The rolling green landscapes, architecture ranging from medieval to Georgian and Victorian eras, and jagged mountain scenery aren’t the only charms of the Emerald Isle. According to the Irish Universities Association, over 32,000 students from around the world are currently studying in Ireland. Despite being a smaller island nation compared to other study abroad locations, Ireland is a popular destination for international students! So, why study in Ireland? Here are the top reasons.
Why Study Abroad in Ireland
1. Access to World-Class Education
Ireland offers some of the best education opportunities worldwide. In fact, of its nine universities, eight rank within the QS World Universities Rankings 2022! The ninth, Munster Technological University, is currently Ireland’s youngest university, beginning operations in January 2021.
This doesn’t mean Ireland is by any means new to providing world-class education. Its legacy in learning is one of the reasons why thousands migrate to study in Ireland! The oldest Irish university, Trinity College Dublin, has been in operation since 1592. Many of Ireland’s younger universities are also the result of mergers between existing institutes around for hundreds of years, getting university status more recently.
The quality of Irish higher education speaks for itself. According to QS World University Rankings by Subject, 2021, Ireland ranks:
- Six universities in the top 500 for Arts & Humanities programs
- Seven universities in the top 500 for Engineering & Technology programs
- Five universities in the top 450 for Life Sciences & Medicine programs
- Four universities in the top 450 for Natural Sciences
This means that almost all universities in Ireland compete effectively against the world’s best universities, overall and by subject! A degree from one of these universities has international recognition. You immediately set yourself apart from the crowd with your up-to-date skills and knowledge, as a graduate of an Irish university.
Alongside these universities, there are also several institutes and colleges to consider in Ireland as well.
2. Work Opportunities
Ireland’s higher education system is very responsive to emerging industry needs. Universities in Ireland structure courses and research efforts to address the real and present challenges of the economy, society, environment, and industry they operate in. Several schools thus have work placements and internships as part of their degrees. In fact, Ireland is home to one of the largest co-op (cooperative education) programs in Europe.
These initiatives extend to international students as well. As part of Ireland’s efforts to prepare international students for the working world, the Irish Universities Association created the Employable You toolkit in 2021. This toolkit helps international graduates access one-to-one support to find and take advantage of work opportunities.
Alongside work placements, full-time international students enrolled in programs of at least one year can also work without needing a permit. With a valid Stamp 2 permit, students can work a full 40 hours a week between June and August. The same applies to full-time work between 15th December and 15th January. For the rest of the year, you can work for 20 hours a week. Post-study work opportunities are available as well! With a Stamp 1G permit, a graduate can work in Ireland for up to 12 months after their program completion.
Given that Ireland’s economy is one of the EU’s fastest-growing, with a strong knowledge sector, this work experience is invaluable for international students. According to QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2020, six Irish universities appear in the top 500 for global employability!
3. Ease of Entry
Did you know that depending on your nationality, you may not need an entry visa to Ireland? If you’re an EU or EEA citizen, you don’t need an entry visa. As an international student from one of the following countries, you won’t need one either:
Antigua & Barbuda
Hong Kong (Special Admin. Region)
Macau (Special Admin. Region)
Trinidad & Tobago
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom & Colonies
United States of America
Saint Kitts & Nevis
Saint Vincent & the Grenadines
As a non-EU and non-North American international student, you need to report to an immigration officer at your entry point when landing in Ireland. You must satisfy your immigration officer’s evaluation of whether you have a valid reason for coming to Ireland. This includes proof of financial support during your time on the Emerald Isle.
For a program longer than three months, you also need to apply for permission to stay in Ireland at an immigration registration office in the district you’re in. This applies to students from visa-required as well as non-visa-required countries. Border control stamps a date onto your passport by which time you must get this done. If you exceed this time limit, you may have to leave the country. Your passport gets endorsed for the conditions and period you have authorisation for, to stay and study in Ireland.
If you’re not from one of the above countries, and not an EU or EEA citizen, you will need to apply for a student visa before arriving in Ireland. But don’t worry! Applying for an Irish student visa isn’t complicated when you know what to do.
4. Study in a Safe, Friendly Country
Ireland has low crime rates and is overall considered a very safe country. This is one of the benefits of studying in Ireland for international students, who are often travelling far from home. Not only that, but the Irish people are very friendly and welcoming. It might take you a little time to get used to the Irish twang. But as Ireland is a bilingual country and English is widely spoken, communication won’t be a problem. You’ll discover that the Irish are very fun-loving and will be happy to introduce you to their culture and activities as well as learn more about you! So grab a pint at the local pub, and get into the sports the locals love, and you’ll settle in in no time! And don’t forget, Ireland is a destination for many other international students, too. You’ll find a diverse community to get to know and be a part of here!
5. Enjoy Ireland’s Rich Culture and History
Ireland is truly a magical place. There’s something indescribably dreamy about its breath-taking natural landscape and relics of bygone eras. The Emerald Isle is a place where the past and present coexist in harmony. Historic sites, art, and literature preserve different periods and experiences throughout Ireland’s history. Meanwhile, state-of-the-art architecture and facilities give Ireland all the perks of a modern and advanced country. From its many castles, churches, museums, folktales, and gorgeous natural sceneries, down to its malls and office complexes, Ireland has a charm that is uniquely its own.
Why Study in Ireland? Our Final Thoughts
Why study in Ireland? Although Ireland is a little costlier than some English-speaking countries, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages of studying in Ireland! From top, globally recognised universities to excellent work opportunities, it is a great destination for international students. Ireland itself is a beautiful country sure to make your study abroad journey a memorable and treasured one!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is Ireland good for international students?
Absolutely! Ireland is currently hosting over 32,000 international students, according to the Irish Universities Association. Ireland has several globally competitive universities, with eight of its nine universities ranking in QS World University Rankings 2022. These universities feature prominently in QS Top Universities’ Subject Rankings 2021 as well! Graduating from these schools creates numerous opportunities for international students. These include opportunities for work experience, since work placements are often a big part of Irish university degree programs! Plus, as a graduate from a recognised university, you can apply for a Stamp 1G path to work in Ireland for a year after graduating too!