What’s Ireland ever given the world beyond Guinness and rainy summer holidays? Lots, actually. With just 4.5 million inhabitants, Ireland is a small country that punches way above its weight when it comes to its contribution to world culture. In the last century millions of Irish people emigrated all over the world and there are now large communities who claim Irish heritage everywhere from the USA to Argentina. At the moment over a third of the Irish population is under 25, which helps make it an attractive place for students wanting to study in English close to the United Kingdom!
Why should your students consider applying to Irish universities?
Last year 35,000 international students from more than 161 countries chose Ireland for their higher education studies. What were they thinking? Well, Irish universities rank high in the world. All seven Irish public universities are within the world’s top 650 in the QS World University Rankings 2014/15, including 5 in the top 400 (Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin, University College Cork, National University of Ireland and Dublin City University). Furthermore the long history of the cities and the breath-taking beauty of the countryside are also strong arguments in favour of Ireland. Finally, the country is consistently recognized, by organizations as various as the OECD and the Lonely Planet, as one of the friendliest and safest places in the world.
With over 5,000 courses to choose from, Ireland has a wide range of studies to offer: humanities, business, sciences and vocational courses are all covered across its universities, Institutes of Technology and private colleges. The three main student cities are Dublin, Galway and Cork.
Importantly, Irish qualifications are internationally recognised. Like the UK, Ireland has a National Framework of Qualifications which helps ensure the quality, and thus maintains the recognition of Irish degrees abroad.
Practicalities: the application process, fees, visas
Citizens of the European Union are permitted to attend university in Ireland as long as they have health insurance and can prove sufficient income to live (minimum €3,000 per year). This also means that these citizens do not have to pay any tuition fees, but are requested to pay a contribution of €3,000 towards administration and exams fees. Similarly to the UK’s centralised UCAS system, all applications are made through the Central Application Office.
What is unique to Ireland?
The magazine Fortune recently named Dublin as one of the top-seven new cities worldwide for start-ups. As a matter of fact, three of Europe’s top eight accelerator programmes are in Ireland. The country has a strong entrepreneurial culture and community, which is reflected in these statistics: in 2013, 32,000 people started new business – that is an impressive 1 out of 11 adults in the country! Special visa programmes are available for entrepreneurs starting or relocating their business in Ireland. It’s not just startups that like Ireland: the biggest technology companies in the world, including Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Yahoo, all have a significant presence in Dublin. For students wanting to pursue a career in business, entrepreneurship or technology, Ireland is a great place to be!
Photo credit: Giuseppe Milo, Flickr
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