The Luck of the Irish
Most people associate Transylvania with Dracula, but most people are bloody wrong. Bram Stoker, the author of the novel, hailed not from the dim, grim gray landscape of an 'ania, but from the lush green loveliness of Dublin, Ireland. Through study abroad in Ireland programs, many students have discovered there's a lot more to learn about this fascinating country - so why haven't you? What exactly are you waiting for?
After all, just because you rock the latest U2 album on your iPod, or read a bunch of James Joyce, or dated a redhead, doesn't mean you're down with Irish culture. Ireland has a lot more to offer than great music, Nobel Prize-winning authors and...wait for it...the crowning achievement of Irish culture, that's right... River Dance!
Why Study Abroad in Ireland
Study abroad in Ireland and be welcomed by a warm, hospitable population that will share its lengthy history, vibrant culture and stunning landscape.
Colleges and universities in Ireland place great responsibility for learning on the student. Don't expect many weekly assignments and exams-you will learn in large lectures and smaller tutorials and labs. As cool as not having those assignments sounds, if you decide to study abroad in Ireland you need to work hard to structure your own reading and research.
Higher education in Ireland is internationally ranked and has been committed to excellence for centuries:
- Trinity College in Dublin, the country's oldest college, was established in 1592
- Students are encouraged to be critical thinkers and innovators
- You'll have plenty of study fields to choose from, particularly:
If environmental studies is your thing, then a study abroad program in Ireland will be a dream come true! After all, Ireland was formed by volcanic eruptions and extreme weather, only to become the flourishing green country you've seen in pictures and images, with the awesome castles seeming to burrow out of the grass.
But environmental studies is kind of obvious, right? Okay, so what may surprise you is that Ireland is a popular study abroad destination for technology students:
- Ireland can be thanked for 25 percent of Europe's computers
- Nobody exports more computer software worldwide than Ireland
- Irish cities are the European headquarters of big-shot technology companies like IBM, Dell, Motorola and Google
That's a pretty impressive resume for a little island in the North Atlantic!
But if the slow evolution of history is more your speed than the zippy revolutions of technology, Ireland's long and sometimes tumultuous past will fascinate you. Students who study abroad in Ireland and focus on history will find the country teeming with must-sees:
- Travel to the town of Limerick to check out the former Viking fortress, with its historic castles, walls and museums
- Roam Dublin's National Museum of Ireland for archaeology and history exhibits
- The Newgrange Neolithic Passage Tomb, at 50,000 years old, is older than the Pyramids
History and Irish studies students alike will want to visit the medieval town of Kilkenny. And no, that's not a South Park reference! Kilkenny was established in the 6th century by early Christians, and students can explore Kilkenny Castle, Kyteler's Inn and Kilkenny College.
Whether you're a city dweller or a 'culchie' (country person), you'll take advantage of every moment when you study abroad in Ireland. Most people want to climb up Blarney Castle to get a stunning view and to 'kiss the Blarney Stone.' It's a local legend that getting up close and personal with the stone will give you the 'gift of eloquence.' Now that's what we at StudyAbroad.com call tonsil hockey!
Here are some other reasons why study abroad programs in Ireland are so popular and why thousands of tourists hit up the country each year:
- The majestic Cliffs of Moher, on the coast of West Clare, will give you a spectacular view from the 19th century O'Brien's Tower
- Ireland is famous for more than just potatoes - of course you can try the fish and chippers, but don't miss out on the lamb and delicious stews
- The country's castles are legendary and its architecture represents a variety of eras and styles
If you study abroad in Ireland, odds are you won't want to limit yourself to all things 'touristy.' Irish culture has influenced so many other cultures, giving us visions of leprechauns, fairies and pots of gold. But the fun to be had on the 'Emerald Isle' is anything but make-believe:
- Take in an evening of 'ceili,' featuring traditional Irish music and dance
- Enjoy some recreation in the town of Kerry at the Killarney Lakes
- Experience the underwater landscape and creatures of Ireland by diving off the South West Coast
And make sure you visit Northern Ireland as well (which is a part of the United Kingdom). Pay special attention to the city of Belfast, where the nightlife has been budding for years. Belfast is small enough to walk on foot, so be sure to stroll past the more than 20,000 roses in the International Rose Garden. Plus, back in the Republic of Ireland, Dublin and its pubs, cafes and clubs are crawling with students, while in the capital city, you can grab a 'jar' (pint) with a friend at 'the Local,' or the nearest pub. And nab some souvenirs for your buddies back home at the Guinness Hopstore!
Students from all over the world are drawn to Ireland when it comes time to make their decision about where to study abroad. Maybe it's the abundance of nightlife opportunities. Maybe it's the tourist attractions. Maybe it's the superb education they receive. Maybe it's the fact that it's another country, but English is spoken. Why don't you study abroad in Ireland and find out for yourself?