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A Donegal Student Diary: Navigating My Student Life in Ireland’s Gem County | Study in Ireland


Join Shreya Shantharama and experience Donegal student life through multiple perspectives! Our Student Ambassador diary unfolds in Ireland’s Gem County, offering a diverse blend of stories.

Greetings from the picturesque county of Donegal! I am Shreya Shantharama Shetty, a spirited Master’s student in DevOps at Atlantic Technological University, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal. With a rich background as a .NET full-stack developer, my journey to Ireland is driven by a desire to delve into the exclusive DevOps program offered by ATU. Upon arriving, I discovered a lively community outside of the classroom and a sanctuary for scholars. I joined our university as an International Student Ambassador (ISA), a position that amplifies the voice of students, eager to fully immerse myself in the culture of my new home and university. I also became a member of the Education in Ireland Student Ambassador Programme (EIISAP), which strengthened my ties to the international student community. A new chapter in my journey began in September 2023 with Professor Ruth Lennon’s introduction to ACM-W. This resulted in my election to the position of Chair of the ATU ACMW student chapter, which I am honoured to hold. Choosing Donegal as my destination was not just a choice for education but an embrace of a unique lifestyle. As the only university in Ireland offering a Master’s in DevOps, ATU stood out, aligning perfectly with my interests. The initial apprehensions about student life, part-time opportunities, and adjusting to the city quickly dissipated. Donegal, adorned with its scenic landscapes, caves, hills, and sea, is a treasure trove of beauty. Letterkenny, the city I now call home, boasts not only of its beauty but also of its warm and welcoming community.

Despite its smaller population, living here feels like living to the fullest. The nightlife might not be as bustling as in other counties, but the numerous pubs and restaurants cater to all needs. Our university, understanding the allure of Donegal, organises frequent trips to various tourist spots like Rathmullan, Portsalon, Glenveigh National Park, and more. Venturing beyond the campus, our university curated an unforgettable Halloween trip to Derry/Londonderry, a mere 30 minutes from Letterkenny, introducing a new dimension to my experiences. Renowned as one of Europe’s grandest celebrations, the Halloween festivities in Derry were truly spectacular. Additionally, our exploration continued with a delightful trip to the Belfast Christmas market, offering a magical experience that added to the richness of my time here. The vibrant campus life is enhanced by the various societies and communities within the university that host events and festivals. Over 450 international students from different campuses came together to celebrate Diwali, the Festival of Lights, with great enthusiasm. The Student Union put on a wonderful Winter Ball, which was enjoyable. In my capacity as an International Student Ambassador, my fellow students and I are currently organizing holiday activities like a photo competition, Christmas lunch, get togethers etc. The part-time job hunt might pose a challenge initially, but with perseverance, opportunities arise. As for living expenses, Donegal offers affordable accommodation compared to other counties.

The predominantly rainy Irish weather contributes to the lush greenery surrounding it. As I reflect on my three months in Donegal, the swift passage of time serves as a testament to the engaging blend of academic pursuits and extracurricular activities. ATU boasts a remarkable staff known for their excellence and dedication. The institution offers a plethora of diverse and comprehensive study programs, providing students with a wide range of academic opportunities to pursue their educational and professional goals. The wonderful staff, combined with the extensive program offerings, creates an environment conducive to effective learning and personal growth at ATU. Atlantic Technological University has been a place of learning and a nurturing space for holistic growth. For someone inherently social, the decision to study here has unfolded as more than a choice of city, it’s an ongoing journey of savouring every aspect of this unique and enriching experience.

Shreya Shantharama Shetty is studying at ATU via Education in Ireland.

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