Lovingly referred to as the “real capital of Ireland” by locals, Cork is the second largest city in Ireland and one of the most beautiful, diverse, and unforgettable places in the world. Situated on the banks of the River Lee, Cork is filled with great restaurants, dynamic pubs, historic cathedrals, and awesome views.

It is no surprise that this small city was named the European Capital of Culture in 2005, as it offers limitless things to do and places to explore. Cork is the perfect blend of a contemporary lifestyle with a traditional Irish atmosphere, and students are sure to love studying here.

Cork Vision Centre

A former church on North Main Street, this is one of the top attractions in the city. Home to a large scale model of the city, it also hosts many art exhibits and plenty of free tourist information.

St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral

One of the main cathedrals in Cork, this beautiful 19th century Gothic church is one of the most beautiful in Ireland.

Cork City Gaol

This heritage center slightly outside the city center is well worth the trip. Take a step back in time to see what 19th century prison life was like, complete with lifelike figures, furnished cells, and fascinating exhibits. They even offer night tours, so if you’re looking for something a bit spooky, definitely check this out.

The Lough Park
This park is famous for its freshwater limestone lake and numerous types of wildlife. Perfect for activities such as walking or jogging as well as relaxing by the shores with a book. The Lough was declared a Public Wildlife Refuge in 1881 and is one of Ireland’s oldest protected areas.

The great thing about study abroad in Ireland is that there are so many different program types and higher education options. 10% of university students in Ireland are from overseas, with over 80 countries represented by this large international student population. You can be sure there won’t be any lack of interesting people to meet and new things to learn!

Academic Life

Higher education in Cork is similar to that of the US: professors expect their students to work hard. Assignments and deadlines are all taken seriously, and there are consequences for those who do not perform well. With that said, most professors and local students are very approachable and understanding, so don’t be afraid to communicate when you need assistance. Many Irish students and professors have also studied/taught abroad, so most will be more than willing to help you adjust.


English is the first language of most Cork natives. However, the Cork take on English is much different than other parts of Ireland, with a higher tone to their accent and many words that are unique to this region. Some of these words come from Gaelic, while others were developed by combining English slang with Gaelic. Almost all courses in Cork are taught in English, so students should have no problem immersing into the local school setting.


Students in Cork have the option to live in student dormitories, apartments, or with a host family. Some programs require students to live in dorms while others recommend living with a local family to become more immersed in the local culture, so check with your program to see which they offer.

Student Visas

Similar to most countries in Europe, Ireland requires students from many non-EU countries (including the US) to obtain a student visa before arrival. Student visas are divided into two categories: degree programs at a higher education institution or English-language/non-degree course. For more information on how to apply for a visa, talk to your study abroad advisor or visit here.

Social Life and Student Culture

There are many opportunities for students to get involved in the local social life. Students are often found hanging out in Irish pubs, complete with traditional music, dancing, and even fiddle competitions. One of the most popular things for students to participate in is the Cork City Pub Crawl. A great way to see the city and make new friends, this is a definite must-do for anyone studying in Cork. Students here also love watching sports and going to various types of games, so put on your local apparel and go support one of Cork’s many teams.

There are many popular excursions for students to take from Cork, including Blarney Castle. Known for its beautiful gardens, views, and the opportunity to kiss the famous Blarney Stone, this is the perfect day trip for students. As if you needed more convincing, the castle usually offers discounts for students, too. Another popular adventure is to Cohb, which is a beautiful town formerly known as the port for Cork. Spend the day sitting by the docks and watching the boats come in or visit the town’s famous heritage center.


Even though Ireland is a small country, there are many scholarship opportunities for students studying here. Most scholarships are based on merit or diversity, with a few even offered to first generation college students. Two of the most popular abroad companies with scholarships are API and IFSA-Butler, both of which have programs in Cork.


With so much to see and do, it is no surprise that so many students flock to Cork every year. Chock full of quaint shops and pubs, stunning traditional and contemporary architecture, exciting adventure opportunities, and fascinating personalities, Cork is the perfect city to study abroad in. So, stop reading up on other study abroad locations. Cork is calling your name.

Contributed by Rebecca Murphy

Study Abroad Programs in Cork

Displaying 1 - 12 of 12 programs
Institute for Field Research
IFR: Ireland Field Schools - Cork, Galway, Spike Island & more
9.43 •7 reviews

The Institute for Field Research would like to present our rich and...

University College Cork
Direct Enrollment at University College Cork
9.53 •49 reviews

Looking for an incredible abroad experience in the land of intriguing...

Institute for Study Abroad (IFSA)
IFSA: Study Abroad Programs in Ireland
9.59 •17 reviews

Come study abroad in the Republic of Ireland with IFSA! Six different...

Learn International
Customized Programmes in Ireland with Learn International
10 •5 reviews

"Global Classroom, Global Learning and Global Citizenship" are...

API Study Abroad in Cork, Ireland
10 •4 reviews

This lively city on the beautiful south coast of Ireland is the...

Ireland: Cork - Undergraduate Courses
9.71 •7 reviews

The Cork program offers students the opportunity to enroll in a range...

Arcadia Abroad
Arcadia University- University College Cork
9.67 •6 reviews

University College Cork is set on a stunning campus that combines a...

University College Cork
Graduate Programs in Ireland at University College Cork
8 •1 review

Choosing a graduate program is one of the most important academic...

Griffith College
Study Abroad at Griffith College

Griffith College’s International team is committed to ensuring a high...

Cork Institute of Technology
Study Abroad at the Cork Institute of Technology

Cork Institute of Technology is the 2016 Institute of Technology of...

Cork Institute of Technology
Cork Institute of Technology Postgrad Degrees

Cork Institute of Technology is the 2016 Institute of Technology of...

Tours & Trips in Ireland

Looking for something to do during your time in Ireland? Check out some of these tours and trips!
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    Cycle through the 5 countries of Great Britain and Ireland – all in...

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    Ireland and Scotland Tour
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    Meet the two green pearls of the United Kingdom, join our Ireland and...

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    Celts, Vikings & Saints 15-Day Ireland Archaeological Tour

    Ireland’s serene and welcoming rural landscapes, fringed by one the...

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    Train, compete and create memories in a destination of your choice by...

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    Basketball Tours Across Europe
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    ProActive basketball tours are designed to create a once in a lifetime...

What People Are Saying

IFSA provided the support I needed in transitioning abroad. It was my first time out of the US, and IFSA was able to help me establish routine, comfort, and independence. I had so much fun abroad, and...

This was during my first week in Ireland! We walked the Bray to Greystones cliff walk!

Landing in a new country and completely alone was quite daunting, to say the least, but wow, it was Ireland! A beautiful and highly reputable country that carries a terrific presence in the world. I...

Cliffs of Moher

I was humbled by the beauty I saw in Ireland. I believe if you decide to study abroad at the University of College Cork you would find the same happiness here. My roommates and I decided to go to an...


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