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Health and support services in Ireland 

Here’s a lowdown on the support services available for you!

It can be a little challenging to cope with the changes in your environment when you move to Ireland for the first time. With a new set of customs and norms, adjusting into the culture takes a little time, and you may need some assistance to absorb it all smoothly. Don’t worry if you struggle to adjust, or feel alienated or unhealthy, there are a range of support services available to help you out. 

In case you get hassled at any point, you can reach out to:  

Pre-arrival support guide 

Many institutions offer a pre-arrival support guide that includes details of medical insurance available, accommodation options, strategies to budget living expenses and other necessary details to settle in. 

Campus support services

Dedicated to support international students via various orientations and programs. These may include supportive and educational workshops, cultural celebrations and academic support. Sometimes, they also help with student accommodation and employment/internship opportunities. 

Student associations on campus

Most universities and colleges have their own student associations, which help international students manage their various activities along with academics. Some universities also have a dedicated international student association to offer unbiased support to students from another country. 

For instance, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland has an Undergraduate Students’ Union that ensures all inter-cultural students have a voice. It also helps bridge the gap between the students and the administration.

Student associations off campus

Various student associations outside of campus work for the welfare of national and international students. 

Ireland has a national representative body for tertiary level students called as the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) that stands for almost 400,000 students in over 40+ colleges/universities that works for student rights and support.

On-campus counselling sessions 

Many Irish institutions have well-experienced counsellors to assist its international students suffering from any academic, personal or social issues.

Support for students with disabilities

Most universities and institutions offer special support to international students with disabilities, but it is best to communicate the same at the time of application to discuss if any special arrangements need to be made for you. 

For instance, as an initiative, Trinity College Dublin enables leadership, public speaking and networking skills among its disabled students. through its Disabilities Ambassador Program.

Work Placement Programme

Some Irish institutions have work placement as a part of their course structure. These programmes aim to enable students develop a practical approach necessary to function as a team member in their workplaces.

For instance, the National College of Ireland have such components included in a few of its courses such as B.Sc. Business Information Systems, B.Sc. in Computing, Higher Diploma in Computing in Software Development and Higher Diploma in Web Technologies.

Make sure you have a health insurance

While most universities and colleges also provide with health insurance facilities to international students, you might have to arrange for it on your own if your institution doesn’t provide one before your departure. Discuss with your IDP counsellor for details regarding your best health insurance options in Ireland.

We recommend you to get registered with a local doctor or a medical centre located in your campus when you arrive in the country.

All international students are required to present a proof of comprehensive medical insurance when registering with the Garda National Immigration Bureau. Remember, you’ll have to arrange for your health insurance with an Irish health insurance provider during your stay in Ireland. 

Popular health insurance providers in Ireland include: 

  • Irish Life Health
  • VHI Healthcare
  • GloHealth Insurance
  • Student Insure   
  • Ireland does not have local police forces. Instead, there is a nationwide force called The Guardians of the Peace (A Garda Síochána), established in 1922 that is led by a commissioner. 

  • If you happen to face any emergency, call the “blue light" services - Garda Síochána, ambulance, fire and Irish Coast Guard on the toll-free numbers - 112 or 999. You can call 112 from anywhere in Europe.

  • If you need to report a crime that does not require immediate attention, visit your local Garda station.

A great way to come prepared to face various challenges of settling into a new country is by attending one of our pre-departure sessions , where we prepare you for your life in Ireland before you leave. These sessions are free to attend. Just walk into any of your nearest IDP offices to know more.  

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Updated on June 24, 2020

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