As they say in Gaelic: céad míle fáilte (a hundred thousand welcomes). Welcome to the Emerald Isle, which will greet you with Irish warmth and hospitality that will follow you throughout your study abroad experience. In addition to surrounding yourself with some of the friendliest people in the world, choosing to study abroad in Ireland will provide you with world-class education and learning opportunities to compliment any area of study. When thinking about ancient castles, academic greats, literary giants, free national museums, and everything else it has to offer, there’s more reasons to study abroad in Ireland than there are sheep in its pastures.
With Irish pride running strong (for good reason!), you will find a warm welcome no matter where you decide to hit the textbooks. Between the interesting, long histories of Irish cities and the beautiful, lush scenes of the countryside, it will be hard to find anywhere less than postcard-perfect to study abroad in Ireland.
Dublin, once voted the friendliest metropolis in Europe, is the vibrant capital of Ireland. It is home to many great academic institutions, including the world-famous Trinity College (founded in 1592 and ranked as one of the world’s top 100 universities). The city provides plenty of opportunities for education outside of the classroom as well, with free admission to all national museums and galleries for students! The learning doesn’t stop there though; students can get a supplementary lesson if they visit the Guinness Storehouse, where they’ll be taught how to pour the perfect pint!
Galway is a coastal city often called the cultural capital of Ireland, which makes for an excellent place for people to chill with some leprechauns, partake in a tabletop jig, and check out the modern art scene. This student city blends an authentic, traditional feel with a contemporary vibe, which is exemplified by street performers and pubs that line the cobblestone alleyways. When you get tired of Gallway (hah!), you can take a day trip to the Cliffs of Moher or a hike on the Clare Peninsula, where sea and sky merge into one zen setting.
Ireland’s “rebel city”, Cork, buzzes with a lively and youthful energy that draws trend-setters, hardcore-academics, and artists into the limelight. Cork offers plenty of activities outside of the classroom, such as the Cork International Short Story Fest and Cork Culture Fest. It also boasts the world's’ “best side street,” where you can check off all your shopping, sipping, and snacking needs. During exam periods, students can take a trip to the Blarney Castle where they can kiss the Blarney Stone for good luck on the next test!
Studying Abroad in Ireland
Ireland is known for its reputable education system, with top universities throughout the country. Most schools are recognized for many different programs, offering excellent educational opportunities for almost all areas of study. While you can’t go wrong with any major of study in Ireland, there are a few programs that will be even more beneficial to study in the context of the Irish people, history, and current affairs.
English and literature are two of the most popular majors of study in ireland, with a love for the written word dating back many-a-year. Whether you want to embark an odyssey with James Joyce or want to reflect on life with Oscar Wilde, you’ll be in good company with the island’s long list of notable authors and playwrights.
Technology and engineering are completely underrated majors when people think about study abroad in Ireland. Surprisingly, Ireland is home to quite a few big tech company headquarters, including Google, Apple, and Facebook, which means great opportunities to learn and make connections. Effective networking (and maybe finding a four leaf clover!) could lead to great internship and job opportunities after study abroad in Ireland, so get your geek on and make some new techie friends.
History and art history are also popular subjects of study in Ireland, thanks to the extensive Irish history. With over 30,000 castles scattered across the country, students will feel like they have stepped into the pages of their textbooks. If that’s not enough, the museums in Ireland are are a history lover’s dream, with items like the Book of Kells at Trinity College and the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin. Students can supplement their required readings with great field trip excuses, and they’ll never think of the past or serious paintings as boring again.
Scholarships & Costs
Unless you found that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, the cost of study abroad in Ireland might be a bit of a concern. The good news is, Ireland is considered to be slightly more reasonably priced than study abroad at comparable schools in England, and many other European destinations. However, tuition costs will depend on many factors, including citizenship, the university, and the program students choose. Tuition costs in Ireland are often comparable to students’ home universities, especially if there is an exchange program already arranged between the two schools.
The daily costs of living can be a bit expensive, but there are some great alternatives to keep things affordable. The average plate of meat and potatoes at the restaurant will be around $10, a pint will set you back $4, and your friendly DART service charges $2.50 per ride. Shopping at dollar stores or value grocery markets (Lidl!) can help student’s stick to a budget. Likewise, be sure to scout out transportation discounts online, as there are some great offers that will make the long bus rides seem less daunting for your wallet. Entertainment costs can vary greatly in Ireland, but there are plenty of cheap or free activities to enjoy throughout the year. Even if you go on a hike every weekend, you won’t get to see all of the beautiful nature Ireland has to offer, so don’t hold back!
To make study abroad in Ireland even more affordable, check out scholarship opportunities and enjoy your scholastic experience (and pints of Guinness!) with ease of mind.
Accommodation & Visas
The logistics for studying abroad in Ireland can be fairly easy. Students have many options when it comes to housing, including options that will be similar to what they are used to at home. The visa process required for international students to study in Ireland is relatively easy with lots of instruction and help available, even for non-EU citizens.
Most students who study in Ireland choose to live in residence halls or student apartments. These housing options are often included as part of packaged study abroad programs and located on or near campus. Both of the latter housing options are great ways to get to know other students from Ireland and beyond, giving you an instant group of friends for Irish festivities!
Another accommodation option for students studying abroad in Ireland is to participate in a homestay program and live with a local family. Homestays will give students the opportunity to experience Irish hospitality first-hand. Study abroad programs in Ireland will often work with students to help them organize this option, if they do not already offer it as an alternative. We highly recommend the cultural immersion that it comes with staying with a local family!
The visa process required to study abroad in Ireland depends on your country of citizenship. Those who do need to apply for a visa can do so online, through the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service. Students will need to provide documents, such as their letter of acceptance, evidence that their fees have been paid in full, and copies of their passport, to apply. For more information on the visa process, visit the GoAbroad Embassy Directory.
Benefits & Challenges
Excellent Education. As a country that is known for reputable universities and brilliant professors, studying abroad in Ireland will set students up for success. The educational experience is made even stronger by all of the incredible literature legends and fascinating history of Ireland. Since Ireland is a popular study abroad location, students are also able to interact with people from all over the world, making connections that will benefit them long into their future.
The Luck of the Irish. While Gaelic is the first official language of Ireland, English is more widely used in universities and throughout the country. That means the only Gaelic you will need to know when you study abroad in Ireland is Sláinte! However, for language lovers, there’s also a great opportunity to unearth some treasures about this lyrical language that has been enchanting maidens and knights for centuries.
The Emerald Isle provides the perfect pairing of strong academics and social bliss for the perfect study abroad experience. With endless opportunities to learn in and out of the classroom and engage in extracurriculars, students will thank their lucky shamrocks they decided to study abroad in Ireland!