Brazilian student experience studying and living in Ireland
Larissa and Thiago, Brazilian students studying English with Babel Academy, speak about their experience travelling to and living in Ireland. They also offer some useful advice for fellow Brazilians thinking of embarking on their own language learning adventure.
How did your journey start?
Thiago: At first we thought about going to the USA but we changed our minds because getting the visa was too difficult. We searched for another country like Ireland.
Why did you choose Ireland?
Larissa: The price and the visa process looked good. To go to other countries, you need to get your visa in Brazil. For Ireland, you can have a tourist visa first then you can get the work-study permission when you are here.
Did you find the visa process an easy process?
Larissa: It was easy but you have to be organised. You need to plan and book your appointment with the immigration authorities in time.
Before you came, did you know anything about Ireland?
Thiago: Yes, we spoke with friends who lived here for 2 years. They talked a lot about the visa, the rules and the work, they gave us advice – on the weather too! We were lucky because we had friends who gave us a good idea of what to expect.
What do you think students coming to Ireland should bring with them?
Thiago: Students should know what documents they need for immigration authorities. The weather also is very different, don’t bring your jackets from Brazil - buy them here.
Any advice on finding accommodation, looking for a job etc.?
Larissa: For accommodation there are a lot of groups on Facebook. Don’t search for accommodation in Brazil, it’s easier when you are in Ireland because you need to go and see the house. You need a minimum of 2 weeks to find accommodation.
Thiago: It’s also important to take the first week to find where the school is, understand the bus system and where to go. You can start your English course in the second week.
Larissa: For example, on our first day we got lost! We didn’t have an Irish sim card, so we didn’t have internet to find the school. But some friendly people helped us and we found our way.
Thiago: Another piece of advice is to put a change of clothes in your cabin bag in case you have any problems with your checked in suitcase. This happened to us!
What is the biggest difference between Ireland and Brazil?
Larissa: Everything is different. The people are very different – they understand tourists here. For example, when you ask for help in the street, they always help because they know we are not from here.
Thiago: The traffic is also different. You have to be careful as cars drive on the other side of the road, in the other direction.
How did you feel when you first arrived in Ireland? Happy, excited, sad?
Thiago: We felt everything together. At the first moment you feel happy and excited because everything is new, but you also feel afraid because everything is new. But it’s such a good experience in your life, the best experience. You grow when you are here. You become more independent.
Tell me more about why has this been ‘the best experience’?
Larissa: In Brazil life is easy because it’s your language and you know where to go. Here you need to understand another language – it feels like you are born again almost! You become stronger because you must do everything by yourself. For example, in Brazil my mum does everything (she laughs). Now every day is a new challenge, a good and exciting challenge.
Thiago: I think the same, you need to improve your mind, your language – you have to give yourself confidence. For us it’s easier because we are together, alone it’s probably more difficult.
What kind of supports are there for students like you? Do you know of any good websites for students coming to Ireland?
Larissa: I used www.daft.ie for accommodation. The Dublin Bus phone App also saved my life. It’s very useful to know what bus to take. Another useful website for transport is www.moovit.com – they give all public transport options.
Anything else you would like to add to finish?
Thiago: Yes, come to Ireland, this country is unbelievable… and come to Babel Academy!
Thanks Larissa and Thiago!
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