Monthly Archives: April 2011

Packing for College


image by aka_lusi

Preparing for college is an exciting time, but packing can be a real challenge. The NUI Galway International Student Pre-Arrival Guide (p. 11) contains a useful list of items to pack but overall, the most important thing to remember is to pack light.

Make a list of things you will actually need to see you through the first few weeks in Galway and discard everything else. Most students end up packing way more than they actually need, which can end up costing them money – due to ever decreasing airline baggage allowances – and result in them needlessly lugging heavy suitcases through airports, train and bus stations on the way to and from Galway.

While it’s tempting to pack as many of your belongings as possible, it can often work out cheaper and more convenient to purchase items such as additional clothing and certain electronic devices after you arrive in Ireland.

Here’s a list of recommended items:

☐ light raincoat with a warm lining
☐ ski jacket (for colder weather)
☐ light weight jacket or windbreaker (for warmer weather)
☐ comfortable walking shoes or sneakers – Galway is a compact city and students tend to walk most places rather than take a bus or drive
☐ hiking boots (if you plan to hike in the Irish countryside)
☐ pajamas
☐ jeans
☐ shorts (one or two pairs) for warmer weather
☐ hat, scarf and gloves
☐ bathing suit
☐ underwear and socks (at least two weeks’ worth)
☐ gymwear (sweats)
☐ musical instrument or specialist sports equipment (if applicable :-))

An umbrella and an electric blanket are of course highly recommended, and both can be purchased in Galway after you arrive. Sheets and towels can also be bought in Galway.

Check out Penneys or Argos for best value homewares and electrical appliances. The Map for International Students shows the location of the main stores where you can get these various items you don’t have space to pack.

For further information on packing electrical appliances, please refer to the  NUI Galway International Student Pre-Arrival Guide (p. 11). The voltage in Ireland is 240 volts, which may differ to your home country. If you do take your own appliances, remember to take an adaptor with you or purchase one when you arrive in Ireland.

Finally, don’t forget to bring your travel documents and your NUI Galway admission letter in your hand luggage, as you will need these when you pass through immigration control.

What do you think? Have you any tips on packing for college to share with us? Please leave a comment.



Filed under Before you arrive, Students

Tips for Saving Money while studying at NUI Galway

Studying overseas can be expensive, especially during the first couple of months away from home when you’re getting used to your new surroundings.

Here are some tips for saving money:

  1. Prepare you own Food. Eating out all the time is expensive. Each of the student residences provides self catering facilities and preparing your own food is a great way to save money. When you do want to eat out at a restaurant, keep your eyes open for Early Bird Menus which offer better value for money e.g. Vina Mara, Middle St, Galway; Krusoes Restaurant in the Harbour Hotel, the Harbour; Kirbys Restaurant, Cross St, Cookes Restaurant, Upper Abbeygate St, KC Blakes, Quay St.
  2. Shop at Discount Stores. Discount stores provide great bargains for the discerning shopper.  Products including household goods, gifts, stationery, toiletries and bric-a-brac can usually be picked up much cheaper at shops such as Poundscene, Galway Shopping Centre (Headford Rd) and the Two Euro Stores on Eglinton St and Mainguard St in the city centre.
  3. Secondhand Stores.  Secondhand and Charity Shops also offer great bargains for household items and clothing – Simon Shop, Sea Road, St Vincent de Paul Curiosity Shop, Merchants Rd., Age Action, Upper Abbeygate Street, Galway.
  4. Coupons. For money saving grocery coupons see and and  Other websites which promote value for money offers are and
  5. B.Y.O.B. Under the Waste Management (Environment Levy) retailers impose a charge of 22c for plastic bags. Help the environment and your wallet by remembering to bring your own shopping bags when you go shopping for food.
  6. Keep an eye out for Special Offers. Find out about the latest special offers in supermarkets like Supervalu in the Galway Advertiser newspaper (free) each week. The supermarkets Lidl and Aldi also have special offers every week based on different themes e.g. hiking equipment, ski wear, office furniture, DIY equipment as well as groceries.
  7. Try “Ligging”- getting into places to enjoy free hospitality. Read the Galway Advertiser and Galway Independent weekly for news of book/cd/festival launches and go along. Free food and drink is normally served.
  8. Save money on travel. Lots of international students like to travel to other parts of Ireland and Europe while studying in Galway. The key to saving money when travelling is planning ahead. The earlier you book flights, hostels, etc., the cheaper usually it will be, so try to plan your trips at the beginning of term.
  9. Buy secondhand books. Textbooks can be expensive so try to get books from the university library or a secondhand bookstore such as Charlie Byrnes or the Students Union before buying a new copy.
  10. Mobile phones. Mobile Phone (cell phone) companies such as O2, Vodafone and Meteor and 3 Mobile often offer special deals for students, so make sure you shop around for the best deals when you arrive in Ireland. Pay-As-You-Go deals are usually the best value option for international students, especially visiting students here for a semester or a year. Also, try to get your mobile phone from home unblocked before leaving for Ireland. That way you may just need to purchase a SIM card.

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Filed under About Ireland, On Campus, Students

International Student Pre-Arrival Guide 2011-12

Pre Arrival Guide

International Student Pre-Arrival Guide

The International Affairs Office at NUI Galway has recently published a new Pre-Arrival Guide booklet for new international undergraduate and postgraduate students who’ll be joining the University this September.

This guide gives practical information on important matters such as housing,
immigration regulations and registration, as students prepare to travel to Ireland.

Download an online copy of the International Student Pre-Arrival Guide

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Filed under On Campus, Students