Ireland: the best-kept secret of European Higher Education

Within the world of international university advising, there are a number of Facebook groups where people post questions they need help with. Things like ‘where in the USA can my student major in pastry arts’ or ‘is there in anywhere in China that offers scholarships?’ At least once a week something on this theme comes up: “My student wants to study [insert subject here] in English but not in the UK - where can they look?” To this I am the annoying person who replies (typically after options across continental Europe have been suggested), what about Ireland?

Somehow the fact that there is an English-speaking country with a world-class university sector seems to have passed people by, which is a crying shame. Irish universities are amazing, offer high-class degrees and give students the opportunity to experience a wonderful culture in an economy that is on the up.

So, if you are convinced, where do you start?

As a starting point, the Qualifax website gives you a search tool, which can then be cross-referenced with university requirements. Like a lot of European countries, Ireland has different entry requirements for students depending on if they have an EU or non-EU passport, which is something to check.

Then, again depending on the passport, a student applies either directly to the university, or via the CAO. The CAO process though initially straightforward has some complexities to it along the way, which this video helpfully explains: https://www.cao.ie/index.php?page=video&l=102134759

And that’s about it.

So, if you want to study in Europe but find the idea of living in a country that doesn’t speak English overwhelmingly, then there is a solution and, to me, a highly attractive one.

EuropeDavid Hawkins