The Irish Universities Association (IUA) has ended its “Greet and Transfer” service at Dublin airport after helping transport thousands of incoming third level international students to their accommodation.
The association staffed a desk at the airport at which incoming students were required to identify themselves upon entry, along with providing proof of acceptance to the university.
“The purpose of the Greet and Transfer team was two-fold,” said IUA Administrative Secretary Marguerita Lardner.
“It was to ensure that international students arriving in Ireland were safely transferred from Dublin Airport to residences and other accommodation, and it was also to safeguard public health. Anybody travelling from non-green list countries was encouraged not to take public transport, so we needed a system in place for students to be escorted privately to their accommodation.”
Every third level institute in Ireland was involved in the program.
Incoming students were required to provide their flight information so the IUA could coordinate a pickup time.
Unfortunately, some students slipped through the cracks.
“I know there was a little difficulty,” Lardner said. “It’s not a surprise, everybody was supposed to be collected, but with thousands of student, there might have been minor glitches. It ran smoothly for the most part.
Donald Maringa, who came all the way from Kenya to do his masters in climate change policy at DCU, used the service when he arrived in Dublin on September 3.
He said he could not imagine what it would have been like if no one had picked him up at the airport as he expected.
“I think it would have been a nightmare for some of us if it wasn’t there,” he said. “For some of us, it was our first time in Ireland or our first time in Europe. Some of us come from countries where we are used to different logistics, different ways of ordering taxis and buses, so we don’t know which is convenient and which is affordable. It would be very difficult to start making those decisions in a split second.”
DCU’s international office did not reply to The College View’s request for a comment
The Higher Education Institution (HEI) is still transporting international students from the airport on a case by case basis for those who are arriving late.
The IUA is considering re-launching the service in January as students return to Ireland from their summer holidays.
Devin Sean Martin
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