lot of variety, which is why there is a shop for almost every culture in which local food can be bought.
However, Dublin is internationally known for its unique pub culture and live music. The most famous and most expensive area is Temple Bar, where the DBS is located. Accordingly, after the lectures there are more than enough opportunities to deepen the knowledge you have learned with your fellow students over a Guinness (try Dicey’s Garden for lower prices). In addition, there is hardly a day in Dublin that you don’t see street musicians or you have to do without good live music in the bars.
To better experience the actual national drink from Ireland (Guinness), we recommend taking a tour of the Guinness Storehouse. There the story is told over several floors and you can tap a Guinness yourself on the top floor and enjoy a 360 ° view.
The previously mentioned Temple Bar district is unfortunately very touristy, which is why the prices there are rising steadily. It is recommended to look further south for pubs. These are mostly very quaint and lively, but not full of tourists.
As mentioned before, rents in Dublin are very expensive, which is unfortunately not the only thing. It is therefore advisable to go to discounters such as Aldi or Lidl for groceries that are also more expensive than in Germany. Often Tesco is also a good alternative, because there are often special offers there. Grafton Street and Henry Street offer general shopping opportunities, where everything your heart desires can be found.
So that your stay in Dublin does not turn out to be a disaster, you should always be prepared for rain. The weather changes relatively quickly. An umbrella is not recommended as the winds are usually relatively strong. A good rain jacket is sufficient, it doesn’t take up much space and can be taken anywhere.
The Irish mentality is also worth mentioning. Irish are fundamentally very communicative and always friendly, even to strangers. Unlike in Germany, there is more of a togetherness than opposition. What makes Dublin so charming in my eyes!
A few general tips to look out for in Dublin are:
- Irish people are very sociable and therefore come up to you quickly and start talking, just get involved because that will happen more often.
- Always keep an eye on valuables! If you stand at the traffic lights with your mobile phone, you have to expect it to be stolen by the next cyclist passing by.
- To get on the bus, wave to the bus driver.
- If you don’t have a Leap Card, always have the change for the bus ride with you. The bus drivers quickly get a little impatient if you only get the money out when you get on.
- Stops are not always announced. Download the aforementioned apps so you don’t miss your stop.
- You thank the bus driver when you get out.
Travel destinations in Ireland
Ireland has some very nice travel destinations. Many of them are related to landscapes or old castles, but there is also a lot of history to see in the cities. Classic travel destinations are of course the Cliffs of Moher, which are good to see within a day tour. There are a number of local organizations that offer different services. As a highlight, I recommend taking a boat tour in front of the Cliffs of Moher, which cost me € 15 extra, but was also a lot more impressive than just seeing the cliffs from above.
Another classic travel destination is the Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland. With Brexit approaching, however, this could possibly be more difficult to reach from Ireland than before. Here, too, a day tour by bus from Dublin can be booked very easily. The tour is often combined with other highlights. These include some Game of Thrones filming locations or the Carrick-a-Rede rope suspension bridge.
Relatively close to Dublin, the DBS offers a tour to the Wicklow Mountains National Park, which offers a hike through the Glendalough Valley. The hike is not too difficult, but still offers beautiful views, especially when the weather is nice.
In Dublin itself, many museums offer the opportunity to visit without admission. Galway is also highly recommended as a city and offers a different atmosphere compared to Dublin.
Dublin as the capital of Ireland has a certain charm that in no way corresponds to that of a classic big city like in Germany. The semester abroad in Ireland and especially at the DBS was a big win for me.If I had to decide on a master’s program, I would probably do it in the DBS. The many nationalities that come together in Dublin have sharpened my intercultural skills and perceptions very much. Having Italian and Mexican roommates made me understand not only the Irish culture, but also that of my roommates. I can recommend everyone to look for a flat share where many cultures are represented. This also offers travel destinations and hospitality in other countries for the future, where one has always wanted to go on vacation. Read more student reviews on Act-test-centers.
The open and friendly nature of the people of Ireland helped ensure that I never felt a stranger. In addition, the semester abroad not only contributed to improving my language skills, but also to which professional direction I would like to take in the future. The biggest gain, however, was the many new friendships that arose even in this short time of one semester. If you have the opportunity to study several consecutive semesters abroad, I would recommend everyone to do so at DBS.
The semester abroad at DBS not only offers the charm of an international capital, but also countless travel options, especially for nature lovers. All in all, I enjoyed the semester abroad so much that I can even imagine working in Dublin or at least spending several annual vacations on the little green island.