There and Back Again: A tale of a Slovenian coming back to Ireland

My name is Jasna Rajnar Petrovic, a recent graduate from the beautiful green capital of Slovenia which goes by the name Ljubljana. I did an Erasmus exchange semester at Maynooth University 4 years ago, but I fell in love with Ireland so I was looking for an opportunity to come back. It presented itself in the form of an Erasmus+ internship in the International Office which will keep me here until the end of June – afterwards, who knows?

 

Coming back after 4 long years proved to bring a mixture of feelings to me. Firstly I needed to finish, submit and defend my masters’ thesis before coming here, which I managed to do in the nick of time. Secondly, my flight got cancelled because of Storm Emma. So I arrived in Dublin airport with a big balloon of anticipation, a bubble of anxiety but mostly very drained from the previous two intense thesis-writing months.

Before we embark on my journey, I’d like every prospective student, intern, or whoever is coming to Ireland to take this to heart: Don’t lose hope if you don’t find accommodation straight away. Don’t lose it if people you know in Ireland keep telling you that finding housing is hard. It’s all going to work out when you are physically present in the country and available for viewings. When you like what you see at a viewing, don’t hesitate to say that you want it and have the necessary rent and deposit on you. I promise you that everything will be fine and that the accommodation will seem the biggest problem for you in Ireland – and after you have it, you’re sorted and ready to lead a problem-free life! J

I’m forever grateful to my friend Zarja, who hosted me in Dublin for the first five days of my stay. It of course meant that I had to commute to work every day initially, but without this factor I would not be able to make a fool of myself only on the second day – I was so proud of myself for arriving to Tara Street train station on time in the morning that I didn’t realise I boarded the wrong train! I ended up in Malahide, not Maynooth! And of course I didn’t realise that until almost the last stop. I was late for work but at least I made the whole office laugh. It really felt like a great weight was lifted off my shoulders when I could finally move into my own room in Maynooth. Also my mentor in the office, Alena (the nicest person on the planet), lent me her bicycle for the duration of my stay, which essentially made my whole week brighter (I can’t handle life without a bike anywhere and I really miss my trusty rusty steed from back home).

So what else did I do apart from getting accustomed to the office, the work ? – it’s really cool how many different things I do, it’s definitely never dull! – and settling into our house and my room? I had the greatest St Patrick’s Day experience with a few of my friends, watching rugby (for the first time in my life, mind you!), just being there at one of their proudest and happiest moments because the Irish team won the Grand Slam… it was priceless!

So far my weekends have been more peaceful than not, I’ve been going out to the Carton House estate and the Royal Canal Walk for strolls when the weather is nice – it can be really, REALLY gorgeous when it’s sunny! I’ve also had some pints in Dublin with friends that I hadn’t seen in a long time, but I plan to see much more! I’m spending Easter weekend with one of those old friends, she lives near Belfast so I get to see Northern Ireland again, which makes me very happy J. I also plan on going hiking and maybe visiting Waterford… well you will definitely read about all that next month. Na svidenje (as we would say ‘until we meet again’ in Slovenian) until then!

 

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