Filipa Gonçalves is a Portuguese Erasmus student at University of Limerick, Ireland. Her, she shares her top tips for studying abroad in Limerick!
Hey, everyone! My name is Filipa and the handsome lad in my hands is Jubileu, my travelling companion.
I come from Portugal, a tiny warm country by the sea with great weather (that’s what we are mainly known for, honestly. Oh, and Cristiano Ronaldo, of course, the best football player in the world!).
I decided to become an International Student Ambassador because of this blog. When I was doing my research about the University of Limerick (UL) and Ireland, I found the blog entries here really useful and interesting! My contribution to this blog will be very random, just like me ahahah, but hopefully it will help someone else before they travel to this beautiful country! I’ll essentially be writing about the beautiful places Jubileu and I visit, as well as giving some tips, which is what this entry is about.
Tip 1 – Getting to UL!
UL is located just outside of Limerick, in Castletroy. Even though it’s not really inside the city, it’s still not that hard to get here!
If you can get a plane to the Shannon Airport, which is the closest airport to UL, you won’t need to spend any money on buses or trains – UL offers a free pick-up service during the first few arrival days.
However, if you can only get a plane to Dublin Airport (like me), it’s a little more complicated. I recommend catching the bus, since it’s cheaper than the train and it gets you to UL in less than 3 hours. I caught the 726 bus from dublincoach at the airport, Zone 16. I got off at LUAS Red Cow, the first stop. There, I caught the 300 bus and got off at the Limerick (UL) stop, in front of Stables (one of UL’s pubs you most certainly will love to visit 😉 ). It cost me 15 euros in total, which is really cheap for the distance we ride!
Tip 2 – Grocery Shopping!
Compared to Portugal, Ireland is expensive when it comes to food and drinks, so finding the best deals was important for me since the beginning.
There are 4 places where you can shop that are fairly close to UL: Spar (you actually have one inside UL, at the Student Centre), Aldi, Lidl and Supervalu. I usually go to Aldi or Lidl because I find Spar to be a little more expensive than those two, but when I really need something and I don’t have a lot of time, Spar is the best option!
For fresh bread and pastries, the best one is definitely Lidl – they have a delicious and varied selection.
At Aldi you can get nearly everything you need, so it’s just a matter of what is closer to you – Aldi or Lidl.
Supervalu has the most varied selection of meat and fish from the 3, as well as a fairly big section of frozen foods. This store is right in front of Lidl, so you can kill two birds with one stone!
In the Limerick city centre, you have Tesco, which is the biggest supermarket I have come across so far in Ireland. It has a little bit of everything, like our Jumbo or Continente in Portugal. When you go to the city centre, I’d recommend you pass by and get some things you don’t find in Castletroy – it’s on Arthur’s Quay.
Tip 3 – Join at least one club or society – get involved!
I don’t know what it’s like where you come from, but in Portugal we have very few clubs and societies in our universities. The fact that UL has over 70 clubs and societies was one of the reasons why I chose to come here.
Choosing only 3 clubs/societies to join was the hardest thing I had to do so far, I wanted to join everything! I ended up joining the Badminton Club, the Outdoors Pursuits Club (OPC) and the International Society, because sadly I didn’t feel like I had time for more. I chose Badminton because I used to play back home and I really love the sport. The International Society was an easy choice for me, because they organise a lot of trips throughout the semester to help us get to know as much of Ireland as we can! Finally, I chose the OPC because they have a wide variety of sports and activities we can do related to nature – hiking, mountaineering, rock climbing, orienteering and caving. They also organise a lot of trips, having one trip every Sunday throughout the semester.
I would really recommend you joining at least one club/society of this wide variety because it will help you not only meet a lot of different people, but it will also help you get involved and feel like you made the most of your time here. And it’s great craic, too!
That’s all I have for today, guys! I hope it was useful for at least one of the people that read this! If you have any questions or are struggling with anything related to your upcoming trip to this beautiful country, feel free to ask me 😀
Thanks to Filipa for sharing her tips with us! Check out University of Limerick
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