Chinese student speaks out about visa dilemma

Chinese woman Shunxi Yang outside DkIT

My name is Shunxi Yang. Earlier this year I was awarded a Masters in International Entrepreneurship Management from University of Limerick (UL) and I now live in Dundalk.

But under the terms of my visa I will soon have to leave a country that I have grown to love.

Many know me as ‘Casey’, a name I gave myself because some people find my Chinese name too difficult to pronounce. It’s not that hard though the phonetic pronunciation is Soon She! My friends call me Sx – or Shunxi.

I adopted Casey because it could be a name either for a girl or a boy in U.S.A. and to me it signifies a flexible and open-minded person with a belief that anything is possible.

I was unaware that it is a very common Irish name and indeed there are many Caseys around Dundalk as it is a popular local surname. Many thousands of Chinese students have lived in Dundalk in recent years and attended DKIT.

But how many people in Dundalk really know anything about us, apart from seeing us walking to college every day or shopping in supermarkets? We are here to study, learn about Ireland and improve our English.

I am originally from Chengdu, Sichuan province, China, which is also the hometown of pandas. I am one of a family of two girls, my mother is called Guangzhen Wang.

I’ve lived in Ireland for more than two and a half years I love this country. I was fortunate to make many friends in Dundalk and Limerick. Most of all I enjoy the natural views and wonderful scenery. Moreover, Irish people are generally very friendly to people from other nations.

The most important thing for me is that Ireland is more like my second homeland rather than a country that I came to as a student. I was lucky enough to live with a kind family near the Navvy Bank where I enjoy the changing landscape and the beautiful Cooley Mountains.

I love working with my hands particularly origami folding and designing with straw, a skill I learned recently on a course at Sliabh Gullion Forest Park.

I arrived in Limerick at the age of 26 to study business in Kemmy Business School in University of Limerick (UL) in 2016. I had no contacts but I ended up learning a lot about life and making lots of friends. Last but not least, I found out that what I really want in Ireland is a career in is project management (PM).

I learned how to dance in Limerick, I joined Enactus UL, a charity organisation for colleges in Ireland and I helped organise a festival for new Chinese students at UL. It was great fun time for me, making new friends and enjoying parties and trips.

However I am heartbroken that I will have to leave this country within a few months. The reason is that although I have lived and studied here, spending a great deal of money in the process, the terms of my visa mean that I must leave Ireland by December.

I have invested a lot of money in my education. There was €20,000 on my tuition fees and over €7,000 in DKIT in 2015 as a foundation student; and around €2,500 on academic English studying in UL and €12,000 for the master course. I was awarded the Kemmy Business School Scholarship, €1,500, for my masters year. A great amount of money and a lot of effort but sadly the terms of my visa mean I must now leave the country I love.

I am very attached to Ireland, speak good English, and believe that my qualifications as a business entrepreneur would be a valuable asset to an Irish company.

Without exaggeration I think Irish people I know are really open-minded, respectful and care about others. Not to say of course that China, my country, is not as good or as bad as some people might think.

In my opinion, my experience of Ireland is more like a love story. I became a better person only because I made a right decision to follow my dreams and come here at the right time in my twenties, to find myself, to explore and get along with others in the world.

To cut a long story short, Ireland helps me to be a better and happier person. Now, I want to repay the positive influences by developing my business ideas and employing Irish people.

I believe on-line business is the way of the future. Every small town and village in Ireland buy products around the world, some of the goods coming from warehouses in China and delivered by couriers or the postman to homes around Dundalk. But that is just one of my dreams.

My visa will expire in under four months time. My current visa stamp 1G, which allows me legally work in Ireland either as a part-time or full-time employee is useless because a serious employer won’t take me on if they know that I must leave the country by the end of the year.

Also I currently cannot register my own business in this lovely country under the terms of my visa.

I can of course remain if I decide to do a PhD, but this is expensive and involves significant preparations. My ambition is to make my life in Ireland, to find an employer who needs a Chinese person with fluent English or set up my own business, having learned so much here. Ireland, my second homeland, is the cradle of all my dreams and plans after all’.

You can contact Shunxi Yang by emailing:, or call the Argus at 042 9334632.

The Argus

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