Information on Ireland Student Visa

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Information on Ireland Student Visa

The Irish have always had a very high regard for education. In the absence of mineral or other natural resources, or of wealth gained through colonial conquest, the key to wealth for Ireland is through its people and their knowledge and skills. Education and training have been seen always as key to success and wealth.

Irish universities and colleges have always welcomed and valued their international students. They know the importance of having a good international mix of students and staff and are committed to increasing their international student and staff numbers in the coming years.

How much does it cost to be a student in Ireland?

Every year there are several estimates published which give an indication of how much it costs to be a student for one academic year (nine months) in Ireland.

Figures for Dublin range between EUR 11,700 and EUR 15,250, depending on the type of accommodation you stay in. The estimates include rent, electricity, food, books and laundry and medicine as well as travel and social life expenses, but exclude tuition fees.

Rents and many prices are cheaper for those living outside of Dublin so lower overall costs can be expected than the figures given on this page.

 How much will I have to pay for accommodation?

Rent is likely to be your largest item of expenditure. On campus accommodation is in heavy demand, while accommodation rented from a private landlord is more available. The cheapest option may be living with a family, starting at around EUR 400 per month. Costs for rented accommodation for a single person begin at around EUR 500 per month and range upwards significantly for better locations and facilities. Sharing a flat or house with others may bring rent costs down to perhaps EUR 450-550 for your own room, halved if sharing. On campus accommodation is generally priced at around EUR 550-600 per month.

 How much will I have to spend on food?

For food, including some meals bought on campus or in cheaper restaurants, you will probably spend between EUR 70 - EUR 100 a week on these items.

 How much on average will I have to spend on transport?

The cost of an average journey on a bus in Dublin is about EUR 1.80 and will depend on the number of fare stages travelled. Exact money is needed - no change is given. Weekly and monthly Dublin Bus passes will save money for regular travel. They can be bought at a discounted price if you obtain a Student Travelcard.

Weather

What is Irish weather like?

Ireland's climate is invariably described as temperate. The weather is quite mild given Ireland's high latitude. The average number of wet days (with more than 1mm of rain recorded) ranges from around 150 days along the east and south-east coasts to about 225 days a year in parts of the west.

Temperatures rarely fall below freezing point in winter but can sometimes feel that way due to easterly winds. Irish summers may be considered good if the temperature rises above 16 degrees Celsius, though some parts of the country routinely have higher temperatures and 30 degrees is not unheard of.

Irish weather can seem harsh to students who come from a warm climate. Dampness in winter can be a particular problem by making it seem even colder. Also, the wind is not as dry as in some other countries, so even a relatively modest shower combined with a cool, strong breeze can create an unpleasant driving rain.

 How should I prepare?

The best way to prepare for Irish weather is to make sure you have warm clothes which will protect you in all types of weather and to use layering - wearing T-shirts or shirts to which you can add sweaters, jackets and overcoats, depending on how cold it is.

You should have at least one waterproof coat and some strong shoes. Gloves, hats and scarves are also very effective in defeating the cold, as are thermal underwear.

Similarly, you should prepare for night time temperatures with warm blankets and bedding.

To study effectively, it is important to keep the rooms you work in warm enough. However, avoid raising temperatures too high - heating can be expensive and high indoor temperatures will make you feel even colder when you go out.

Accommodation

Students have a wide variety of accommodation to choose from, which falls into four broad types:

1.    On-campus accommodation: Campus accommodation is always in demand and it can be quite difficult to find. All universities have halls of residence, generally as apartments of 4 to 8 students, with a private bedroom and shared kitchen, living room and bathroom. The average price of a room in a student block or 'village' is EUR 550-600 per month. On campus accommodation must normally be paid in 2 instalments, in September and in February. In most campus accommodation, it is not possible to pay your rent on a monthly basis. You will usually have to pay a deposit of one month’s rent in advance, refunded when you leave. Utilities such as heating are usually extra, although several halls of residence include heat and electricity in their initial charge and deduct payment for usage in excess of the average allowed for from the deposit when you leave. It is important to check arrangements with your college.

2.    Long-term student hostel: This is another option with quite limited availability, but which can be quite flexible. You stay in a hostel with other students and your monthly rent provides for use of a communal living area and kitchen, along with a bedroom. Breakfast and sometimes dinner will be included in the rent, as are utility bills. Expect to pay around EUR 550.

3.    Accommodation with a family: You can live as a paying guest in an Irish home, where you have your own room with space to study, but otherwise share the house with the family. This is a popular option with students attending English Language Schools, especially for short courses, but is also an arrangement that works well for many further and higher education students. In Ireland, accommodation with a family is commonly known as living in “digs”. Normally, morning and evening meals will be provided but you will need to buy your own midday meal on campus or elsewhere. There are no extra charges for heat, light etc., and some of your laundry will be done. The average weekly charge is EUR 100 - EUR 150, and you may be expected to pay one month’s rent in advance and usually a deposit of one month’s rent.

4.    Private rented accommodation: The options here include renting a bed-sit, a flat/apartment or sharing a house. It is usually cheaper to share accommodation with others.

A bed-sit is essentially a single room unit with basic cooking facilities (a mini-kitchen area), a bed and some additional furniture. Toilet and bathroom facilities are generally shared with the other occupants of the building through there may be a self-contained shower. Costs run from €500-€750 per month and higher depending on accommodation quality and location.

A flat or apartment will offer a kitchen and living room (possibly combined), a bathroom and one or more bedrooms. Again, quality and cost varies. A compact one bedroom unit may cost little more than a bed-sit, while a three bedroom flat/apartment will cost in total from €1300-€2000 per month.

A house share with other people can be the cheapest, as bills are divided among more people. Unless you share a room to reduce costs, you can expect to pay from €450 to €550 per person per month. However, these figures vary greatly according to the quality of the accommodation and its location.

In all cases, rents are usually payable monthly and in advance. At the beginning of a letting period you pay a deposit of one month's rent, which will be refunded when you leave (provided you have not caused any damage to the premises). The normal length of a lease is 9 or 12 months, and it can be difficult to find anything shorter. If you break a lease without notice or if you do not adhere to the terms of the lease, you will lose your deposit. Notice of one month should be given before you leave the premises.

When considering accommodation off campus, you should try to find out how good the transport links will be to get to your classes and how much time you will need to commit to travelling. Also, be sure to budget for the additional costs, apart from rent, that you will face with each type of accommodation.

Living with a family may offer the lowest rent and include utility costs and some meals but you will need to budget for buying additional meals.

Setting yourself up in privately rented accommodation can be quite expensive and involve a number of up-front costs:

  • Deposits and connection charges for electricity and/or gas may have to be paid. There is also the option of setting up a direct debit from your bank account, from which the bill total will automatically be deducted each month. The deposit cost varies from EUR 150 upwards and is refundable, or offset against your bill.
  • You may have to supply your own bedding and maybe a few kitchen items, allow about EUR 150.
  • A TV licence costs EUR 160 a year for a colour television and is a legal requirement for any household with TV equipment.
  • If you choose to rent a television it will cost about EUR 12 - EUR 26 per month, depending on type. Television rental outlets are listed in the phone directory.
  • Cost of heat and light: EUR 40 - EUR140 a month, depending on the type of accommodation, the number of people sharing and the amount consumed.  If you are moving into an already occupied house, some of these costs will have been met and you may not have to pay out such a large sum.