Mar 17, 2010
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Hi everyone,
I am planning on accepting my offer to attend the RCSI (GEP program) this fall. Are there any current GEP students who could recommend the most convenient place to live - I understand that the main campus is outside of the downtown core, however I've heard it's easier to get around if you have a car (which I definitely won't!). Any tips? Words of advice?
Thanks so much!
 

jnuts

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Jun 12, 2007
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Hi,

I'm currently an RCSI GEP in "4th year," that means 3 years of actual time at RCSI.

You're quite right, the first year of the RCSI GEP program is held largely in Sandyford, at a small, but really nice, building opposite the Stillorgan Luas (Irish:tram) stop. The exception to the rule is that anatomy is held at the main campus on St. Stephen's Green at the City Center end of the Green Luas line. The full Luas trip takes about 20 minutes.

The majority of GEP students live in the city center or somewhere along the green Luas line first year. Dublin is organized into numbered postal districts with the City Center south of the Liffey as D2 which includes St. Stephen's Green and the main campus. All of D2, the eastern edge of D8, western D4 (Merrion Square, Upper Baggot Street), and northern D6 (Rathmines, Ranelagh, Rathgar) are pretty popular places to live. If you're really fond of your morning sleep you can get a place in Stillorgan or Sandyford (D18) but that area really shuts down at night--including transport to/from--and you'll feel cut off from most of the college social life.

Actually, I personally think you can get everywhere in Dublin in under an hour on foot, and out to Sandyford and Blanchardstown (where you've classes second year) in 20-40minutes on a bike. But I'm the athletic sort, and you do need to have wet weather gear at all times.

To find a place look on daft.ie. I know arriving in new city without an appartment set up is daunting by most standards but the Irish rental market moves very very fast (apartments get posted and the good ones are rented on the same day). Trying to get a place months in advance and from abroad will likely make it very expesive for you. Stear clear of places like Aungiers Street and Mercer Court. They used to be slightly over priced by Dublin standards, but now that the bubble has burst they are insanely overpriced and just exist to prey on first years who want to have everything set up before arriving. If you would like to do some prep work, getting a letter of enrollment from the college, having some tenant recommendations and a rental history, proof of financial ability to pay rent, and opening an Irish bank account (which is a huge headache and might really hold things up), are all things that may save time later. If you are overly worried about getting here without a place to stay, book a short visit over the summer to set up a place. The difference in rent prices will pay for Airfare and hotels in under 6 months.

A small piece of advice, if you are viewing an appartment the landlord is basically interviewing you. Make a good impression and they'll call to offer you the place a bit later. Though the rental market is strictly speaking a renters market right now, landlords would rather not rent a property to someone they think is dodgy. Emphasize that you're a post-graduate student at the RCSI as undergraduate medical student equals trouble in landlord's minds.

My first year, I stayed in a hotel for the first few days and then found something on the College's accomidation notice board http://www.rcsi.ie/cgi-bin/Ultimate.cgi. I don't think that was the best way to do it, and I'd recommend using the notice board and the CIMSA facebook group to find some people in your class to live with as larger numbers drop the pricing really fast. Then see if anyone is willing to offer a couch for you when you first get to Dublin and are looking for a place. If you're Canadian, the CIMSA meet-and-greets over the summer are a great way to set this up.

The second year is a different story. You're relocated to Blanchardstown Hospital (about an hour north-west of the city by Dublin Bus, under 30 minutes as I bike, and 20 minutes by commuter train). About half the class usually decides to live out there, which is socially trying but people make a go of it. I lived in town for various reasons, and biked out evry day through Phoenix Park.

In terms of having a car, I don't know any GEPs who bought one and we all get along just fine. I've had to bum the occassional ride of one of my Irish classmates (who by and large will own cars) but its usually not a neccessity.

Hope it helps.
 
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Mar 17, 2010
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Thank you very much for your response - it was immensely helpful!

One final question: I'm assuming that the majority of the class takes out 9 month leases, rather than keeping the same apartment throughout the four years...correct?
 
Mar 21, 2010
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Thank you very much for your response - it was immensely helpful!

One final question: I'm assuming that the majority of the class takes out 9 month leases, rather than keeping the same apartment throughout the four years...correct?
I'm not sure what they do at RCSI, but if you want to go back to the US/Canada, doing electives over the summer (official or otherwise) at centers you'd considering doing a residency is pretty much required. At least that's my game plan!
 

jnuts

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That's a bit of a touchy subject. 12 month leases are pretty much the rule in Ireland. You may be able to talk a landlord into a 9 month contract at the begining of your lease; but I doubt it considering the 'interview' thing I mentioned above.

In general, some people--let's say more than half--of my class definitly break leases early on a yearly basis. Technically, there nothing landlords can do about it, they are obligated to return your deposit. I've broken my lease once and the landlord had no issues. Other people certainly keep places over the summer, mostly so they have somewhere for their stuff and to keep from running around when school starts in the fall. Additionally, monthly rents tend to peak in mid September when the Colleges start back so there is an argument that getting a place in early summer may save you more in total even though you need to pay an extra two months.

I'm planning on keeping my current place over the summer this year just because finding a new one isn't worth the hassle, in my opinion, as I'm going to be studying in the same area next year.


A quick note about the electives thing, Canadian electives are only really available in your final summer (between 3rd and 4th year). That being said practically no one stays in Dublin as there are plenty of other opportunities to be taken advantage of in the early years.
 
Mar 21, 2010
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A quick note about the electives thing, Canadian electives are only really available in your final summer (between 3rd and 4th year). That being said practically no one stays in Dublin as there are plenty of other opportunities to be taken advantage of in the early years.
Hmmm, I have a friend that has been going back every summer since her first year. Is it more of a "you won't have" time during the summer between 1st->2nd and 2nd->3rd or is it that they aren't available/you're not sufficiently trained and thus people tend to not want to take you?
 

jnuts

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Sorry I guess that was a little confusing. Its entirely that universities will not take you for graded Clinical Electives until you have completed your core clinical rotations (which is after 3rd year for GEP, 4th year for people in the 5-year program). These Clinical Electives are the placements you will get your recomendations from and are the only programs that count as 'Canadian Clinical Experience' for your residency application.

There are certainly other other opportunities to take advantage of in your first and second summers. Observerships are placements without patient contact that give great exposure to the various specialities; which is important as you need clinical electives in which the specialities you'd like a residency. Observerships can give you a chance to shop around a bit.

Additionally, clinical research is really important and can be done over the first summers. Developing world electives with patient contact are also available.
 

dj sw

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Hi everybody! I got accepted to RCSI 4 yrs GEP 2 weeks ago and just paid my deposit today. 6500 euros is definitely a lot of money, but I believe that out of all the schools I got accepted to, RCSI will give me the best chance to succeed and get into a good residency. I have never been to Europe before, so I am totally excited for this upcoming experience in Dublin. That being said... it is still very difficult for any student to get settled down in a completely new environment. So any advice on how to obtain housing, furniture, or even general everyday stuff is deeply appreciated.

Thanks!
 

alexc

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Feb 3, 2009
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jnuts,
I am finishing my 1st year (5 yr program) at RCSI. You mention that clinical research is very important, how can I go about getting a research position, ( will be going home to Montreal,) I think I can get observerships fairly easily since my dad is a doc, but the research I have no clue how to do.

thanks for any advice!
 

jnuts

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Jun 12, 2007
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Getting research spots can be a little tricky simply because there is no standardized system.

It really doesn't matter where you do your research, but keep in mind that clinical research is always preferable to lab work as it tends to be faster and more often results in a publication.

Scoring a research job is usually just about asking the right person at the right time (i.e when they need a lackey to sort through a mountian of charts to see if a hunch they have can be validated in patient outcomes). If you're open to researching at RCSI just ask any Prof you get along with if there is anything you can do. If there is a particular field you are interested in, try asking the head of the RCSI department if they know of anyone looking for a research assistant.

If doing your research back in Montreal is important to you, look up the local medical faculty and start reading about their research interests. Once you've found 2-3 that look cool, do a pubmed search and read their recent papers. Then you write the Investigator an email saying, who you are, how interesting you found paper X or that you brought it to the attention of Prof Y, and that you'll be in Montreal over the summer and would love to help out with any research they have in the pipe. Then you list the things you can do as an Z year medical student (chart review) plus whatever skills you may have picked up along the way (vitals, bloods, lab skills, whatever...) Then you send it and see what they say. Most are thrilled to pick up a bit of free labour.