Students wanting to study for a degree in Ireland have plenty of good choices when it comes to leading universities and courses. Tens of thousands of international students from the undergraduate level to PhD head to the country each year.
But beyond a solid range of higher education institutes and affordable tuition fees, students who want to study in Ireland will also find a rich student life.
Ireland has a unique cultural history that is clear in every city and town across the country. Here, you will find both student and local cultures that make studying abroad fun, welcoming and interesting.
Whether you are heading to Dublin, Cork, Limerick or Galway, you are likely to have a positive experience when studying in Ireland. To help understand more about student life in the country, we provide a guide to different aspects of living in the country here.
Some Irish universities have been around for hundreds of years. Trinity College Dublin is the oldest institution, which opened in 1592 As a result, these well-known educational establishments have developed strong student cultures that still exist today alongside the local culture.
In many towns and cities, students have plenty of ways to become involved in the student culture of their university. Clubs and societies are available at almost every higher educational establishment.
University Clubs and Societies
One of the best ways to integrate into a university culture is to join a club or society. Often, Irish universities run a range of different clubs for new students from within the country and abroad.
Also, if you are heading to Ireland to study from overseas, you might find some clubs that specifically help and support international students.
Generally, higher education places have hundreds of different societies and clubs that students can join and sign up for at any time. Below are some of the different societies that are at most Irish universities and colleges.
- American Football
- Card Games
- Gaelic Football
- Table Tennis
But the exact societies on offer will vary depending on your location of study. Most university websites have information about the clubs you can join once you have arrived at your institution.
However, you can often explore, browse and sign up for a preferred club during the Freshers Fair, which usually runs at most universities just before the first semester.
The Freshers Fair is where existing clubs, societies and services are set up to provide information and support for new students. Here, you can also find out more about student services and support outside of your educational course.
In addition, many universities have bars, discos and cafes on site or around the town or city where they are based. Some institutions even have small cinemas and theatres to provide plenty of term time entertainment for students.
Even outside of the university setting and society, you are likely to find further entertainment and social opportunities in the local city or town. The larger cities in Ireland have exciting nightlife with plenty of pubs, discos and live music events happening throughout the year.
As Ireland and many Irish people are obsessed with sports, you can often head to a local stadium to take in the atmosphere and cheer on the local team. Some of the most popular sports in Ireland include Gaelic Football, rugby and football. Alternatively, many pubs and bars show international sports on TV.
If you want to move to Ireland to complete your degree, you will likely have to arrange accommodation for your stay. However, international students have a range of accommodation options available.
Often, these options range widely in cost too so you should have plenty of options regardless of your financial situation. Here, we look at some of the different housing options if you move to Ireland to study.
On campus accommodation is where you stay on the site of your chosen university or college. Usually, you will have a private bedroom and share kitchen and bathroom areas with two-eight other students. However, this could be more or less depending on your location of study.
Some universities include the cost of bills for heating and electricity in their accommodation costs. But to find out exactly what is included in your on campus payment, you should have information from your institution.
In Ireland, all students pay for their on campus accommodation in two instalments. The first is paid before the first semester in September and the second in February.
Overall, there are plenty of positives about on campus living. You are close to all your resources, lectures and seminars and it is a great place to meet like-minded students. However, applying early is important once you have secured your place on a course because on campus living is popular in Ireland.
Off campus living is where students live within the city or town away from the university or college. Some institutions do not have main campuses in Ireland and some have many different buildings and mini-campuses spread out throughout the town or city.
There are some different ways to live off campus. First, you can find a house or apartment that you share with other students. Sometimes, these are rented through the university, but others are provided by private landlords or owners. Prices of student houses can vary a lot, but it is generally cheaper than living in on campus accommodation.
Secondly, you can rent a private apartment or house individually or with other students. However, this is likely to be the more expensive option compared to the others.
Again, there are good points about renting off campus accommodation in Ireland. Often, you have a good chance to explore the local culture and it can save you money. However, you could be far away from the resources of the main campus.
Another aspect of student life in Ireland is finding part-time or casual whilst living in the country. A lot of international and native students work alongside their studies to help pay for living costs and leisure activities.
However, not all students can work alongside their degree whilst studying in Ireland. Also, some students may be limited to only 20 hours of work per week as part of their student visa when entering the country.
If you want to find paid work whilst completing your course in Ireland, you should check the conditions of your visa first. But, the following requirements are generally needed for degree programme students looking who want casual work.
- You must be registered with the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB).
- Your cost must be a recognised course by the Minister for Education & Skills.
- Your course must be full-time and at the level of NFQ 7 or higher.
- You must be working at least 15 hours of study per week towards your course.
- Your course must cover tuition for at least 25 weeks of the year between the hours of 8 a.m and 6 p.m.
- Your course must last for at least one year. Students on shorter courses or visas may not be able to work.
Other than excellent educational establishments and access to good higher education opportunities, students that visit Ireland can travel around the historic country in term time or during the holidays.
The country is well connected through a series of modern motorways. In addition, travel around the country is fairly priced and students can often access various discounts when travelling by bus or train.
Today, the following public transport companies offer discounts to students who have proof of their student identity.
- Dublin Bus
- Irish Rail
- Bus Éireann
Also, a discount card is available exclusively for international students in Ireland. The International Student identity card (ISIC) provides lower-cost travel on Irish Rail, Dublin Bus, DART and LUAS. But you can also get further discounts in retail shops all across Ireland.
The ISIC costs €17 for a virtual and plastic car. However, it is only available for students on full-time courses.
Is Ireland a good place for students?
Ireland is a good place for students to study because it has excellent educational facilities and a welcoming, friendly culture.
What is student life like in Dublin?
Dublin is Ireland’s biggest city and it accepts students positively because four universities are located here. Overall, Dublin has something for every student. There is exciting nightlife with lots of pubs and discos. But, students can also find lots of alternative entertainment like cinemas, games, activities and cafes.
What accommodation is available in Ireland for students?
Students travelling to Ireland can arrange on campus or off campus accommodation. Your choice will depend on what experience you want (shared with other students or not) and your available budget.