When you think of Dublin, visions of shamrocks, leprechauns, and beautiful green landscapes dance through your head. But, Ireland has more to offer teen study abroad students than it’s super-cool accent. It’s also home to some of the greatest artists, poets, and thinkers of all time (you know, like the ones you read about in English class last year… and the year before… oh, and this year!). So, if you’re looking for a well rounded high school experience abroad, Dublin is the city for you. Hold onto your knickers and get ready for a whale of a time — reading this guide is your first step to high school abroad in Dublin.
What You Need to Know to Do High School Programs in Dublin
There is no better way to prepare you for the next stage of life (*cough* college) than to spend some time abroad as a high school student. Not only will it be a fun, exciting, challenging experience for you, but you will make your parents proud and impress future admissions officers with your worldly knowledge and experiences. Huzzah!
Popular high school programs in Dublin. Most teens do community service and volunteering and experiential learning programs while doing high school abroad in Ireland. If you want a more immersive experience, consider participating in homestays or exchange student programs, which allow you to live with an Irish family or attend a regular Irish high school. Since English is their primary language, communication barriers should be few and far between (save for the craic here and there). Don’t nod off in class just yet, though — you’ll need to be prepared for different customs and culture.
How long are typical high school programs in Ireland? Programs are designed to give you the full benefit of living and learning in another country, whether it is for a couple of weeks or an extended period. The most important consideration after choosing a program is duration. Typical short term programs for high school in Dublin range from 1-2 weeks, 2-4 weeks, or 5-8 weeks — perfect for your summer break. The pros of short term programs include lower cost and less time commitment, while the cons include fewer experiences/chances to eat fish and chips.
Longer term programs for high school in Dublin include can last from a full semester to a full year. The bennies? Long term programs include invaluable learning experience about the particular topic you choose to explore, total immersion in another culture for an extended time, and most importantly, learning more about yourself than you could from a shorter stint abroad. On the downside, you might incur a higher program cost and more severe bouts of homesickness. Trust us when we say the rewards of long-term programs far outweigh the costs!
Teen Life in Dublin
Honestly, you won't have to worry about becoming homesick during your high school program in Dublin because you will be too busy! Its’ welcoming atmosphere is rich in culture and has a thriving art scene that guarantees that you will never be bored.
Dublin has plenty of trendy shops, craft markets, cafes, restaurants, and live music to experience. Or — instead — why not spend your free time outdoors? Dublin is home to the largest enclosed city park in Europe. Grab your weekender bag because day trips or weekend getaways to other Irish cities, such as Cork, Waterford, Limerick, Galway, and the Cliffs of Moher, are totally worth your time.
Teens in Dublin are smartphone obsessed, making them similar creatures to teens most everywhere — you will likely fit right in. Music, movies, and television are other popular pastimes for teens in Dublin; but, when you aren’t attached to your electronics, plan to explore the National Museums, churches, numerous parks, or attend the theater or a sporting event. You may not be much of an athlete at your high school, but you’ll love trying local sports like gaelic football, rugby, and hurling. They’re pretty much a way of life here.
GoAbroad’s Inside Scoop for High School Students in Dublin
Dublin is known for it’s charming and charismatic people (they’ll go out of their way to make you feel like one of their own!), but there are a few things you should know about their culture so you don’t quickly become the butt-end of their teasing.
Every country has it’s silly stereotypes — Ireland included. Pro tip? Talking about them with the locals is a surefire way to get you booted elsewhere. You surely don’t want to say, “Top of the morning to you!” if you are trying to start up a conversation, or pinch every person who isn’t donning green. Instead, ask questions, be thoughtful and curious, and debunk your expectations vs. the reality of modern Irish life.
Dublin is a city of old and new. No matter which high school program in Dublin you choose, expect it to be a life changing experience. You will return transformed, having gained maturity, new passions, critical new skills, and a great sense of independence. Most importantly, you’ll have a killer Irish accent impression. We mean, uh, you’ll be ultra-prepared for college. Have a blast doing high school abroad in Ireland!
For even more green-in-the-face, in-depth info, be sure to read our comprehensive guide on high school programs in Ireland.