Looking for the perfect place to learn English (or indeed study anything else)? Here are ten reasons for why Ireland should be at the very top of your list:
1. Rich sense of community
The Irish are some of the happiest people you’ll ever meet. Whether you’re at a hurling match, at the pub or enjoying a spring concert in the park, everyone is looking to have a laugh and enjoy themselves. Being a foreigner will only make you feel more welcomed as the Irish love to share their laughs and stories with visitors.
The Irish are also some of the most welcoming people around. Hospitality plays a large role in Irish culture, so you’ll likely get to know a lot of locals right away. Although social circles (among locals) are very solid – friendships often last a lifetime – people are also very keen to make new friends and make visitors and resident foreigners feel very welcome.
3. Dublin – a student’s city
Dublin is home to many renowned universities. It’s also home to a large international student population. If this isn’t reason enough, TopUniversities.com praises Dublin’s particularly friendly environment, great nightlife and global diversity as a constant draw for international students looking for a great opportunity to explore a growing city.
4. Visa requirements
Ireland, an EU and EEA (European Union and European Economic Area) member, allows for citizens of other EU and EEA states to travel to Ireland without a visa (you need to be registered as a student, for ex. to be able to stay longer than three months, or work). Not a citizen of an EU or EEA country? Have no fear. Ireland has agreements with numerous countries making student visa processes less complicated than you may think.
5. Understanding the accent
Understanding the Irish accent requires some extra effort. As you move from one region of Ireland to another you’ll experience different levels of the Irish accent, ranging from sweet and melodic to rather incomprehensible. Learning English in this environment will prove helpful in any other English-speaking country as it’s going to make you particularly good at deciphering even thick accents!
6. Photo-ops galore
Ireland is simply one of the most picturesque countries in Europe, and the lush countryside is particularly stunning. Littered with charming villages, rolling green hills, and wild coastlines, a road trip around Ireland makes for one endless photo-op (your Instagram account will thank you).
7. Low costs
Dublin is considerably less expensive than big metropolitan centers like London or New York, a particular perk for students who need to manage a tighter budget and find cheap accommodation, for example. For those studying English, it’s even more important to free up cash to do and experience as many things as possible while you’re there – you’ll learn as much from putting your skills to use with locals as you will from memorizing grammar rules in class.
8. Proximity to Europe
Another killer reason to study English in Ireland is how incredibly close you are to the rest of Europe. Is the Eiffel Tower on your checklist? How about Big Ben? Taking a quick flight to many of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations for a long weekend is easy (and affordable). With quick flights and some planning, you’ll be back in time to finish studying for Monday’s exams.
9. Modern meets mythic
While Irish culture holds its history in high regard, the country is also very modern and tech-savvy with any amenity you can imagine and some of the biggest tech companies headquartered in the country’s capital. It’s this mix of the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ that make Ireland particularly charming, friendly and interesting.
10. There’s a decent chance you’re part Irish
The people or Ireland have endured many periods of hardship. From the Potato Famine to bombings and typhus outbreaks during the world wars, there have been plenty of reasons for the Irish to emigrate to other countries in the past. It is for this reason that there are so many people of Irish heritage in every corner of the world – and why you might also be part-Irish (and have every reason to come live in your country of origin!).