Studying Abroad – UK
If you are currently living in Ireland and thinking of doing a third-level course in Northern Ireland (NI) or elsewhere in the United Kingdom (UK) there is a very wide range of courses available.
Many people choose to study in the UK because a particular course is not available in Ireland or because the entry requirements are easier. Others want to have the experience of studying outside Ireland.
Before you apply you should find out about the different structures and costs, in particular fees and living costs. For example, there are different fee arrangements within the UK. The United Kingdom (UK) includes England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Most UK undergraduate courses last 3 years but in Scotland they last 4 years. In addition the application process starts earlier than in Ireland.
This means you should begin looking at courses at least 12 months before you plan to start studying. The application procedure for all UK undergraduate courses is the same (see below for further details).
Finding a Course
If you do not know the course you wish to study or if you want to find out about different courses or colleges there are useful online resources to guide you. The British Council website Education UK allows you to search for undergraduate and postgraduate courses on a particular subject, in a particular university or in a specific area such as Northern Ireland.
It contains a summary of information about each college or university with contact details and you can make online request for brochures about the courses. It also has general information about living in the UK including accommodation and working while studying.
You can find information about UK higher education institutions and courses on the GOV.UK website.
Ask Ms. Collins for more information about applying to UCAS.
Studying Abroad – Europe
Increasing numbers of Irish school-leavers are opting to apply to degree programmes in Europe. Why are they doing this?
Programmes are Taught in English
Students can study degree programmes in a full range of subjects, through the English language. The lectures are in English, books are in English, projects are in English and all of your classmates … wherever they come from … are fluent in English.
In addition, the young people of Europe are fluent in English, particularly in most countries in Northern Europe. In any event, the language of employment – in Science, IT, Engineering and Business – is increasingly English, so many local students are now studying through English, to boost their own employment prospects.
Places are Available
Universities are actively seeking UK and Irish students. Places are available on degree programmes, in a wide range of disciplines: including Health Sciences, Arts & Humanities, Life Sciences, Social Sciences, Engineering & IT and Business.
Realistic Entry Requirements
Entry requirements are invariably lower, often significantly, than those being set by Irish and UK universities.
This is not a reflection of quality, though note that nine Dutch universities are higher-ranked than Trinity College, Dublin.
It is a simply an indicator that, in Ireland and the UK, our third-level education system is under pressure, as more and more students chase a small number of places in our universities.
Free or Low Fees
The cost of attending many universities is often much lower than registering for an equivalent programme in Ireland or the UK.
There are no fees for UK and Irish students studying in the four Scandinavian countries, or Germany. In the Netherlands, fees are just over €2000 pa. Fees are also low in Italy.
In addition, where there are fees, some countries offer Tuition Fee Loans, which cover these fees, with generous repayment terms. Other countries, subject to conditions, offer loans or grants to contribute to living expenses.
Irish students who are qualified for Maintenance Grants can take them with them, to public programmes in Continental Europe.
Quality of the Education
Of course, this is what it is all about.
Even with all the other advantages, you need to be sure that, by studying abroad, you will be receiving an education that is of good quality. Reassuringly, these programmes are offered by some of Europe’s leading Research Universities as well as some excellent Universities of Applied Sciences and University Colleges, which are career-oriented institutions
Going to university, whether at home or abroad, isn’t just about studying. By studying in another country, you will have a fantastic opportunity to experience a different culture and lifestyle, and acquire levels of self-confidence and self-knowledge which are unlikely to get at home.
If you are independent-minded, with a sense of adventure and a bit of initiative, studying abroad is a life-changing experience.
Create a Unique Selling Point
Studying for your undergraduate programme abroad will ensure your CV is unique. In a global employment market, employers are increasingly looking for key personnel with international perspectives, experience and networks.
See Ms. Collins for more information on studying in Europe.