Studying Abroad - What Am I Forgetting?

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Studying Abroad - What Am I Forgetting?

Postby JustAName » 08 Jul 2015, 06:43

As many of you know, in August I'm moving to Ireland for a Masters program (and I harbor hopes of being able to stay and make my move permanent afterwards).

I've tried to plan for as much as I can - I've been preparing all my documents, I've looked into getting health care while I'm there, I've been saving money so I have the required amount in an Irish bank account when I arrive, and I've been planning what things of mine I'll take and what I'll leave behind. My employer has even said that he'll let me continue to work part-time, remotely, so I can get a crack at minimizing my loans right away.

I'm still incredibly anxious that I've forgotten something, though. I just have no idea what it is. And on top of that, advice about the whole situation might be nice anyway. Thoughts?
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Re: Studying Abroad - What Am I Forgetting?

Postby Elomin Sha » 08 Jul 2015, 07:56

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Re: Studying Abroad - What Am I Forgetting?

Postby the_lone_bard » 08 Jul 2015, 09:35

I can't remember where I heard this, or if it was advice, or a saying or a movie quote, but.
"It's never a problem when the big things stop working. It's when the little things we take for granted stop that everything goes to hell."

Seems pretty appropriate here. You're smart enough that I strongly doubt you'll forget the big things, like your clothes or your plane ticket. But, from now until then take extra notice of the little things in your life. Things right down to toothbrush and toothpaste, those are the things you're likely to overlook.
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Re: Studying Abroad - What Am I Forgetting?

Postby Merrymaker_Mortalis » 08 Jul 2015, 10:34

Mobile phone maybe?
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Re: Studying Abroad - What Am I Forgetting?

Postby korvys » 08 Jul 2015, 14:23

What's the local emergency number? This is an important number to know, and it's probably not 911.

When I moved to Australia, the things that worried me were that there would be incredibly obvious things that anyone who grew up here would know, which were so obvious that no one would even think to point them out, and I would never think to ask.

For example, did you know there are fuzzy catapillers here? And that they are quite poisonous? I didn't. Didn't touch one, but it came up in conversation, and I would never have thought to ask about them.
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Re: Studying Abroad - What Am I Forgetting?

Postby the_lone_bard » 08 Jul 2015, 14:40

I'm pretty sure most countries have adopted 911 and our 000 for emergencies. Not positive but I think I read that somewhere.
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Re: Studying Abroad - What Am I Forgetting?

Postby ch3m1kal » 08 Jul 2015, 14:51

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Also in all seriousness, the emergency number in the EU is 112, though the UK also uses 999.
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Re: Studying Abroad - What Am I Forgetting?

Postby Duckay » 08 Jul 2015, 14:52

korvys wrote:For example, did you know there are fuzzy catapillers here? And that they are quite poisonous? I didn't. Didn't touch one, but it came up in conversation, and I would never have thought to ask about them.


In Australia's defence, we've done an excellent job on the whole of warning people that you can't trust anything over here. Even fuzzy caterpillars.

But seriously, yes, look up the emergency number and strive to commit it to memory. Even if bard is right and 911 is in use, it's probably worth knowing.
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Re: Studying Abroad - What Am I Forgetting?

Postby JustAName » 08 Jul 2015, 15:02

It's 999 apparently. Easy enough.
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Re: Studying Abroad - What Am I Forgetting?

Postby Kortanios » 08 Jul 2015, 16:26

Well, I'd suggest bringing some dark months comfort food (the most common care package content if people i went to uni with are anything to go by), something that is typical for the winter back home but you can't get in Ireland. Also, generally anything that you connect to your personal winter sun solstice-adjacent holiday of choice... What I'm trying to say is, the winter is when a lot of people I know who were studying abroad needed a (generally edible) piece of home.

I would also say vaccinations if you don't have all the standard ones yet because UK and Ireland have a non-zero amount of anti-vaxers, and there were several outbreaks of measles at UK universities (I know you will be in Ireland but better safe than sorry) over the last few years... The only non-standard that I would suggest would be a meningitis shot (if you don't have it yet) otherwise all the standard ones should suffice in Ireland.



the_lone_bard wrote:I'm pretty sure most countries have adopted 911 and our 000 for emergencies. Not positive but I think I read that somewhere.


*Puts on nerd glasses* Actually, all of the EU adopted 112 in 1991. You can still use older national versions but 112 works throughout the EU (so for Ireland and the UK it's both 999 and 112) and some countries outside have adopted it as well (e.g. Russia, South Korea, Kasakstan, Ukraine, Turkey). A lot of countries use things in the 110-119 range. 911 is only really used in the Americas but even there Mexico, most independent Caribbean states and 6 South American countries including Brazil, Chile and Colombia use other numbers, 000 is only used in Australia and Fiji, 999 is somewhat common in smaller former British colonies and some countries in the middle east. A significant number of African states still use the old French 17.
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Re: Studying Abroad - What Am I Forgetting?

Postby Rikadyn » 08 Jul 2015, 16:35

Being Ireland, and english speaking, I'm sure you will have a much easier time than I did. Just remember to bring all the bits of the stuff you're bringing and should be good.
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Re: Studying Abroad - What Am I Forgetting?

Postby the_lone_bard » 08 Jul 2015, 16:37

Interesting. I coulda sworn a bunch of the world had adopted 911 to cater to the lowest American denominator, guess I was wrong. I kinda wanna try dialing 911 now, but A: My phone doesn't work, B: I have an important appointment in a couple hours and getting arrested for bullhit emergency calls would make that difficult.
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Re: Studying Abroad - What Am I Forgetting?

Postby Hekla » 08 Jul 2015, 16:49

I'm in a similar position, but hopping across from the UK to Canada in August/September to start a Masters programme, so I imagine this thread could also help me.

So, off the top of my head, here are some of the things I've thought about (but probably still need to work out): Water, electricity, gas, internet, mobile phone service and so on - the basics.

You probably want to make sure that the electronics that you are brining will work with the higher voltage. Most things that have a transformer to DC power (laptop and phone charger) will be fine. Things with motors, not so much.

Money stuff - banking - it can get very complicated. Opening a bank account isn't always the easiest of things to do. Getting money into Euros is a thing you have to do, but you've probably worked that bit out. (Although I imagine Ireland is pretty good with banking, at least compared to the mess that is the US and Canada).


I'll probably add other stuff to this list as I go through this myself.
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Re: Studying Abroad - What Am I Forgetting?

Postby Duckay » 08 Jul 2015, 17:15

the_lone_bard wrote:Interesting. I coulda sworn a bunch of the world had adopted 911 to cater to the lowest American denominator, guess I was wrong. I kinda wanna try dialing 911 now, but A: My phone doesn't work, B: I have an important appointment in a couple hours and getting arrested for bullhit emergency calls would make that difficult.


Well, I'm not sure where you would have heard that, but here is the best source that I can find.

ACMA wrote:Can I call 911 from my mobile phone in an emergency?

911 is used by emergency services in the United States. Not all mobile phones can access Australia’s Emergency Call Service by dialling 911. You should use Australia’s primary emergency service number, Triple Zero (000) or the secondary emergency service number of 112 which can only be dialled on a digital mobile phone. While dialling 911 from some mobile phones may provide access to the Emergency Call Service, such access is not a formal feature of Australia’s telecommunications system and should not be relied upon in an emergency.

(Source: "Calling the Emergency Call Service from a Mobile Phone: FAQs")

On the whole I advise that you don't rely on any other than the advertised one for your area, even if you've heard that other numbers work.

Fayili: While we're on the subject of phones, though, that's something that shouldn't be overlooked. Getting a new phone plan there if you're going to be there for a while is going to be more efficient than a roaming plan, I would imagine.

Also to follow up from the other comment about vaccinations, remember that it's not just a matter of anti-vaxxers; sometimes different vaccination histories will be more common in different countries, so that's worth looking into as well.
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Re: Studying Abroad - What Am I Forgetting?

Postby BlueChloroplast » 08 Jul 2015, 20:05

Always carry your towel :P

A camera is good, and the charger. Having a plug adapter for different outlets is good. Pack cash in multiple places in your bags if you are bringing it, so it is spread out and won't all get taken if someone tries that.

Pack your pajamas in the carry on so that you can easily collapse into bed without too much effort once you get there.
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Re: Studying Abroad - What Am I Forgetting?

Postby JustAName » 08 Jul 2015, 20:21

I guess I left out a key detail: I'm going to live with IX, who is my boyfriend. That does make a lot of it easier. :P

I'm bringing Trader Joe's chocolate orange sticks with me, and if I think of anything I desperately want that is small, I can probably get my mother to bring it over. She's insisted in visiting a month after I get there, despite my constant protestations that I will be studying (and, you know, it'll kind of be the honeymoon phase of moving in together).

I do have all my vaccinations, so that's fine. Also I have a converter from visiting previously, and can probably get another fairly easily if need be. Banking will be pretty straightforward, since the University has branches of various banks on campus that are used to international students needing to set up local accounts.

Duckay: That's a great point. The school provides a sim card with ten euro on it to make a call home, but I hadn't really considered ongoing calling, which I probably will be doing at least with IX. I might as well plan to buy an hour of calling or something when I get there.

I have been considering bringing at least one towel. IX has some, but it's nice to have my own... And not planning on bringing cash, so that's not a big deal.

Thanks so much everyone! I'm mostly concerned that I'm missing something big enough to have me deported, but I know that's silly, and I really appreciate all the help in not forgetting the small details.
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Re: Studying Abroad - What Am I Forgetting?

Postby RedNightmare » 08 Jul 2015, 22:07

TEA! Are you bringing tea to offer to the queen on arrival?! Because that can get you deported real quick! :P

Sorry. I think as long as you have a passport and vacinations, I think your good on the deporting bit. (I don't live there, mind you)
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Re: Studying Abroad - What Am I Forgetting?

Postby korvys » 08 Jul 2015, 23:10

Ireland doesn't have a queen. It's a republic.
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Re: Studying Abroad - What Am I Forgetting?

Postby Avistew » 08 Jul 2015, 23:26

Well, I was in a fairly similar situation as I also moved continents (although the other way around, from Europe (France in my case) to the US.

Honestly, the things I miss in the US are mostly things I couldn't have taken with me (being able to walk everywhere, having bakeries close by) or things I would have run out of fairly quickly, such as food. What I miss the most is definitely canned vegetable, specifically canned couscous vegetables. They were 50 cents in France so I had one or two per day, plus tabouleh (couscous as it's often called here, even though it's not couscous any more than rice is rissotto) and I had myself a cheap meal (tabouleh is waaaaay cheaper in France as well).

In the US, I find it very challenging to find healthy food that is also both cheap and super easy to make (I would pour the can of vegetable onto the grains, put it in the microwave for like a minute, wait a bit and then I had several meals ready).

I used to miss rice-filled M&Ms as well, but they just started selling them again in the US so that's not an issue anymore (I rarely had them to begin with, but when you crave something and it's not available it's a pain).

Another thing I missed and make sure to buy when I'm in France is powdered aspirin. For some reason it's not available in the US but I like it much better than pills, which I have trouble swallowing. Still, to make the packs last, I mostly have it when I need aspirin soaks and not as an oral medication.

Things like that aren't likely to be obvious, though. You'll notice them over time while living there, as you discover the difference that you don't notice on shorter trips. And usually, you can ask someone to mail them to them, you can buy them if you visit home every so often, or they're things you just couldn't have taken with you anyways.

If Ireland is similar to France, I would say the difference you'd have are that there are way less drive-through places, more small/specialised stores and less giant ones, and banking is done more in person and less online (although that was getting better by the time I left France).

And waiters don't refil your glass for you, they give you a jug if it's water, or you have to order a new glass if it's another drink (no free refills). For that matter, no doggie-bags either, most places don't even have boxes that could be used to take leftovers home even if someone asked, and most people wouldn't think to ask that. And no ice in drinks unless it's extremely hot outside or you specifically ask for them.

Also, tax included in prices and adds less often but for longer.

Again, all of this is what it's like in France. I have been to Ireland but not long enough to be sure if it's more like France or more like the US in those respects.

Plus, those are things I noticed because they matter to me to some extent, but you may not really care about them.

Oh, another one. "Credit" cards tend to be debit cards in France, we don't really have credit, there is no such thing as a credit score, and bank cards have chips and pins, you don't sign receipts. Nor can you specify an amount after plugging in your card. The amount is specified before you pay. Which means you also can't add a tip with a card unless you ask the waiter and they type it in. Even then, some places can't do that. Carry cash on you if you intend to tip, although there is a 15% gratuity included in the price of everything already, so tipping is less essential.

Once again, French stuff :P Check with IX. He'll tell you what of what I'm saying is true in Ireland, and what isn't. I'm only mentioning it because it could be things he wouldn't have thought to talk about, especially if he hasn't spent extended amounts of time in the US.


Generally, if you have decided what to take and what not to take, you should be fine. Try looking at pretty much everything you own and sorting it into "keep in the US", "take with me" and "get rid of". Sell a bunch of stuff and give the rest to friends/family before you leave.
I'm saying that because I didn't think about some stuff until right as I was moving.
Things like CDs and DVDs, how much do you care about their packaging? Can you take just the CD/DVD part and keep them all in a binder meant for that? It saves a huge amount of room. Also see how much of it you can have digital copies of. Nowadays you can often store them on the cloud especially if you buy them in an online store, but external hard drives can help with that too, they're usually pretty small and can hold tons of stuff.

Most electronics you'd have to leave behind, but you can take small electronics with you, and laptop chargers are easy to find once you land so they're compatible with Ireland plugs/voltage. Usually you only need to change the part that plugs into the wall and you can keep the one that plugs into the computer.

Other chargers will usually be micro-usb, once again very easy to buy once you're there (or used the ones IX undoubty owns already). For hand-heald consoles you can use a converter if they're old and it's harder to find the charger, but if they're modern, you'll be fine.


The hardest for me was books. If they're classic, you can download ebooks version for free, and you can probably take a few favourites and buy ebooks for a few others. In your case though, you're going to a place with the same language so most books you'll be able to rebuy if you want.

Since you already looked into the medical aspect, the education aspect, have a job you can partially keep, have a place waiting for you (already set up with electricity and the Internet, etc) I can't think of much else to tell you.

Maybe see if you can set up a google phone number before you leave. Apparently you need to be in the US to set them up (I couldn't from Canada or France) but I think you can then use them wherever you have an internet connection, which would mean free calls (both sending and receiving).

Europe generally doesn't charge for incoming calls. I don't know if Ireland is any different, but if it isn't, you shouldn't have to worry about that at all. That include international calls. Only the caller spends their minutes/money.

If IX has a cellphone you may be able to get a paired plan where any exchange between the two of you would be free (except the montly charge). If Ireland is anything like France, there will be phone booths a bit everywhere that you can use with any bank card so you could use those. I did for years in France and I spent less in a year than I would have in a month with a cell. See with IX if that's an option at all.

Good luck! I probably said a lot of things you won't need or already thought of but better to say too much than not enough :P
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Re: Studying Abroad - What Am I Forgetting?

Postby the_lone_bard » 08 Jul 2015, 23:58

On phones. This is Australian things, so potentially COMPLETELY different to the US and Ireland. But, if you got your phone through a plan and didn't buy it out right, chances are it's network locked. My broken brick that's a poorly functioning MP3 player at this point for instance, is permanantly locked to Vodaphone aus. Wont even register a sim from another carrier.

Also, here there tends to be carrier specific plans, like if you're paying more than say, $15 a month, here you're probably getting a couple hundred minutes of talk, a bunch (but not unlimited) SMS and like 250mb of data (But Aus and internet, that one should be higher everywhere else.) and, unlimited calls/text to any phone on your network. So if I call someone on the opposite side of Aus who's also on Vodaphone, I can talk for a week without hanging up for "free". So, check if that's a thing over there and if it is, probably best to get a cheap phone plan or sim plan for 6-12 months that is with IX's provider since he's likely to be the one you text/call most often. But mostly, check if your phone is network locked before anything, the last thing you want is an $800 phone with you that refuses to accept any sim from any Irish networks.

Oh, and if they do the "You're not a citizen here too bad" bullshit that I've heard of form a few places, just get IX to sign up for the plan. It's safe to say you two aren't gonna suddenly split up in a week and at least here in Aus, you can have 4 sims per person. (Some sort of anti-terrorism crap, because a terrorist is TOTALLY not gonna go into Safeway and get a $2 sim then activate it online with a fake name, they'd never lie!)
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Re: Studying Abroad - What Am I Forgetting?

Postby empath » 09 Jul 2015, 04:31

Bard; having worked as a cellular/mobile phone help desk agent for several years...there are 'ways around that', the network locking isn't hard-wired...

...but yeah, those are good solutions.


As for travelling, if you haven't nailed down your itinerary yet, you might wanna plan with extra time to spare between legs - a half-hour layover between connecting flights might be needed due to some unexpected delay.



Also since the subject of vaccinations was brought up, I'm gonna tangent slightly from that to...gut flora.

The species of microrganisms that live in our intestinal tracts and hold a mutually-beneficial relationship with us, they vary by geographic region. You've travelled to Ireland in the past, and probably experienced the...gastric 'irregularity' that comes from encountering specific species of organisms that the locals have become immune to due to life-long exposure to; but a long term stay means those 'new' varieties are going to essentially 'move in' and replace those from the US that you've been used to. (heck, you can see a similar result just from staying where you are and changing what brand of yogurt you eat ;) ). It shouldn't be serious, just an 'extended bout of /Traveler's diarrhea'; if you get anything serious like blood, serious cramps or a high fever you should check in at the A&E and get checked out.

May everything in the move go...er, smoothly(?) for you? :lol:
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Re: Studying Abroad - What Am I Forgetting?

Postby the_lone_bard » 09 Jul 2015, 05:08

I know Empath, but that voids warranty... Provided your phone is able to do any of that, mine was not. Though mine can't send or receive calls or manage to trigger its own alarm clock half the time. I'd say the only thing that works on it is the music player, but occasionally AndroidMusic.exe has stopped working, force close.
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Re: Studying Abroad - What Am I Forgetting?

Postby Hekla » 09 Jul 2015, 05:21

As for 'something big enough to have me deported', there isn't much.

If you have ever been arrested and especially if you have been convicted of a crime, that's a thing that they will probably take some interest in.

You'll also be in Europe, so if you hold extremist views, you are no longer protected by the first amendment.

Another big issue in Ireland is abortion rights, so they are not available except for a few situations.

I can't think moving to Ireland would pose that many issues.
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Re: Studying Abroad - What Am I Forgetting?

Postby Elomin Sha » 09 Jul 2015, 05:46

Stay away from Cork and an old man called Steve.
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Re: Studying Abroad - What Am I Forgetting?

Postby Lord Chrusher » 09 Jul 2015, 06:28

Sounds like you are pretty set. You have a leg up on most international students by having XI as a local.

I was quite stressed out about moving to Australia for grad school but that move went well. I am going through the process again as I am moving to Liverpool in September for a postdoc.
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