Ireland is a small country with a huge reputation. This divided country is filled with gorgeous countryside, wonderful people, and a vast history that spans beyond St. Patrick's day. The similar language and traditions make Ireland a popular place for high school students to study abroad.
Parents can rest assured knowing that the similarities of language make Ireland a friendly place and easier for students to make adjustments to life abroad.
Ireland is great for students who want to spend a full year abroad, get to know their Irish heritage, study up on history or literature, or for first time travelers.
For a high school abroad trip to Ireland, popular destinations include:
For more help on choosing where to go, I'd suggest reading our article on where in Ireland you should study abroad.
Academic Year Abroad
Students will attend a local high school and take courses with local students, allowing you to broaden your horizons by immersing fully into daily Irish life. Just as with high school at home, you'll study a variety of different subjects and make friends that will last a lifetime.
Most students who choose to spend a full academic year doing high school in Ireland will also live with a host family, which will give you even more insight into day to day life in Ireland and get to know the country well.
Similar to a year abroad, students will live with a host family and attend a local high school. The only difference is the time is almost cut directly in half. This is a great way to ease into life abroad and what it is like to go to high school in a different country.
From youth empowerment programs to teen travel opportunities, Ireland has many different programs that allow students to take a few weeks out of the summer to explore the country with people from all over the globe. Through these programs, students can see a large amount of Ireland in a short period of time and learn through hands-on experience instead of behind a desk.
Generally, these summer programs either involve a travel component (teen travel programs) or taking a course at one of Ireland's universities -- which students can get college credit for.
Planning Your Trip
A visa is not required for stays under 90 days. However, a student visa is required for any stay longer than 90 days. Remember that Ireland is divided, the north is a part of the United Kingdom and the south is part of Europe. However, both require a student visa after 90 days residing in the country. The visa can be applied for online before your trip and assistance is often given from programs throughout the process.
Most programs have students living with a host family. All host families are carefully screened and selected to make sure they are the best fit for their student.
Other programs, like teen travel programs, that have more traveling will have a combination of hotels, youth hostels, and host families depending on the program and length of the trip.
For summer study abroad programs that involve taking courses at local Irish universities, students will likely have the option to stay in a dorm. However, if they prefer to live with a host family, third party organizations like Homestay.com can help organize this.
Even though some meals and housing are included in post program fees, it's recommended to have a daily budget of around 40 euro (or 40 pounds) for personal expenses and other activities. Do keep in mind, however, that the northern part of Ireland -- as part of the UK -- uses the pound, while the southern half uses the euro. Fluctuation in exchange rates could impact your budget.
Program costs can range from $10,000 to $20,000 depending on how long the program is and the type of program you chose. Airfare is not generally included, however, flying to Ireland can be pretty inexpensive for international flights. You can find a ticket to Dublin for as little as $500, though you should certainly double check with a flight finder like Student Universe for more exact numbers (also, be sure to take advantage of flight discounts for travelers under 26 years old!).
Ireland is cold and rainy for the most part, so don't forget a raincoat with a hood and good, waterproof shoes. The average temperature is in the mid 50's so long pants and long sleeve shirts and lots of layers is always a good idea. The warmest months are July and August which average around 70 degrees fahrenheit.
Cell Phone Plans
For short stays, it's recommended that you purchase a SIM card on arrival at the airport to use in your phone (most newer smartphones are now unlocked for international usage, but you can check with your carrier by calling / popping by the store to make sure) and to avoid a (pricey!) international phone plan from your carrier at home. Just look for a cell phone kiosk on your way out and pop by. It should take no more than 10-20 minutes to set up.
For longer stays, you'll do the same thing but might want to consider looking into a monthly pay-as-you-go phone plan.
Health & Safety
Ireland is known as one of the friendliest countries in Europe. With a very low crime rate, the highest form of crime is petty theft on the streets of big cities. Northern Ireland has been known to hold many protests; they hardly ever turn violent however it is smart to avoid any protest if you happen to come across one.
No vaccines are necessary to visit Ireland, and taking care that you stay healthy won't be very different from back home.