Why Consider Winter Semester Ireland Study Abroad Programs?

While the rest of your school is heading home for break, you could be heading out on an adventure through winter semester Ireland study abroad programs. Winter session programs are often shorter than others, which may make them a perfect match for students who are looking to study abroad but with less of a time commitment. Additionally, these programs could be great for students who struggle to fit a study abroad experience within their class schedule. While these programs are condensed, they may still give students a taste of Irish culture. Whether through planned excursions or unplanned moments with your peers, selecting from one of the Winter Semester Ireland Study Abroad Programs could be a great chance for international exploration.

Why Pursue Winter Semester Ireland Study Abroad Programs?

Many students might find it hard to fit a study abroad experience into their academic schedule. A winter semester in Ireland could be the answer! During the school year, you may not want to miss out on important classes (or time with friends). Summers, as well, may be full of family vacations and internships. Winter semesters may not have those conflicts! In addition to convenient timing, these programs may also be appealing to those looking for a shorter study abroad program. Going abroad for an entire year or for a semester may seem daunting, especially for students who have never been away from home before. Winter Session programs are often shorter and could be a great length for first time travelers. The duration of available winter semester programs varies, so be sure to check with your intended program.

By pursuing a study abroad winter semester in Ireland, you could have the chance to explore Ireland during one of its most festive seasons and earn valuable credits to potentially be applied at your home university.  Check with your school to see if your intended program qualifies for credits. Winter Session Ireland study abroad programs may have many opportunities to enhance your studies. You could explore your concentration from an Irish perspective and broaden your knowledge and skills in the process.

For example, history majors could research the many ancient cultural sites scattered throughout Ireland, like Blarney Castle and the Rock Cashel. Or, music majors might attend performances of traditional Irish music featuring native instruments like the tin whistle and the bodhrán. And don’t forget the English majors, who could learn more about Irish writers like James Joyce and Samuel Beckett. No matter what your interests, the experiences you might have during your winter session could expand your knowledge for when you return home – that is, if you don’t end up staying for another semester!

Staying Warm During Ireland's Winter

A great thing about study abroad winter semester in Ireland – it doesn’t get too cold! Snow is a rare sight to see on the Emerald Isle. It does get a little chilly, though, so in addition to bringing a light jacket, you might want to dig into some of Ireland’s heartier delicacies. Don’t expect to sit down to corned beef and cabbage every night – that’s not even an Irish recipe!

Instead, pork is a major part of the Irish diet and many dishes include rashers (also known as back bacon), which is a thicker, leaner cut of bacon. Its salty flavor is great with cabbage or even on a breakfast sandwich! Rashers are also part of a traditional Irish breakfast, known as a “fry.” Irish breakfasts typically include baked beans, grilled tomatoes, fried eggs, and black pudding. What is black pudding, exactly? It’s an earthy type of sausage that’s filled with meat, oats, and spices. You might not want to tell your friends about the secret ingredient in this dish – pig’s blood! It’s definitely for the more adventurous eaters.

For something a little more familiar, try a heaping helping of Shepherd’s Pie. No, it’s not sweet like apple pie! Shepherd’s pie is a savory dish filled with stewed lamb and beef. Instead of a crust, the filling is typically sealed under a layer of mashed potatoes which gets toasty and crunchy when baked in the oven. A couple plates of that might help shake off some of the winter chill.

As an added note, people say that a pint of Guinness tastes best in Ireland. It couldn’t hurt to test that theory. The proof is in the pint! To try the freshest pint, you could visit the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin. You might even learn how to pour the “perfect stout!”

Once your belly is full, Ireland provides a multitude of sites and activities for you to see and do. You could head up to Belfast, located in Northern Ireland, to visit the Titanic museum. Much of the city’s own history is tied up with the infamous ocean liner, giving this museum a unique perspective! Spend the day learning about everything from the ship’s creation, to its launch, to its untimely demise.

Those who love the outdoors could spend time exploring Killarney National Park. Not only could you see some grand views from the top of Ireland’s tallest mountain range, but you might also stop by some of its historical sites throughout your trek. If food is still on your mind, though, Cork’s delectable English Market is nearby and could provide you with enough seasonal, artisanal treats to last your entire program!

Check with your intended program to see if they have any planned excursions to these and other locations. Or do a little research and plan your own with new friends!

Next Steps for An Irish Winter Semester

Pack your coat and get ready for your study abroad winter semester in Ireland! Keep scrolling down this page to view a list of potential programs. To request more information from a program, click their link and select “request info.” Looking for a specific concentration? No worries! Using the menu on this page, select your preferred specialty to further refine your list. Good luck!

  • CISabroad

  • National University of Ireland, Galway