Rachele Faggiani is the first-ever recipient of the Dublin Postgraduate Scholarship, co-funded and developed by Dublin City Council and Education in Ireland. We sat down to chat about her time in Dublin.
What’s your name & where are you from?
Hi everyone! I’m Rachele, I’m from Italy. I come from a small town called Tarquinia, just outside Rome on the seaside.
Can you tell us a little bit about the course you’re studying?
I’m a postgrad student at Trinity College, and I’m studying for an MPhil in Literary Translation so basically, it’s both a practical and theoretical course about literary translation, which is a field that isn’t studied so much anywhere else. That makes it a great place to do this course. All my teachers and colleagues are important people in the field. For the theoretical part, I’m studying theories, strategies and things like that, and then I must produce a portfolio of translations on the practical side. I translate from and into English and Italian and from Mandarin Chinese into English.
Why study in Dublin?
The first thing to know is that I love Ireland. I always come back to Ireland, and Dublin is such a lovely city; it’s so welcoming. Even though it’s a small city, it has everything. It has a lot to offer students and people living there. It’s not too chaotic or huge; it’s multicultural and a nice place to live.
I chose Trinity firstly because it’s Ireland’s leading university, but it’s a top-ranked university in Europe and globally. It’s the university that had the course I was interested in pursuing (Literary Translation), and the first time I set foot on campus, I felt this sense of belonging, so I just knew I had to come here to study.
What’s your favourite thing about Trinity?
My favourite thing is being able to be on this campus. Trinity College holds so many historical things and places, so being able to stroll around and visit the buildings, the beautiful grounds and gardens under the trees is absolutely my favourite thing.
What’s your favourite thing about being in Dublin?
It’s not a huge metropolis, but it has so much to offer to people living in it. There are a lot of cultural places to visit, like the Chester Beatty Library or the National Gallery, and many parks to walk around. It also has independent bookshops, cafés, and fun stuff like going to the Guinness Storehouse.
Can you give us some recommendations for your favourite spots in Dublin?
I spend a lot of my time hanging out in bookshops and cafés. Independent bookshops are my favourite, and there are many great ones in Dublin. I’d recommend International Books on South Frederick Street, where you find lots of books in translation (it’s obvious why that interests me!), Books Upstairs, where there are a lot of literary magazines and journals on sale (and where they also have a lovely café), and the Last Bookshop, where you can find a wide and eclectic range of second-hand books. There also happens to be a hidden gem at the back called the Cake Café, which is one of my top recommendations. I also love Beanhive on Dawson Street for coffee, where they’ll do creative custom latte art on your drink, and Keogh’s Café on Trinity Street for great comfort food like soups, sandwiches, and muffins.
Other than that, I always enjoy a trip to St Stephen’s Green shopping centre, a stroll in the Iveagh Gardens, walking over the iconic Ha’penny Bridge, or visiting a cultural space or museum like the Chester Beatty.
It sounds like you’ve been enjoying Dublin as a literary city! How have you explored that side of its culture?
Since I study translation, my field of study is basically literature. Since Dublin is such a literary city, it has a lot of events related to literature, and it has a lot of famous writers. Some even went to Trinity, from Oscar Wilde to Sally Rooney. Something that I never did before, but I found is a thing here, is going to poetry reading events. I went to a bunch of them; it was fun and interesting!
What did you find challenging about moving to Dublin?
What I found difficult when I moved to Dublin is that I come from a small town, and Dublin is a city, so I needed time to adjust to that. Also, it might sound funny, but the weather! I come from Italy, so most of the year it’s sunny there, but here it rains a lot, so that was challenging!
How do you find student life here?
Something really fun about student life at Trinity was the opportunity to get involved in societies. I immediately joined the Trinity Singers Society, which has several choirs of different styles. I got into the Boydell Singers upper voice choir, which was a lot of fun because it was so interesting to be around many people who shared my interests. We had a lot of concerts, and we went to several competitions both inside and outside Dublin, and it was all so much fun!
What has been the highlight of your year as an international student in Dublin?
One of the highlights of my time here was the opportunity to sing in the choir, as I’ve already mentioned, and I had the chance to challenge myself in something I love to do. Also, the opportunity to study abroad, meet new people, and make a lot of friends from Ireland and all over the world was really special.
What advice would you give to a prospective international student considering Dublin as a place to study?
Don’t be afraid to come and study here! Dublin is such a welcoming city. There are plenty of things to do, so don’t be scared to try new things, go out and do new stuff. Don’t be afraid to talk to people because people here are so open. It’s easy to make new friends!
For more information on studying in Dublin, check out the Study section.