In many countries studying abroad is considered as a milestone in someone’s academic history. A guarantee for a successful and stable career. Especially in 3rd world countries like mine, Pakistan. Every student after high-school or Bachelors layout a plan in front of their parents, defining every process and expenses, explaining their dream of studying abroad. Some students decide to go abroad out of their passion and some out of social pressure.
Everyone tells you about the results and fruitful outcome but nobody warns you about the hardships and shortcomings. And for some reason a song is playing in the back burner of my head, it is by Coldplay – The Scientist. The lyrics relating my story are “Nobody said it was easy, no one ever said it would be so hard, oh take me back to the start”. Anyway, emotionally some students get affected, not everyone but financial hardships are for those who do not belong to a financially strong and stable family and had to borrow money from relatives or a loan from the bank to fulfil their dream. Some students just ask their families to worry about the first semester’s fee or first year’s expenses, promising to handle the rest of the expenses on their own. But how? With all these queries and hopes, bagging the big dreams, the journey begins.
Every country has different rules for international students, different policies and procedures. In the Republic of Ireland however it is very complicated and seems very difficult and confusing for international students. On top of the list because of the weird accent and you just got unlucky there because you’re NON-EU. You won’t be granted any sort of stamp or registration under any category, that sticker you got on your passport? It just allows you to enter Ireland and then they’ll see what to do with you.
At the airport, the immigration officer will check your documents as if you are a culprit, but that’s just the policy so cooperate. After seeing all your documents and asking a million questions they’ll grant you visa for 3 months and guide you to go to the immigration office and get yourself registered etc. Well, not guide actually. They’ll just tell you to do so. And bam, first bummer!! You need to have your student ID, bank account, proof of address, debit/credit card with 300 EUR, medical cover/health insurance for immigration appointment. Above all, you need to breathe first. Because this journey has just begun.