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Study In Ireland – Cost, Visa & My Personal Experience

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It was late 2017. I was in Bangladesh. I just finished my Bachelor in Marketing from a Dhaka based university. It was time to do my MSc.

If you know anything about Asians, you know that Ireland is in no way, a popular destination among us. Study in Ireland is not a big thing there. I can talk about Bangladesh (but it should be the same in South East Asia too), people prefer Canada, Australia, USA and UK over Ireland any day.

However, I preferred Ireland. There were my personal reasons, one being the ability to do a MSc in Digital Marketing Strategy. Most countries still do not offer that course and of course, Ireland has some of the best ranked universities in World.

Now that I am done studying and working in the Irish market, I think, I am knowledgeable enough to advise you on what you should do. Feel free to ask me anything related to study in Ireland and I will do my best to assist you.

Hi, I'm​ Khalid...

I travel the world and try to live a digital nomad life. Want premium goodies from me? For free?

Study Abroad Ireland – What to Study

I will put my entrepreneur and life coach hat on to advise you about this section. Study abroad in Ireland might be daunting and selecting the subject of your study might be difficult too. When you are selecting the topic of your studies, make sure that you see the bigger picture.

According to me, there’s only two factors that you should consider while deciding the topic of studying in Ireland (or anywhere else for that matter).

  • Do you LOVE the subject that you want to study
  • What does the future look like once you have that qualification in Ireland

Loving The Subject of What You Study

I don’t know if you knew this, but I am the first person in Bangladesh who did his MSc in Digital Marketing. Now, digital marketing itself is a new concept and that had a big role to play in me being the first one. But there’s another way to look at it.

As per my knowledge, there’s no real job market for digital marketers in Bangladesh. There are more opportunities for an engineer, a doctor, an MBA holder, an accountant or for any other common professions.

Why did I choose to do my masters in Digital Marketing then? It is simply because I love the topic. I have already built a successful six figure business in 2017 and when it was time to pursue a master’s degree, I couldn’t see me doing anything else.

I couldn’t care less about the job prospects or the career after I graduate. That has helped too.

Loving the subject of what you study is very important. You will find pretty much everything that you want to study in Ireland and good colleges will offer those courses.

Your task is to simply browse through thousands of courses that the colleges offer and select the one that you think you love the most. If you don’t find that one subject in Ireland, then studying in Ireland would not be wise for you.

What Does The Future Look Like

It was not important for me but it must be important for most of you. What’s the future look like for that particular subject you are going to study in Ireland?

From my experience, I can tell you that if it is anything related to IT, you are in a very safe country. Ireland’s IT scene is thriving and you will immediately get a job if you are good at your studies and have decent experience to show.

I don’t think anyone of my batch in 2018 had to wait for a job till the date of graduation. Of course, there will be a few exceptions who chose the wrong subject to study or ended up joining a hype. But on an average, an IT student (can be anything from engineering to data to security to even digital marketing to some extent) will get a job before the date of his/her official graduation in Ireland.

Now, that does not mean that if you are coming to Ireland for studying purposes, IT is the only subject that you should go for. It has to be something that you love. I know people who are doctors, marketers, accountants and are doing very well in Irish economy.

At the end, it has to be a combination of a subject you love + the future prospects. Irish Times published a study about STEM Graduates and their future prospects. Having a quick read might be a very good idea.

Also, you can always look at the Critical employment permit section to get an idea about the skills Irish government is looking for at a particular point. This is specially important if you want to live in Ireland after studying.

Study Cost in Ireland

Study cost in Ireland will vary wildly depending on the university/college you choose to go with. The general rule of thumb is that the higher the ranking, the more is the cost of that university/college. I did my MSc from Trinity College Dublin in 2017-2018 and it was 14,500 euros at that time for my masters.

The cost has increased since then and you can expect to pay anywhere between 8000 euros- 20,000 euros depending on the subject and of course, the institution.

It is very difficult for me to tell someone the cost of studying in Ireland as it varies based on a lot of factors. However, if you know what you want to study then you can easily get the cost from the university website.

Generally cost varies based on the ranking of that institution, the location (Dublin is more expensive) and the duration of your course.

One of my friends is doing his MSc in Marketing from University of Limerick and it is costing him about 10,000 euro and the same course costs about 16,500 euros in Trinity College Dublin or University College Dublin (UCD).

You get the idea, right?

Ireland Study Visa- What’s the Process Like

Alright, I will be telling you my story and it will be the same if you are in Asia or in a country that needs visa to enter Ireland.

Step 1: Find Your Course

I won’t talk about the same stuff again and again but finding your course is the first step. Try to stick to the top 10 colleges which will increase your chance of getting a job when you graduate. Select about 3 colleges to apply if you want to be safe. I applied for two (Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin). I got rejected from UCD and got accepted in TCD.

Step 2: Apply

Look at the application requirement of your particular course. It should be mentioned on the website of your desired program. If by any chance, you don’t see it, send an email to the college and they will always reply in 24-48 hours.

Read application requirements very carefully. Most non-English countries will require IELTS/TOEFL and a good academic score to enter into a college in Ireland. Work experience is always a plus.

This was my profile when I applied:

  • Bachelor in Business Administration (Marketing): CGPA 3.09
  • IELTS: 8.0
  • About 2 years of experience in founding and running a digital marketing agency

I had a very good profile for that particular course (Digital Marketing Strategy) but I am sure, I would get rejected if I applied for something regular. Know your strong points and apply accordingly. You can apply online for most colleges and the scan copy of all your documents will be good enough.

Step 3: Acceptance

You will receive the result of your application within a month (I received mine within 16 days). If you have been accepted, university will send you an offer letter via email or via their portal. They will also send you the payment request and all details you need to process the payment.

Remember, you need to pay your full course fee before you apply for the visa.

Take those documents and go to the bank, process the payment. Once the payment is processed, university will send you another letter confirming the payment. You will need it for visa purposes.

Step 4: Visa Application

You can apply for the visa on your own. It is a very simple and straight forward process. If you are going to an agency to process this application for you, I don’t think you are qualified enough to come to Ireland.

You need to visit this page to apply for an Irish visa. Fill out the whole form, print it out, then print all your documents. You will need your university offer letter, the payment acceptance letter, the IELTS result (original copy), your undergrad results (original certificates), and police clearance.

When you fill out the form, they will tell you what documents to submit at the last stage of the application. They will also tell you where to submit the information.

If you are in Bangladesh, you will have to send everything via DHL to Irish Embassy, New Delhi as we don’t have one in our country. Other than that, the process is the same for everyone.

Once you send all your documents to the embassy, your waiting phase begins.

It will take around 4-6 weeks for your visa to get processed. In my case, it took about 7 weeks but that was a busy time.

You should have about 3 months in hand when you are applying so if your class starts in September, you should apply around June.

If they need additional documents, they will email or call you so look out for those. Once the visa is given, the embassy will send your documents to the nearest VFS Center and you can take it from there. In my case, I had to collect it from Kolkata VFS.

The process is straight forward.

Once you get your visa, it is time to plan the journey. Book a ticket (as soon as possible as you will get better rates if you order early) and you know what to do afterward.

Ireland Post Study Work Visa

I will try to write a separate article about this topic but let me briefly tell you the current rules as I know, many of you only want to study abroad to migrate (I am not judging you). If you do a masters or a Phd in Ireland, you will get 2 years of visa to search for a job or to work full time.

Remember, you are only allowed to work 20 hours/week when you are a student. Once you graduate, you get about 24 months to either search for a job or work anywhere you want, full time. The name of this permission is 1G Stamp (G stands for graduates).

If you get a job in these 24 months on a field that is related to your study, you can apply for employment permit (you can apply yourself or your company can sponsor it for you, more details here). It costs 1000 euro and you get a 90% refund if they don’t approve your application. Once that’s processed, you can pretty much live and work in Ireland as many days as you want.

You can apply for a citizenship after working for 5 years (continuously) if you are interested in that.

A random day in Dublin (it is always gloomy)

Cost of Living in Ireland for Students

I got bad news for you. Ireland is one of the most expensive countries to live in. To be specific, Dublin is very expensive (I think it is the 2nd most expensive in Europe after Paris). Of course, you will be able to get your money back from the job market once you start working, but it is still a big investment.

I remember, I used to pay 650 euro/month for a small bedroom when I first came here. It was a beach side apartment. Ireland is beautiful though no matter where you live here. You will like the neighborhood.

I now live in central Dublin and I pay 800 euro for a small apartment. When my mom comes to visit me, I book an Airbnb and the cost is around 2000 euro/month for a 2 bedroom apartment.

If you decide to live in Ireland, you should buy a house and pay monthly mortgage rather than paying rent for a small place every month. I don’t think I will settle here (I miss Bangladesh) so I pay rent every month.

Rent is the biggest of all costs. I think you will not spend more than 80 euros/month on groceries and it will be pretty much the same for commute.

Unless you are a big spender and a party person, you should be able to live a moderate student live at around 800-1000 euro.

Part time jobs are available everywhere to help you get some of those living costs back.

Do I Recommend Studying In Ireland?

Should you study in Ireland? It is tough for me to recommend Ireland or any other country as I don’t know your exact situation. Ireland is one of the safest places on earth, the crime rate is negligible and people are super friendly. There’s dogs everywhere if you love them. Every day when I walk on street, I end up talking to random people.

Ireland is green, it is cold but not like Canada as it doesn’t snow all the time. Ireland is not very modern compared to New York if you are into the city culture. Of course, there’s every modern amenities available for you but the city sleeps within 10pm. There’s old buildings everywhere and people are far from being racist to someone from Bangladesh like me.

Ireland will always hold a special place in my heart even if I don’t end up living here.

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