Romina Dashghachian is 22. She’s from Germany (her parents are from Iran), and she’s studying for a Master’s in Public Relations at Dublin City University (DCU). Romina’s hometown is Munich, and she reckons that city and Dublin have a lot in common. “Munich has a community feel, so you never feel like you’re in a giant anonymous city. And that’s why I like Dublin as well. When you’re here, you don’t feel like you’re just disappearing in the crowds.”

But how did she come to choose Dublin in the first place? “I was in Dublin two years ago with a friend of mine just for a holiday trip, and we fell in love with the city so quickly. We were here for a week, and we kept talking about how we should come back sometime and how cool it would be to be here.” When she was looking for a place to do her Master’s abroad, she wanted to go to an English speaking country. “I remembered how much I loved Dublin. So I was like, wow, Dublin would be perfect.”

Before she came, she was anxious about making friends. That anxiety didn’t last long. “The people are one of the many reasons why I feel so at home here. They’re just so open, and they just welcome you in. You can have so much fun with people you had just met five minutes ago!”
People and seagulls at Grattan Bridge with Dublin City Council Civic Offices, Wood Quay in the background.
Although there are several outposts of German culture in Dublin (the Goethe Institute in its beautifully restored new quarters, for instance), Romina doesn’t feel the need to visit them. She’s certainly not homesick. “I don’t really seek out German people – I can do that in Germany! I love Germany very much, and I will probably go back at some point, but when I’m in a new country I want to immerse myself in the culture of that country”.

You don’t feel like you’re just disappearing in the crowds

“What I like to do is go to Irish comedy gigs and into the city centre or to restaurants and try to buy authentic Irish food. And just try to talk to as many people as possible”. She recommends the Stag’s Head pub for Comedy Crunch, its regular stand-up comedy club. She’s also a big fan of Dublin’s Georgian architecture – Merrion Square is a favourite. And don’t miss the view, she says, from the Stephen’s Green centre rooftop carpark.
The Stag's Head pub.
But what about the study? Romina studied for her undergraduate degree at a university in northern Bavaria. How is she finding her course at DCU, we wondered? “I think it’s great. One of the main reasons I chose DCU is because it’s kind of famous for its communications school – it’s one of the top 200 in the world. And also because they have a PR program. We don’t have these kinds of programs in Germany; they’re more often found abroad. So to find something that’s quite focused was great.”

There’s one Irish guy, a Russian girl, two Indian guys and me

Another aspect of the DCU experience that Romina really enjoys is her accommodation. She was lucky enough to get accommodation on-campus, and this has been a revelation. “I had never seen a campus university before. We don’t have them so much in Germany.

There it’s mostly running from one building to another on the other side of the city. So I really wanted to live on campus. I think that’s just the best way, especially for someone who is from another country and doesn’t know anyone in Ireland.”

Romina.

What I definitely miss is German bread

Her accommodation has also made making friends a lot easier. “One of the best things about living on campus is that I have roommates. All of us are post-graduate students, and we’re from all over the world: there’s one Irish guy, a Russian girl, two Indian guys and me.” DCU’s clubs and societies also come in for a lot of praise: there are 150 of them! The dance societies and the Book Society are Romina’s particular favourites – judging by its upcoming trip to Amsterdam, the Book Society’s remit goes a good way beyond books.

But the story isn’t all positive. There’s the bread situation, for instance. “What I miss is German bread, because the Germans are very, very big on bread. I like dark rye bread, and I haven’t found that here yet”. Anything else? “I do miss German beer. But I think I’ve found some beers here that are pretty similar. Hop House 13 does remind me of German beer”. And how do you feel about our black beer, Romina? “I love Guinness. I’m a huge fan”, she says, as gracious an advocate of all things Dublin as you could hope to meet.

Laurence is a writer, cyclist and gardener. He’s always finding new things to like about Dublin, the city where’s he’s spent most of his life.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE...

What’s different about Dublin?

Every year, tens of thousands of people from over 130 countries come to study in Ireland’s universities, institutes of technology and colleges. What’s bringing them here and why are they choosing Ireland? Sheila Power is director of the Irish Council for International Students. She points out that overall statistics for the number of international students are hard to pin down, but says that we need to broaden the conversation out. Ireland is an attractive destination for international students because it is perceived as friendly and safe “Ireland is an attractive destination for in

Read More

Life on campus for the international student

Ireland might be a small country, but our universities, institutes of technologies and colleges are incredibly diverse. Every year, tens of thousands of students from over 130 countries come here to study. Dublin, home to about 1.2 million people – and growing – is the destination of choice for the majority. Drawn by the city’s high-quality education offering and the possibility of securing a part-time job in one of the major tech firms with a Dublin base, including Google and Am

Read More

Dublin Treasures – The Five Lamps

‘Do you know the Five Lamps?’ If you’ve heard this question before - and been foolish enough to answer in the affirmative - you’ll know not to answer it again. Essentially it’s a peculiarly Dublin way to tell someone to shut-up or to feck-off: ‘Do you know the Five Lamps? Well go hang your bollox off them!’. No one actually knows how this old saying originated. Well, how could they? But hats off to whichever Dublin wit it was who came up with it. Now it’s part of inner city Dublin culture. The lamps in question are in Dublin’s North Strand area, situated at the junction of five streets: Portland Row, North Strand Road, Seville Place, Amiens Street and Killarney Street. There it is, sitting an island in the middle of the road: a decorative five-branched lamp-post.

Read More