What is a study abroad program?
Study abroad is a program often organised through a university or college, presenting students with an opportunity to live and study in a foreign country while attending a tertiary level institute or language school there. Students can spend up to one year studying abroad and these programs are targeted primarily at studying through that country’s official language and often includes opportunities for work or volunteer experiences. In many cases, students are placed with a host family to further enhance their immersion in the culture and develop their language skills. Alternatively, other programs simply provide a room or apartment for a student, or assist them in finding suitable accommodation provided they are legally entitled to live without supervision. Secondary level students are usually required to live with a host family or in supervised living quarters.
Is studying abroad for up to a year worth it?
There are so many worthwhile reasons to travel to a foreign country to study for an undergraduate or postgraduate qualification or, as part of your current academic program. The vast majority of students find that it is a positive and beneficial experience helping you to achieve a higher standard of education, increase your employability and develop you as a more independent person. Below are some of the reasons why you should seriously consider studying abroad in Ireland:
10 benefits you will gain on a one-year Study Abroad English Programme in Ireland
#1 Learn to Speak English More Accurately and Fluently
English is now the main language of entertainment, culture and business globally, which means that being able to understand and speak the language gives you an advantage in your personal and professional life. Ireland, being the largest native English speaking country in the EU offers a wonderful opportunity to study, work and live your life through English on a daily basis for up to a year, who knows? Maybe longer.
General English courses prepare students in a multicultural environment through language analysis and practical application in friendly and comfortably sized high tech. class rooms, or should you prefer face to face, with your own teacher. The classes facilitate improvement through participation and students are guided through the CEFR rated levels (Common European framework) enabling the learners to participate confidently in everyday activities while living in Ireland.
At an individual level, guidance is given to assist in overcoming obstacles to learning and using English more confidently. Once a satisfactory level of English has been attained, students are encouraged to join an examination preparation course certified by Cambridge University or IELTS. These certifications are recognised worldwide and essential in many cases for visas, undergraduate/post graduate applications and employment requirements.
#2 Discover Ireland’s Welcome
Being comfortable, happy and settled where you live when studying or working abroad is often just as important as the qualification/results you seek to achieve. Irish people are sociable and hospitable by nature, we are proud of our country, culture and traditions, and delighted to share these with visitors. Internationally, we are known for our unique entertainment and love to celebrate life through our very own sports, music, dance and stories. You too can share in this experience and attend or even participate in events such as Halloween, St Patricks day or native sports, all firmly rooted in our origins.
#3 Make New Friends and Develop New Interests
One of the great attractions of studying English in Ireland is the opportunity to make new friends, often from quite different cultures and backgrounds. International student numbers from non-European economic areas have increased in Ireland by 45% since 2013 (European Migration Network). This multicultural mix helps to broaden your global perspectives and develop a new international network, not just now, but for the future. Living and studying English in Ireland invites you and your new friends the chance to experience the aforementioned social and cultural activities together, and also some which are more physically demanding such as hillwalking, surfing, windsurfing or mountain biking, to name but a few, on the edge of Europe.
#4 Enjoy the Urban and Rural Mix
Ireland’s main cities and principal urban areas are relatively small in comparison to their European counterparts and certainly so, when compared to Asian urban environments. However, they are brimming with restaurants, cafes, bars and entertainment, as well as food markets, large supermarkets and shopping malls/centres. Transport systems are excellent between urban areas and taxi services are reliable and cheap. Employment rates are high and internet connectivity is 4G/5G, which enables many to work/study from home comfortably, if required. Just as important, Ireland is a very safe place to live, ranking within the top 15 safest places to live in the World in 2019 (Global Peace Index). This lack of Urban sprawl means you do not have to travel far from a city or town centre to discover Ireland’s rural environments or, the ‘country’ as it is known in Ireland. Small towns and villages dot the countryside and still preserve a tremendous sense of community and belonging. These people are the heart of Ireland’s communal past and present, preserving our traditions. The landscape varies from lush green fields, open bogs, rolling hills and of course, miles of wild Atlantic coastline. A Great chance to meet the locals and see the sights.
#5 A Gateway to Europe and the World
Ireland may be an Island on the edge of Europe but it is very much integrated into European and North American business and culture, maintaining this bond with reliable affordable airline services and great connectivity. Most of the he UK is within a direct two hour plane journey and almost all of Europe can be reached directly in a few hours. North America is the next stop westwards and Ireland has up to 20 direct daily flights to the main cities in the US and Canada. A great opportunity to spread your wings and visit our neighbours during your free time and take a break from your busy schedule.
#6 Discover New Life Skills
Living abroad as a student is the perfect way to learn to live independently, helping you to adapt to, and overcome challenges that you encounter. This experience is invaluable in life and an opportunity that probably would not be so readily available to you at home. The daily chores of life such as cooking, cleaning, financial management and time-keeping become your responsibility and these life skills will serve you well for the rest of your life.
#7 Top Level Education
Ireland currently sits in the top 13 for education (IMB World Competitiveness Ranking 2020), delivering one of the best education systems currently available worldwide. Irish Universities and Institutes offer a varied range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees and are now hold the largest number of Native English speaking Institutes in the EU. All of the degrees and English language qualifications are certified and recognised under European Union regulations and are globally-recognised qualifications. These qualifications are invaluable in career development in an ever increasing global economy.
#8 Career Pathways
Ireland is now home to many International information and bio-medical companies as well as International financial institutions, many of whom have their international headquarters here. These companies gladly avail of Irish and international qualified talent and many offer internships and even full-time positions to foreign students. Such numerous employment opportunities would be relatively hard to find in most countries, which is a huge incentive for those who choose to live and study English here.
#9 Become More Employable
The life, English language and work skills that you acquire in Ireland will definitely make you a more attractive proposition for future employers as they see these experiences as transferrable into a diverse range of positions including management, communication, language, business and diplomacy. This is your chance to add to that resume and let your actions speak for themselves.
#10 Gain a Work Visa
The Irish Government through the department of Naturalisation and Immigration offers foreign students the chance to work and study in Ireland, enabling you to further your academic qualifications, earn money, improve your English language skills and of course, further your career prospects. After completion of your study in Ireland, it is possible to apply for residency should you secure contractual full-time employment. In recent years, thousands of residence permits have been granted to eligible students (European Migration Service).