International students from Limerick’s third-level institutes attended the International Students Forum in Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) on November 7.
The forum allows international students to network, discuss issues affecting them and share experiences on living and studying in Limerick.
It hosted a group discussion on the the topics of adapting to academic life in Ireland and social integration, in which students spoke about some issues and challenges they came across.
Language barriers, different module structure and lack of academic support are listed as the top three challenges for academic life, while cultural differences, over-drinking and lack of social activities are defined as the most prominent problems of social integration.
In the forum, participants also shared their own experiences to overcome difficulties and setbacks met by others and some even contributed constructive solutions to help peers tackle the issues.
According to Brian Hearne, the Programme Officer of the Irish Council for International Students (ICOS): “We will use some of the solutions or ideas that were touchable in this forum in a number of ways.”
A report will be released after the forums and the highlighted issues will be informed to relevant departments and organizations for improving.
“It is important that we always update with the needs and issues of all international students in Ireland because needs and issues change over time,” he added.
Lujain Subhi, a postgraduate of University of Limerick from Palestine, said: “It was a very useful meeting for us to meet other international students from all over Limerick who are sharing and facing the same issues and trying to help each other to overcome them.”
“It is also useful for ICOS and academic institutions to try to help future international students to avoid these problems that we face,” she added.
ICOS, in conjunction with the Union of Students in Ireland (USI), organised this forum which is known as one of three international student forums in Ireland.
As an organisation on the rights on behalf of international students in Ireland, ICOS aims to promote international education in Ireland and make the voice of international student heard.
The first forum was held in Dublin in November 6 and the last one will take place in November 14 in Galway.
The forums are supported by the Department of Education and Skills.
For more information: www.internationalstudents.ie/