Intern Abroad

Kategorie: ‘Dublin’

Working as a Foreign Language Assistant in Dublin

April 24th, 2024 | by
  • Master of Education
  • Ireland, Dublin
  • Colaiste Chilliain
  • 10/2023 – 03/2024

1. Application/Finding an internship
I first learned about the “Foreign Language Assistant” program through friends. The application process
was comprehensive but straight-forward and needed to be completed by January. It required submission
of a CV, Letter of Motivation, transcript of records, certificate of study, and a university report
(Hochschulgutachten) from a Professor (some documents needed to be submitted in English + German,
this varied according to your chosen destination country). The program encompassed numerous countries
with varying internship durations but Ireland, offering a placement of 6-8 months, resonated most with my
preferences. Moreover, Ireland was one of the very few destinations that allowed me to indicate preferences
according to the destination COUNTY. I could give three preferences and chose county Dublin as my first,
since I expected this would be the spot with the highest frequency of FLA placements (which turned out
true!). Following the initial application, I progressed to the second stage, receiving an invitation for an
interview with representatives of PAD in March. In May, I was then finally informed that I had been accepted
to the program, so I immediately applied for Erasmus funding and a break semester (Urlaubssemester). By
June 1st, I received my school assignment along with the instruction to contact the principal and introduce
myself immediately, since Ireland would be starting the summer holidays on June 2nd. I did as told and
received an answer on the same day.

2. Accomodation & Living expenses
I started looking for accommodation as soon as I got the notice, but I quickly discovered the harsh realities
of Dublin’s sky-high prices and housing issues. I searched platforms like and HostingPower which I
was told about by a former FLA. There were new offers daily on, but most were either extremely
expensive, seemed rather unpleasant or were labeled as “on a mon-fri basis”. Additionally, HostingPower
operates on a commission base, which means you pay a fee if you find accommodation through their
agency. However, the offers on HostingPower are always reviewed and approved of by their staff, so the
places are usually nicer than on I think it’s important to point out the following: almost all options
were rooms inside a family home – there were almost no student flat-shares (WGs), which I was a little
struck by, since Dublin is a rather large University city that houses a lot of students. So prepare yourself to
live with a “host” family. I came upon the question of whether to prioritize proximity to school or the city
center and initially decided on the latter, but the matter was decided FOR ME by the housing crisis itself,
leaving me little room for choice. I contacted countless ads for weeks but only two even replied in total.
Eventually, I managed to secure a room in a suburb/town through, that meant a good 50-minute bus
ride from the city and 25 minutes from school. Looking back I wouldn’t call this a problem since there were
so many buses that operated between my place and the city center which made going up to Dublin really
easy. However I still find the rent of 800€/month PLUS expenses like gas, electricity, and WiFi adding
another 100€/month very excessive for a room 50 mins from the city center. But this seems to be the reality
you have to face when moving to Dublin, most of the other FLAs had similar rents. My experience with my
landlady however was rather unpleasant. She acted welcoming at first but then later expected me to
basically disappear into thin air every time she was home. She would prefer if I could manage it so that she
“doesn’t really notice I’m there” (???) She gave me a list of time slots in which she’s not home and asked
me to please limit my time in the common rooms (e.g. to cook meals, do laundry, shower etc.) to those time
slots and to otherwise be quiet (she didn’t use those words directly, but that is what she expected). She
was downright delusional. It made the living situation really uncomfortable but in the end I managed to work
around her. This was just MY unlucky experience, other FLAs had great flats – I guess you can never know
if your pick was good until you live there a few weeks. There is no strategy to the housing matter, you just
need a little luck which I hope you will have!!
What you will have to acquaint yourself with is that Dublin in general is a rather expensive city. Still I would
say in hindsight that your salary plus your Erasmus grant will be enough. I didn’t really have to restrict
myself expenses or count every penny though I still tried to spend responsibly. I prioritized trips and
brunches/dinners over pubs and beers, but that is just my personal preference :). Also, a lot of museums
and galleries are free for students or at least discounted. The offers for students are great, so make sure
to look into that. Grocery shopping I mostly did at Lidl and Aldi which are the cheapest options. The Lidl+
App is a game changer when trying to save money, they have amazing offers, you just need the app. Tesco
and Dunnes are great for meal deals and offer a larger assortment. They also have saver options
(Clubcards), but you need an irish phone number to apply for those, I think. Public transport fares like
busses, the Luas (tram), and the Dart (train) are way cheaper if you have a student leap card. It’s an ID
card that you apply for online. You use it to pay public transport and top it up with money via an app. The
whole concept is brilliant if you ask me, there is even a weekly limit to your spendings, which means if you
reach that limit, you travel for free. Cosmetics (shampoo, make-up, moisturizers) and anything drugstore related are really expensive compared to Germany, so if possible, stack up on those at home. You prettymuch will not need cash anywhere, which I found to be really handy. Everything is paid by card, some
places don’t even take cash. My German debit card worked perfectly fine but I switched over to a Revolut
account (including a digital debit card) since I had to pay my rent via Revolut as well.

3. Everyday life/ the internship
I worked at an Irish secondary school on a 12h/week basis. The 12 hours were to be completed from
Monday – Thursday, Friday was a day off. All FLAs usually get either Monday or Friday off in order to be
able to take trips and explore the country. We were all very fond of this rule . So at school I attended 12
German lessons divided between two German teachers. The classes at my school were 60 minutes each,
but other schools also had 45 minute classes.
As a Foreign Language Assistant, my main task at school was to assist the teachers in their lessons. In my
case, this really meant “just assisting” in the beginning. I watched the lesson and helped students where
help was needed. Later on, I planned out little bits about German culture, geography, holidays. I reached
out to the teachers with my ideas, but to my surprise I often heard back “Oh that sounds lovely, but I’m
afraid we have such a tight schedule, maybe next class” or something along those lines. So all in all my
main tasks at school did not really include educating about German culture but rather just assisting and co-teaching stuff from the textbook.

I also did a lot of correcting class tests, vocab tests and homework
assignments, which I enjoyed a lot. Occasionally I did some one-on-one work with students who needed
some additional practice and I helped prepare the leaving cert students (Abiturjahrgang) for their final
exams in German. Looking back on my time, I can say that my role as Language Assistant was not very
well defined. On some occasions, the teachers didn’t seem to know how to make effective use of me and
my qualities. At the end of the day, I still believe that my work affected the students in a positive way and
made them realize that there can be fun in German class, but I would have preferred to be a little more
involved – especially because I expected this program to enable me to improve my own teaching skills /
lesson planning. However, the rather “small” workload (in my case!!!) enabled me to prioritize exploring the
country, which I’m definitely not mad about!
A major issue that I struggled quite a bit with was the language of interaction at school. Technically, Irish
the official language in Ireland but in reality, it is rarely used in day-to-day life. Only some regions on the
Westcoast (they are called Gaeltachts) actually speak Irish daily. The majority of Ireland’s people don’t
speak the language fluently. However, some schools in the greater Dublin Area made it their mission to
revive Irish as a spoken language and bring back some of the forgotten culture (which is an amazing
proposition!). Those Gaelscoils use Irish as the language of interaction and instruction, which means that
no English is spoken at any time by any person on the school grounds. Turns out, I was allocated to a
Gaelscoil. I don’t speak Irish. Sounds quite non-sensical, huh? Spoiler though: It all turned out fine and was
actually really interesting! Of course, the staff and students were all very considerate and always used
English when talking to me. However, there were still some things that I struggled with and made me feel
a bit lost at times. Interacting with my colleagues and just casually chatting in the staff room can be hard
when everyone around you is speaking a language you don’t understand. You can’t just casually drop into
a conversation you overheard with a “oh yeah, that exact thing happened in my class last Friday, too” or
“What is the name of that pub you’re talking about?”. This led to me not really feeling close to most of my
colleagues, I mostly talked to the German teachers I was assigned to. One of them was actually half
German half Irish, we got along really well and she didn’t speak Irish either, meaning her lessons were held
in English. My other teacher strictly spoke Irish during the German lessons which made me feel a bit left
out and awkward. My time at the school was challenging in some ways, but we made the best of it! I learnt
a lot about Irish culture and picked up some bits of Irish, which was fun!

4. Free time/tips
As I said, the FLA program is designed to give you the time and space to do travelling and exploring, which
is fantastic. Most of my weekends were spent with other FLAs in the Dublin Area, we planned a lot of
activities in Dublin and trips around the country. We went out for brunch, coffee and dinner a lot, most of
us not being heavy drinkers so we prioritized restaurants and cafés over pubs. Dublin offers uncountable
options. Just go strolling through town and every 2 minutes you’ll walk past a place that you’ll want to try.
Activity-wise I recommend checking out everything that is free (or discounted) for students: museums, art
galleries, markets. Free-walking-tours are a great way to get a first impression of the city’s must-see places
AND hidden gems. In general, Ireland’s nature and national parks are great for hiking. Sadly, most of the
spectacular hikes are not accessible via public transport, but renting a car to do a trip with some friends is
definitely worth it. Driving on the lest side might be intimidating at first, but you’ll get the hang of it in no
time! Keep in mind though that roads on the countryside can be very narrow and curvy and driving in the
city can be stressful. I recommend renting a car at the airport, since that is usually a little further outside of
the city. During the mid-term break (one week off school in November and February) we took a trip to
Scotland, which was a real highlight. Below you will find a list of recommendations

– Trips around the country
o Kilkenny – 2 hours from Dublin, cute small town, beautiful norman castle
o Galway – 4 hours from Dublin, west coast flair, very cute around Christmas time
o Cork – 3 hours from Dublin, great town & university
o Belfast – Northern Ireland, very pretty city
o Sligo – Sligo city is rather dull but it’s close to Strandhill, surfers paradise, great hiking
options in the whole county (e.g. Queen Maeves grave)
o Killarney + Ring of Kerry – great national park, amazing views, Paddywagon does a great
bus tour
o Wicklow Mountains

– Trips to other destinations
o Edinburgh + Glasgow – great cities
o Scottish highlands – amazing views

– To do in/around Dublin
o Howth cliff walk
o Bray + Bray head
o Malahide + castle
o EPIC Museum
o Craic Den Comedy Club
o Irish Film Institute (for movies)
o Brunch at “Joy of Cha”

5. Conclusion
To conclude: I would recommend doing the FLA program to anybody wanting to explore Ireland (or any
other country they offer). Working at a school and „teaching“ German will give you a whole new perspective
on your own language and it will benefit you in a lot of ways! The Erasmus+ internship grant will enable you
to make the most out of your time. This experience along with all the lovely people I met are now a part of
me that I never want to miss! Time spent abroad will always have some ups and downs, but you will gain
so much from every experience (positive AND negative)

Internship in Dublin

March 13th, 2024 | by
  • BA Teacher Training for Secondary and Comprehensive Schools (English and History)
  • Dublin, Ireland
  • UNICEF Ireland
  • 10/23 – 12/23

Internship Search / Application

I started looking for possible internships more than half a year before my planned stay abroad. Since I had completed my undergraduate degree, I thought I’d look for an internship at a school in Dublin, as it would be valuable experience as an aspiring teacher. Unfortunately, I received little to no response from the schools I contacted. So, I started looking for internship opportunities with well-known companies and organizations. I stumbled upon an unrelated job posting at UNICEF Ireland and got the idea to reach out and ask for an internship opportunity since there weren’t any current internships listed on their website. The UNICEF Head of Advocacy, who would later become my supervisor, responded to my inquiry and made it possible for me to intern at the UNICEF Ireland office in Dublin. While it did take long to find an internship, I’m glad I stayed consistent with my search and found an opportunity I knew I’d enjoy.

Accommodation & Living

Since I was interning at an office, I had to look for a place by myself. Finding accommodation in Ireland, and specifically in its capital, was a struggle. I wasn’t able to find anything suitable prior to my stay, as Ireland is currently dealing with a housing crisis, as well as due to my personal preferences. However, I did get a reply on the main property offerings website of Ireland and ended up arranging a video chat with a landlady. While the accommodation wasn’t a perfect fit due to time circumstances, the possibility to contact the landlady by phone was what ultimately helped me find a place in Dublin. I flew to Dublin a week before the scheduled stay with a parent, looked around, and viewed a couple of one-bedroom flats. I decided to call the landlady I had video chatted with and ask if there were any flats available. Thankfully, I received a positive answer and viewed the place within the same day. I rented a one-bedroom flat in a safe and quiet neighborhood south of Dublin. The rent in Ireland is extremely high and at times as high as 1600 Euros per month for my small room.

Everyday life / The internship

Some weeks during my stay abroad were monotonous, others were quite different and spontaneous. I got to attend different events and meetings for my internship, like the annual UNICEF charity lunch, which was a fancy lunch with many people from respectable companies who donate large amounts to causes through UNICEF. This was a different environment for me to be in and I was grateful for being invited despite being new to the office. Moreover, I spontaneously had to attend a conference by myself where I met lovely people with whom I got to spend time with at other charity events.

My main task during my internship was to help organize a workshop for teens on activism. I helped organize three workshops, two online and one in person. The online workshops lasted a week each, while the in-person workshops lasted just one day. I enjoyed being a part of something active and doing the work behind the scenes. This experience was highly beneficial for my degree as well because I got to speak in front of groups of teens and lead some of the activities from the workshop, something I will have to do on a daily basis in a few years.

Getting around and riding the bus was easy and cheap in comparison to Germany. The UNICEF office was a pleasant 20-minunte bus ride from the bus stop in front of my apartment building. In the office I was confronted with a yet very present work-from-home culture. Every day there were different group of people present. The space itself would not be able to handle the presence of all employees as it was relatively small with limited workspace, which was not what I expected from an office for an important organization like UNICEF. Nevertheless, it seemed to be just quite right for the staff. I was happy to be accompanied by another intern, with whom I occasionally spent my free time as well. In general, the people in the office are welcoming and interesting. It was definitely a pleasure to work alongside them.

My supervisor worked from home, so when I got to the office, I mostly worked on my own. I tried to be consistently in office everyday but later came to realize that there was no actual need to be at the office since everything was done on a computer anyway. Still, three days of the week I was at the office, the other two days I worked at the library. However, I participated in the online workshops from home.

Aside from helping to create the workshop, I was also involved in the Child Rights Schools project, an initiative that encourages schools to receive a banner from UNICEF that identifies their school as child rights recognizing schools. I attended a couple of meetings where I got to make a few small decisions and got to visit a Child Rights School in Dublin as well. It was fascinating to see and learn about other school systems, which helped me evaluate and compare the Irish school to German schools, seeing where the respective negatives and positive aspects are and to possibly apply the positive in a correct given situation.

Free time / Tips

Since I had a flexible daily schedule, I took advantage of it and explored Dublin bit by bit. Ireland’s capital is separated by the river Liffey. North Dublin is considered to be the poorer part, while the south is visually different and is home to Ireland’s most important government buildings. Dublin is also a very walkable city as well and has many beautiful parks. I especially enjoyed going for a stroll at sunset at the park that was just two minutes from my flat. Moreover, I found it fascinating to be so close to the sea. I enjoyed going on day trips to Howth, Bray and Greystones. The train ride is just half an hour, and the view is just terrific as the train passes by the sea. I recommend getting a Youth bus / train card, which allows you to travel around at a cheap price compared to the visitor’s card.

Moreover, I enjoyed exploring the city at my own pace, especially during the holiday spirit, and planning spontaneous outings. In terms of getting to know new people, got to know some interesting people at the charity events I attended and definitely made same life-long friends.


All in all, my three months spent abroad haven been unforgettable experience for me. Ireland is a great country to take your first independent steps in, as it is familiar enough like any other EU country but, of course, a new place to make great new memories. I was filled with a new energy from the friendly Irish people, which made my stay even more enjoyable than I had hoped. Despite the high rent, I can definitely see myself returning for work or further study or even just for a nice little summer stay, just to enjoy the sea with a bit more sun and less wind.

Research Stay in Dublin

January 19th, 2024 | by
  • Chemistry M.Sc.
  • Ireland, Dublin
  • University College Dublin
  • 11/2023 – 01/2024
  1. Application/Finding an internship

My experience in this department might be less useful, as I received an offer from my professor in Ireland, rather than looking for an internship myself. However, I have understood from the other visiting students there that finding an internship was not the hard part about planning their stay in Ireland – generally, they have researched the groups with topics aligning with their interests and applied directly to the head professors of those groups. Afterwards, the process ran smoothly through the school manager, who explained how I should sign as a visiting Erasmus student on the UCD website and I received a student number and card, testifying my status as a visiting student. That also meant I got access to all the facilities and privileges a student would.

  1. Accomodation & Living expenses

Finding accomodation might be the most difficult aspect of planning an internship in Ireland. Dublin suffers from a veritable housing crisis, which makes finding a place, especially for a short stay of under one year, extremely difficult. Aside from that, prices are high, and average around 900 to 1000 Euros a month if you don’t want to share a room. Probably one of the best options is finding a host and living in their house – not only is this option cheaper, but it also allows for deeper, personal connections with your host and the possibility of getting tips from them on the best things to visit/experience in Ireland.

This was, in fact, the option that I chose. I met my host through a previous Airbnb visit in Dublin and contacted her again for this internship. Airbnb is a safe option to find accomodation for a short-term stay, and I highly encourage you to reach out to Airbnb hosts and ask them whether they can offer longer stays. It’s a great opportunity, since you do not have to pay any deposit this way, and much more secure than many other apartment-finding websites. In fact, a fellow visiting student got scammed with his first apartment, so contacting your professor to check the validity of your apartment offer is something you should do if you have the chance to.

This entire segment might seem rather disheartening, but I assure you that the hassle is worth it. Apart from the housing expenses, which the Erasmus scholarship mostly covers, the other living expenses are very much comparable to Germany. ALDI and LIDL are readily available, and even the restaurants in the city center are very much affordable. Once you clear the hurdle of finding a place, the rest is smooth sailing.

  1. Everyday life/The internship

One cannot forget that Dublin is capital, and, as such, is accordingly crowded. Taking the bus at peak hours can mean your commute might be as long as two hours – thankfully, the universities are also aware of this conundrum, for which reason the PhD students start at 10 o’clock to avoid the insane morning rush. That also means, however, that your work is done around 18 o’clock, by which time you get to experience the city lit up for the night.

In my experience, everyday life is comfortable – the bus connections are fairly good and frequent, and a 90min bus ride totals up to one euro if you order the youth card online (note that it must be ordered to an Irish address). There’s something quite rewarding about watching the city from the upper level of a double decker, like you’re about to conquer the day or you’re being rewarded for your hard work. Supermarkets are always close by and offer a wide variety of semi-cooked meals that you can easily bring into work for lunch. All in all, the daily needs are met with no problem – provided that, of course, you don’t forget to bring a power outlet adaptor, just as you would if you were to visit UK.

The university staff at UCD and the students I came in contact with were another highlight of my stay in Dublin. They’ve all been exceedingly nice and friendly, and any question, whether personal or science-related, was met with a helpful response. In one word, I would describe the people as warm – as soon as my first day, lunch discussions drifted towards restaurant recommendations and folk stories, so it’s fair to say that I have felt accepted into the group very fast.

In fact, my entire research felt like a collaboration. There was a constant exchange of ideas with the other students, and they were always ready and happy to help. I must, however, note that the scientific department was in the middle of reorganizing, so some of the facilities were harder or slower to access.

Another thing to notice is the clear difference between a PhD in Germany versus Ireland. In Ireland, the PhD is a four-year endeavor and no more – you are considered a student, and as such have a contract for only these four years. Regardless of the results you’ve obtained or how much progress you’ve made, your project time is up after four years, and there’s not much pressure to publish scientific papers. This, I’ve come to understand, is a double-edged sword: on the one hand, the atmosphere is much more relaxed and much less competitive than other academic experiences I’ve had. On the other hand, there’s not a general drive to improve, which may shackle you down if you do not have the support of your professor.

  1. Free time/Tips

Dublin is truly a charming city. Just taking a walk through the city center reveals centuries of history in its layered architecture, from the Middle Ages to the beloved pubs and more modern bubble tea shops. It’s fascinating to experience – as soon as you step into the city, everything is red bricks and old, authentic facades. It might be one of the most beautiful capitals I’ve seen so far, and one that offers much to do in your free time.

If you’re inclined to visit museums, there’s no shortage to choose from. From Dublina, which explains the relationship between Dublin and Vikings, to The Little Museum of Dublin, which takes you on a time travel back to the Irish war of independence and, most importantly, the Whiskey Museum – Ireland is so culturally diverse that you have no chance of getting bored. There’s a particularly strong drinking culture in Ireland, so apart from the Whiskey Museum, which serves as an entrance guide, there are more Whiskey Distilleries to visit than you can count. I ended up at Teeling, and absolutely loved the tour and the complementary whiskey plus cocktail.

If there is one word often associated with Dublin, however, that is beer – they are more than proud of the Guinness Brewery, and it is worth a visit just for its impressive size if panoramic view from the top restaurant, even if you aren’t much of a beer enjoyer. If you are, however, you’re in luck, because Dublin is bustling with dozens of pubs, where you can enjoy a pint of beer while listening to live music and eating an Irish roast.

Another must is enjoying a cup of tea and a scone – it doesn’t matter where, because you’ll find them everywhere. Just like mince pies, these are remnants of the 800-year long British occupation. If you go to the port, Howth, you’ll be able to not only enjoy the amazing hikes, but also fresh fish and chips. Despite this strong British influence, Ireland is the very definition of a multicultural city – people from so many walks of life have settled here that you can find virtually any cuisine you’re craving, be it Japanese, Mexican, Greek, Korean or Italian.

Ireland is also known for its nature – if you rent a bike, it’s worth taking it outside of the city to see the beautiful landscape. If you don’t, however, you can still rent one in Phoenix Park, another must-visit on your list, if only to see the deer. You might have to search a little for them, and the park is extremely big, but definitely worth a visit.

  1. Conclusions

All in all, I would rate my experience at UCD, and in Dublin, in general, as positive. UCD was well-equipped from a scientific point of view, and depending on the research field that you want to deepen your understanding of, it might make a great experience to add to your resume. The people were very helpful, even though the general level of research-motivation was below what I was expecting.

The city itself was wonderful. I was lucky enough to be there around Christmas and enjoyed Dublin in all of its festive glory. The atmosphere pulls you right in, and it makes it easy to forget that you’re far away from home. The people were very warm and friendly, and I was lucky enough to have a pair of wonderful hosts that I would engage in many a conversation with. The openness to foreign visitors and the ease with which I was accommodate made it so that Dublin is now one of my favorite places in Europe, and I can’t wait to return as a tourist.

Research Internship in Dublin

October 20th, 2023 | by
  • Chemistry M.Sc
  • Ireland, Dublin
  • Trinity College Dublin (TCD), Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute (TBSI)
  • 04/2023 – 09/2023

Application and Preparation

I have thought about completing part of my studies abroad during my master’s degree in chemistry ever since the first semesters of my bachelor’s degree, and because Ireland has always been a very fascinating country to me that I have planned on visiting anyway, I chose Dublin as the place where I wanted to do a research internship. Additionally to the beautiful landscape and the friendly people I envisioned to encounter, Ireland has the advantage of being an English-speaking country with many excellent universities to choose from. During the master’s in chemistry at RWTH Aachen University, students are required to do several research internships in different groups and fields of chemistry, but we are free to select the location and the group, so I decided to do an internship in Ireland instead of a semester abroad where I have to take courses. Therefore, I began applying to different groups about six months before I wanted to start the internship, which is quite late in hindsight, and I would definitely recommend starting earlier. Unfortunately I had the experience that most professors did not answer when I directly applied with a CV and a letter of motivation via e‑mail, which is why I asked a professor from Aachen to help me out in this regard, and that ended up bei

The Trinity Biomedical Science Institute – my workplace.
© Hannah Höche

ng the solution to my problems. After finding a group where I could complete my research internship and agreeing on the duration of the internship and the topic I would be working on, I started applying for Erasmus funding and filling out all necessary documents like the Traineeship Certificate. In addition, I applied for a leave of absence during that semester, which has to be done during the registration period for the following semester.


Accommodation and Living Situation in Dublin

Before I start explaining how I found an apartment in Dublin, I want to mention that this city is very, very expensive compared to Aachen and it is a real struggle to find an accommodation, which I was aware of before moving to Dublin, but the rent and the general cost of living is even higher than I would have expected. I would recommend starting to look for an accommodation as soon as possible, since a lot of apartments and rooms are listed for up to a year in advance, so even though I was searching for apartments where I could move in in April 2023, I saw a lot of offers for the following year. I used the popular websites and, where you can also filter options like the number of rooms, the price or the duration of the rent. A lot of apartments and rooms can unfortunately only be rented for at least one year. I also looked up the location of the building I would be working in so I could find an accommodation reasonably near to be able to walk everywhere. In contrast to Germany, where you can use your semester ticket for public transportation, in Ireland you have to pay for every trip, but more on that later.

The Temple Bar.
© Hannah Höche

When finding a suitable apartment, I wrote to the landlord, but the reality is that they rarely answer, especially when the apartments have been uploaded to the websites for a few days. Therefore, I adapted my strategy and I searched for several times during a day to be able to immediately message the landlord when an apartment was uploaded – and I messaged a lot of people. It also helps to have a pre-written text where you only change the address. Sometimes they also offer online tours of the apartment, which is helpful when looking for apartments when still in Germany, but generally I had the experience that tours are in person. I also strongly advise to not just get an accommodation and transferring the money without having seen it and signing a contract, because there are rental scams in Dublin and even the websites of the different universities warn students to be careful. To be able to actually look for apartments and rooms, I would suggest to come to Ireland about one to two weeks before starting the internship or semester and then to actively go to apartment tours. I also prepared all the necessary documents so I could immediately express my interest in the accommodation. Generally, Dublin is divided into two areas by the river Liffey, and the south side is considered to be the “better” and safer area of Dublin. There are student accommodations, but they are also very expensive and generally hard to get, and my professor actually advised against trying to apply for the housing

Howth, a peninsular village and outer suburb of Dublin.
© Hannah Höche

program and instead look for apartments.


In addition to the high rent, groceries and other necessities are more expensive than in Germany, so definitely try to save up beforehand. The public transportation also has to be considered, but you can save some money by getting the so-called TFI Leap Card, or the Leap Card for young adults in particular (aged 19 to 23). Although you can get pretty much everywhere by bus or the Luas, especially busses tend to be late and unreliable (at least outside of the city center). In this context, it has to be mentioned that tickets for the busses have to be bought from the bus driver when not using the Leap Card, and only coins are accepted.

Furthermore, I suggest checking with your insurance company whether you are insured for a stay abroad. Regarding phone calls, I just used my existing contract, there was no need to get a new one. Getting Wi-Fi for the apartment was a bit more tricky, because most internet contracts are only for at least a year, so I had to get a “pay as you go contract”, where you pay a certain amount every four weeks before you can use the internet, and I also had to buy a mobile router for that. You generally do not need to carry cash in Ireland (except for the bus as mentioned above), debit cards are widely accepted – if not everywhere. A lot of people also use Revolut (or sometimes PayPal). What I highly recommend is getting a credit card, because a lot of the tours I booked or sights I wanted to see could only be paid using a credit card. The bus companies that are driving to the airport (like Dublin Express or Aircoach) also only accept a credit card.


The Internship

I can honestly say that my research internship was one of the best experiences I had so far in a group. My professor Mathias Senge was a wonderful mentor and supervisor, who gave me my own project to work on and I learned a lot of skills that are useful and transferrable to any lab I will be working in in the future. My work day usually began at 9 am and ended at 5 or 6 pm and consisted of synthesizing my target compounds and purifying them, as well as literature research and the usual lab work. We also had regular meetings where we either presented our own research or papers from the literature we found interesting and helpful. I even got the opportunity to visit a conference and present some of my work in the form of a scientific poster. My colleagues in the lab were all incredibly nice and welcoming and helped me with any questions and problems. As for the requirements of the internship, I had to give an introductory talk and a final presentation for both my professor in Dublin and the professor supervising my internship from RWTH Aachen University, and I had to turn in a research report. In addition, I had to write monthly progress reports, but that was expected from my professor in Dublin and may not be a general requirement.


Free Time and Tips for Ireland

A lot of the Irish people I met told me that I have not really experienced Ireland if I only visit Dublin, and I can absolutely confirm that, Nevertheless, I want to start with some of the sights of the capital that I really enjoyed. Some of the museums in Dublin (The Dead Zoo, The National Gallery, The Archaeological Museum) are free of charge and definitely worth a visit. There are also several beautiful parks (Phoenix Park, St. Stephen’s Green, …) to enjoy, as well as distilleries that offer tours and tastings. Of course the popular tourist attractions like the Dublin Castle, Christ Church Cathedral or the

The Giant’s Causeway.
© Hannah Höche

Guinness Storehouse are also to mention, but they do cost money. A stroll through Temple Bar and along the river Liffey is also nice and free of cost. One of my favorite things was a visit to the Kilmainham Gaol, where I learned a lot about the history of Ireland – but tickets are very limited, so plan a visit 28 days beforehand to be able to get one (although there are sometimes returned tickets you might be able to get spontaneously). Lastly, a visit to any pub is pretty much a requirement and a lot of them have live music on the weekends, which makes a trip even more enjoyable.


Ireland has to offer such a wide variety of landscapes and nature spots, it is difficult to pick only a few. Not far from Dublin and reachable by the DART are Howth and Bray, where you can enjoy Cliff Walks and hiking trails. In order to comfortably travel, I recommend either the Irish Rail, bus services or booking trips from the popular tour operators, whereby the latter are quite expensive. Travelling by train is fairly straightforward and discounted tickets for students (a Young Adult Leap Card is necessary) are offered. The tickets can be bought online, but they have to be printed at the ticket machines at the train station (e.g. Heuston Station). Cities like Cork, Waterford and Killarney are easily reached via the train. Also, as a tip when visiting Cork, a little trip to Cobh, a seaport town and the last departure point of the Titanic, is absolutely recommended.

Cobh, a seaport town on the south coast of County Cork.
© Hannah Höche

In general, trips to Galway and the Cliffs of Moher, Kilkenny, Glendalough or even to Belfast and the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland are an absolute highlight. The latter has to be one of the most beautiful spots I have seen, even though it is hard to pick a favorite. Even though a lot can be travelled by train or bus, some hiking trails or even cities and counties are unfortunately best reached by car.



I am incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to spend a whole semester abroad completing a research internship. Not only could I acquire skills and knowledge in the laboratory and grow as a person and chemist, I got to make wonderful friends and see and visit the most beautiful spots I could imagine. My research internship taught me to work independently on my own project, which is very helpful as a preparation for both my master’s thesis and my aspiration to do a PhD. The only negative aspect about my stay abroad is the cost of living in Dublin, which would probably not have been possible for me to pay if I would not have had savings. Otherwise, I think it is an incredible experience to spend some time in another country and get to know the culture, and I would of course recommend Ireland as I really enjoyed my time there.

Internship in Dublin

June 6th, 2023 | by
  • Applied Geography B.Sc.
  • Ireland, Dublin
  • University College Dublin
  • 11/2022 – 02/2023

Application and Preparations

I first started considering an internship abroad in spring 2023, roughly 10 months before I left. Looking back, this period turned out to be exactly the right amount of time to prepare. I decided to visit Ireland because I was curious about the culture and the landscape as well as the fact that besides German, I am only fluent in English. I got in contact with the international office of University college Dublin who advised me to simply reach out to a staff member whose work interested me. After securing the position I went on to apply for Erasmus funding. The next step after that was looking for accommodations which turned out to be very difficult, but more on that later.

The Internship itself

I was very nervous about my internship as I had never been alone abroad before and while I do study geology as a minor it is not my area of expertise. However, I am very happy that I decided to take the leap, as it turned out that I was greeted very kindly and got all the support I could have ever asked for. I got a research project to work on for the duration of my stay and plan to continue to foster the relationships that I have built.  A typical workday for me lasted from 9-5, and consisted of meetings with colleges to discuss results and exchange ideas, as well as working on my tasks in my shared office. Without going into too much detail, my project was mainly focused on the dynamics of sinkhole development at the dead sea in Jordan. Besides that however, I was also invited to join fieldtrips to beautiful beaches in the south of Dublin and help the PhD Students wherever I could.

Living in Dublin

Before coming to Dublin, I had heard people talk about the city being shockingly expensive, but I underestimated how much I would end up spending on basic necessities. In the last few years, Dublin has experienced a major housing crisis, leading to very few flats available and horrendous prices. A small room that’s barely furnished can easily cost you up to 1000 EURO a month, even if it is far out from the city centre. In addition to that, groceries are much more expensive than in Germany, which is important to keep in mind when planning finances ahead of time. Therefore, if you do not have savings or a sufficient income during your stay, it is really not possible to afford the city

During my stay, I have been told that I visited during the wrong time of the year a bunch of times, and I unfortunately must agree with that. While the windy weather didn’t fade my enthusiasm, the short dark days that tainted the city into a grey boring mush did. While Celtic influences in the city are hard to miss and Trinity College is stunning, it still feels like a typical European city that doesn’t really offer anything new. Good coffee is generally also somewhat hard to come by, but I strongly recommend paying Vice a visit for their specialty coffee.

When it comes to Public Transportation, applying online for a leap card can save you a lot of money. Generally, inside of Dublin the best form of transport is the bus. 90 Minutes and unlimited transfers will cost students only 1 EURO. Bus services are rather unreliable however, and as in every major city tend to be very cramped.

What I loved most, was Irelands open culture that made it easy to connect with my colleges and lead to the formation of great friendships. Drinks after work on a Friday are a common and welcoming occurrence in Dublin, so be prepared.

Conclusion and advice for other people seeking out adventures.

I would always recommend people to go on and move abroad, even if it is just for a short period of time. I meet great people and saw many new placed. Staying abroad while also working is a very intense period of time and can definitely be exhausting. Homesickness will most likely occur, but in the end the benefits overweight by far. I have been granted many opportunities during my stay that are extremely beneficial towards my career, and I am beyond grateful for that privilege.

Creating countless memories in Dublin, Ireland

March 31st, 2022 | by
  • Electrical Engineering and Information Technology, PhD
  • Dublin, Ireland
  • University College Dublin
  • 01.09.20221 – 28.02.2022


Preparation/Internship Search:

Since my early bachelor’s days, the prospect of studying abroad has been tempting and fascinating to me. However, during my undergraduate, I couldn’t find the right time to study abroad. With the start of my PhD at RWTH Aachen University, I approached my professor with the idea of a research visit. He liked the idea and initially suggested a research visit in the latter half of 2020. With the COVID-19 pandemic eventually bringing everything to a stand-still, we postponed further preparation to early 2021. Despite the still ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we went on with my professor getting in touch with a colleague of his at University College Dublin who works on similar topics as my chair back at RWTH Aachen University. The professor at University College Dublin was quickly convinced of such a research visit, mutually benefiting both institutions with the prospect of closer collaboration and exchange in the future. The general timeline was set from this point in time, and we entered the second stage of planning my visit. Luckily my stay as a visiting researcher was independent of any undergraduate curricular or requirements (e.g., proof of English, certain average GPA, etc.). Thus, the only thing that University College Dublin required was to fill out one form to register as a visiting researcher officially and have these documents signed by my professor. As such, any kind of tuition fees, which are common to be paid at Irish universities, were waived. At RWTH Aachen University, a little bit more preparation was involved. Firstly, we had to officially apply for a leave from my duties as a scientific assistant. Secondly, we contacted the International Office and prepared all documents for the ERASMUS+ Internship application. Closer to the start of the research visit, I was eventually able to register myself with University College Dublin. The process itself was very smooth and didn’t take much time.

Apartment search in Dublin:

Being used to the “cheap” cost of living in Germany, searching for apartments in Dublin might come as a shock. The average price for renting is much higher than in Germany (typically two to three times higher for a shared living), with landlords typically renting for one year or more. In the case of private dorms renting is based on a trimester basis (meaning only for four or eight months). Hence, finding a cheap place for just half a year is quite challenging. Despite University College Dublin offering a housing program, the prices rank on the same level as renting from private landlords/companies. Furthermore, due to my somewhat late application, I could not get a place in the housing program at University College Dublin. Eventually, I settled with a mixed approach, living in an expensive private dorm for the first four months in the city center before moving in with a few colleagues for the last two months close to University College Dublin. Usually, it is required to pay the whole renting sum (>several thousand) in a student dorm before moving in as monthly payment rates are only offered for long-term rents.

Commuting/Travelling in or around Dublin:

© Alexander Meyer

Transportation in and around Dublin is mainly limited to bus service only. There exist two metro lines called the Luas, respectively the green and the red line serving some parts of the city. Nonetheless, typically buses are the go-to option. To commute to University College Dublin, only buses are available with frequent schedules along the major routes. Especially during the morning and the evening, delays and disruptions in the rush hours are to be expected as most traffic is funneled through the highly congested city center. The Google Maps app proved to be the most reliable for accurate prediction of bus arrival times. Worth mentioning is the leap card used for all transportation in Ireland, as typically only a leap card is accepted as a form of payment. These can be bought at many shops and charged via NFC using an app on your smartphone. Additionally, students are entitled to get a Student Leap Card, offering lower fares for daily commuting. Nonetheless, even the reduced student fares for transportation/commuting to and from university/somewhere are much higher than in Germany. Besides public transport, many taxis exist that can be conveniently called and paid using the FreeNow app. Typically, taxis can be called via the app in less than five minutes, even outside the city center. Also, taxi rates are fixed and much lower compared to Germany, making it a favorable option, especially late at night. However, during the closing hours of bars and pubs during the weekend, getting a taxi can be tricky with the FreeNow app malfunctioning or taxi drivers picking up people on the street directly without relying on the app.

Daily Life:

Daily life in Dublin is not much different from any major city in Germany. Shopping for groceries/daily necessities is very convenient with various supermarkets/local shops such as Lidl, Aldi, Tesco, SuperValu, Centra, or Spar, to name a few, to be found everywhere in Dublin. Prices are not much different from Germany and can be generally categorized on the same level. Only ordering products online might take more days for delivery as most are brought in via the United Kingdom or France. Also, ordering food from all cuisines is very convenient, with a large variety to choose from with prices typically lower than dining in restaurants.

Health Insurance/Telephone/Banking:

My health insurance covered me during my visit at no extra cost. With the newly introduced regulations on roaming charges for mobile carriers by the European Union, I simply continued using my existing contract. However, with extra costs imposed on regular phone calls, I generally placed calls via Whatsapp or FaceTime to avoid being charged extra. Finally, I also continued using my bank account at no extra charges for banking. Contrary to Germany, a debit/visa card is typically accepted, so there is no need to carry cash in Ireland. To transfer money between friends, generally, Revolut or Paypal are the preferred go-to-apps.


During early talks with my professor/supervisor at University College Dublin, we had only agreed on a general outline for the research visit. Upon starting my research here at University College Dublin, I was offered various opportunities to work on exciting projects within the scope of the initial agreement. As there was no mandatory coursework to complete, I could solely focus on research, enjoying a high degree of autonomy and freedom. Whereas my work was primarily focused on simulation and developing models, now and then, measurements in the lab needed to be conducted. Also, publication and revision of the latest results were a significant part of my work, where I could benefit from the extensive knowledge existing in the group already. To keep in touch with my supervisors, there was a group meeting held every week in which the latest results/news about the chair and each PhD’s work were discussed, and a short report was submitted to the professor. Additional meetings were held whenever necessary. At University College Dublin, I had my own cubicle space, sharing a large office with all my fellow PhDs in the same group. There I was provided with all the resources required to conduct my research. Additionally, due to the open workspace culture, it was straightforward to get in touch with my colleagues and make new friends at work. With PhDs joining from across the globe, the group was very international, with people of various backgrounds, cultures, and an open-minded orientation. Consequently, besides working together on inspiring projects, we bonded over various social events on the weekends.

Leisure in Dublin:

With some restrictions on pubs and restaurants eased at the beginning of my stay, I got a chance to enjoy Dublin’s extensive pub and restaurant culture. Wherever you wander in Dublin, one can be sure to find a cozy place offering a pint of Guinness or some proper, triple-distilled Irish whiskey and some Irish band playing traditional music in the background. Generally, pubs and bars close around 2 am to 3 am, so somewhat earlier compared to Germany with bookings for large groups required for most places partly due to the COVID-19 restrictions that were in place. Nonetheless, the nightlife in Dublin is truly unique, where countless memories have been made. Besides the high congestion of pubs, bars, and restaurants, Dublin offers many places to visit. Among these, the most touristic ones are the Guinness Store House, telling you the origin story of Ireland’s most famous beer while enjoying an incredible view across Dublin in the rooftop bar. Or the many distilleries that offer tours and tastings such as the Teeling, Jameson, or Roe & Co distillery. Also, from a cultural point of view, Dublin has many theaters, museums, or galleries to offer. Being the capital of the Republic of Ireland, also many government buildings can be found throughout the city.

Exploring Ireland:

© Alexander Meyer

Besides working on my research during the weekdays, I tried to travel across Ireland/Dublin as much as possible. These travels were attainable despite the ongoing restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which were eventually lifted entirely to the end of my research visit. During these trips, I encountered a beautiful country with very friendly people along the way. Around Dublin, countless opportunities for hikes exist, which can be easily reached using public transport. Various trips lead me to Howth, Bull Island, or Phoenix Park in the north of Dublin or Dun Laoghaire, Killiney, Bray, or Greystones in the south of Dublin. All beautiful places which can be easily explored during on a day trip accompanied by many lovely restaurants and cafés at every spot. The most beautiful spot I encountered during my travels was the hike in the Glendalough Mountains in Dublin’s neighboring Wicklow County. Located in a natural reserve, one can truly experience and appreciate Ireland’s nature. Furthermore, trips to, e.g., Galway, Limerick, or Cork are highly recommended and can be easily reached using Irish Rail.


Summing up, I genuinely enjoyed my time in Ireland. While working on exciting projects during the weekdays, the weekends were left for many exciting activities, and I enjoyed plenty of nights wandering Dublin’s nightlife with friends. Throughout my stay, I have made many new friends from across the globe, both at work and in my student dorm. Despite the high cost of rents, I would highly recommend staying at shared living at one of the plenty dorms, at least at the beginning, simply to meet many new people from all over the world. New friendships have been made, which I hope will last a lifetime. The Irish are very friendly people surrounded by a beautiful landscape that invites for countless hikes and trips in the greater Dublin area or beyond.