‘For the first couple of weeks it is a bit scary’

Lorraine Smith from Louth explains how she came to study veterinary in Poland

Lorraine Smith: ’Originally I thought the change was going to be a bigger problem than it was’.

Lorraine Smith: ’Originally I thought the change was going to be a bigger problem than it was’.


Name: Lorraine Smith (19)

From: Laois

Studying: Veterinary Medicine, Wroclaw.

Originally the idea of going abroad would have terrified me but I didn’t meet the points requirement to get in at home. I wasn’t far off them but it just meant that I couldn’t study veterinary in Ireland.

The only other option was to do an undergrad and then go in as a graduate and that would have taken up to eight years to do. When I looked at the possibilities, it just seemed a lot more accessible here in Poland. The entry requirements still stood so it was important that I still had the grades.

Originally I thought the change was going to be a bigger problem than it was. At the start and for the first couple of weeks it is a bit scary. But, the international students all speak English as well so it’s never that much of a problem – there’s always somebody to talk to and there is good help within the university as well so it’s never a big deal you never feel like you’re by yourself at all.

All of the classes are in English and it’s important that all of the lecturers have a good standard of English. At the start it might take a little time to get used to the accent but eventually you don’t notice any difference.

Wroclaw is quite a young city. There are six or seven universities in the city. There is quite a good night life and coming up to the summer it opens up and they have their festivals. It’s not exactly the same as at home and, depending on what you are studying, it doesn’t allow you to go out as much as maybe you would with other studies - but the option is always there.

You can arrange your accommodation with the university. We were in dorms with others from our course – all of whom were English speaking.

After a while, a lot of people decided to move out and in November I decided to move out myself. You just find an apartment and it is quite cheap as well. Compared with the cost it would be in Dublin, it is nothing in comparison.

You can bring your Susi grant over and it is plenty to live off. It is a much more affordable city to live in compared to Dublin. You would be looking at around €200-€350 per month.

I am enjoying it so far. Compared to studying at home I think I’ve learned a lot more – not just with the veterinary but also outside of that in terms of life experience I have learned more over the last six or seven months than I would have got at home.

At home, with your grant, when you don’t pay your tuition fees, it is slightly different. With your student grant you can still get your maintenance here so what you are paying for then are your tuition fees.

When you add it up – what you are going to be paying for in rent at home in Ireland, it evens out. I’m really happy here. I love it. At this stage I am really settled in.

It’s crazy, you don’t really expect to settle in that quickly.