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ENGLISH LANGUAGE COURSES IN IRELAND
A COMPLETE GUIDE AND LIST OF THE BEST ENGLISH PROGRAMS FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS IN IRELAND IN 2021
Ireland is one of the top destinations for learning and studying English as a second language (ESL). Ireland has several English language schools, institutes, and prestigious universities that offer English classes.
Ireland stands out for studying English over other countries, mainly because of the quality of institutions that offer English courses, its beautiful landscapes, great tourist attractions, and charming modern cities. This country is also a great place for networking with other students and fellow professionals and to learn a fascinating new accent, different from the typical American and British accents.
Language schools in Ireland usually have different programs for different kinds of people and needs. Some focus on English courses for adults, including professionals and executives. Others focus on programs for teenagers or students currently in college. In addition to the English language program, you need to pay attention to the location, weather, and prestige of the language institute. Also, you should choose an English language course that best fits your budget and level. There are general English programs and specific courses in Ireland: as Academic English, Business English, Communication English, Conversation English, Culture English, English for traveling, Intensive, Part-time, online, and English classes that prepare you for exams like the TOEFL, IELTS or TOEIC to name a few.
We suggest you read this page and click on each language school you think is a good option. All universities and language institutes listed here offer English programs that allow you to apply for a student visa. Most of the programs are also available for citizens and residents in full-time or part-time options.
4. Requirements to take an English Course in IrelandSome programs can have their own special requirements
Non-Visa Exempted Students:
If you’re a citizen of countries that need to apply for a visa to enter Ireland, you must apply for either a C or Visit-Tourist Visa, or a D or Study-Work Visa, which will depend on the amount of time you’ll study in Ireland: less or more than 3 months. Additionally, the documents you’ll need to show at border control are: letter of acceptance from the English language institute, proof of necessary funds, proof of medical insurance, evidence of education and/or employment history.
Visa exempted students:
Students who are citizens of certain countries, including the European Union and the European Economic Area, aren’t required to have a visa when studying either for less or more than 3 months. Nevertheless, they must still pay the full tuition in advance and bring all the necessary documents for the border control, including letter of acceptance; proof of payment; proof of sufficient funds; passport; and proof of medical insurance acquired from an Irish company, which can be, for example, the medical coverage offered by the English language school’s partner institution.
Additional requirements for full-time students:
Those who study for longer than 3 months, whether they needed an entry visa or not, are obliged to register with the local immigration officer for the district where they’re staying, the Burgh Quay Registration Office in the case of Dublin. This Registration must be done before the date given at the border control. The registration costs €300, which must be paid via credit or debit card (cash not accepted), and you need to present several documents, including: passport, letter of acceptance from the English school, proof of payment, medical insurance policy, and proof of finance (if you entered Ireland without a visa) of at least €3000. After registration as a full-time student, you’ll be able to work for 20 hours a week, or 40 hours during certain times of the year. In this registration process, you’ll be issued a permit that allows you to stay in Ireland for longer than the original days given at border control, up to 8 months. Near the end of this period, you must take an external officially recognized exam, such as IELTS, FCE, CAE. You can later apply for a permit renewal and if approved, you may apply for another English course of up to 8 months.
Single Entry: €60
Multi Entry: €100
Full time student registration: €300 (same for renewals)
You can visit the website of the Department of Justice and Equality of the Irish government for further information about visa requirements.
There’s no maximum age requirement for English courses in Dublin. However, schools do set a minimum age limit for students, who must comply with it by the time the program starts. This limit tends to be between 16 and 18 years old. Nevertheless, some institutions teach special programs for children and teenagers, in which they can learn English at the same time they have lots of fun in extracurricular activities related to their studies.
Proof of Sufficient Funds
Regardless of the visa requirements for your country, you must show that you have enough funds to cover for all expenses while studying in Ireland in order to be able to enter. This amount will depend on the type of visa you’re on, but it tends to be €3000, apart from the course’s fees, and without considering the amount of money you could earn by working while studying. For students studying for less than 6 months, the amount is 500€ per month, up to €3000. Finally, this proof of sufficient funds must come in the form of a bank statement, from a bank account on your name (as shown on your passport), that doesn’t have less than 1 month of antiquity, and be accompanied with a debit card with your own name and from the same bank account. Another option is having a pre-paid credit card or debit card(s) with the above amount of money in credit, e.g. a card with €3000 or more in credit.
Minimum English Language Level
There are all kinds of ESL programs available in Dublin, so you can find the one that fits you, regardless of your current English language skills, as they go from the advanced to the beginner level. The program placement is usually done via an English test, which can be done online or once you’re already at the school, depending on each institution. Nevertheless, programs with higher English language requirements do ask you for a proof of English language proficiency, in the form of an English exam score, such as IELTS or Cambridge.
5. Prices, dates and costs of English courses in Ireland 2021 - 2022Explanation about main costs
The prices and the dates for English programs in Ireland change depending on the school, for how long you’ll study, and the number of weekly hours the program has (intensive, part-time, etc.).
For some cases, items not related to the course fees will be included on the final fee, so you have to consider them when you calculate the costs and your budget for studying English abroad in this country. Some of the items are: housing, health coverage, using services and facilities, participating in activities and events, books and materials, among other items.
In the table below you’ll see a list of different items, what modifies the cost, as well as some estimative prices for some of the items, which you can use as a guide when calculating your budget, while considering the minimum amount the Irish government requires you to have.
Main costs to consider if you want to study in Ireland
This cost changes depending on the school you chose, the type of course you’ll enroll on, and the intensity of the course, e.g. if it’s intensive or part-time. Apart from this, you should also consider the price of the application fee, and sometimes, a fee to access the facilities and services the English institutes offer. Additionally, keep in mind that Ireland requires for students to pay the course fee in advance.
English language schools in Ireland have partner health insurance providers that offer coverage that you can choose to buy or not; however, every student in Ireland, no matter for how long they study there, need health insurance. In some cases, travel insurance can be used, but for various cases the Irish government asks for health insurance from a company based in Ireland, and doesn’t accept health coverage provided by foreign companies. Whatever the case, we recommend having some form of health coverage to protect you in case of any accidents or health issues.
Depending on the school, the different books and materials could be included on the course’s fees, or come separately. Additionally, schools change books between English levels.
In Ireland you’ll find different kinds of accommodation, as well as different prices. Schools tend to offer rooms in homestays or in private student residences, both including different amenities. You can also opt to rent an apartment on your own or with other students. Prices start at €1,293 for a 45m2-studio apartment in a normal area, without utilities. In an expensive area this will cost around €1,539.
In some cases, the different housing options arranged or promoted by English institutes can include food within the fees you pay, which is the case for homestays and some residences. However, in other cases you’ll have to pay for food, either eating out in restaurants or cooking at home, if possible. As an example, a fast food combo costs around €8.
Single Entry: €60 Multi Entry: €100 Full time student registration: €300 (same for renewals)
How much you spend on transportation changes in relation to how far you live from the school and what kind of transport you use, so our recommendation is to live close to where you’ll be studying. If you do so, you’ll be able to either walk, ride a bicycle or the public transport to go to the school. That way, you don’t have to spend money with more expensive options, such as car rentals or taxis.
This cost will depend on the location of your departure and the date on which you fly. Our recommendation is to check different travel websites to browse different prices and dates. As an advice, you can avoid travelling during the Christmas and New Year season, as they are both very expensive dates to travel.
6. Who studies English in Ireland?Students come from all over the world to learn English in Ireland
All kinds of people from different countries visit Ireland to study English. Their decision comes from the fact that they wish to improve their language proficiency to communicate and enhance their careers, by studying in an English-speaking environment where they can put into practice their skills on everyday situations and improve faster than by studying English back in their home countries.
They’re either high school or college students, who want to improve their English fluency by studying in Ireland during their summer or winter vacations. Their purpose of study is usually enhancing their academic and work-related English language skills, which results in a direct improvement of their future opportunities.
They’re recent college graduates, who in turn, don’t have much job experience, so they wish to improve their English language fluency in Ireland to enhance their careers, by gaining a new qualification that allows them to find better jobs or to even study abroad.
Compared to other professionals, these have more experience and higher positions in their companies. That’s why a higher English language fluency it’s such a valuable qualification, as they usually conduct business at an international level, and need to be able to communicate with other senior professionals from around the world. That’s the reason why they choose to learn English in Ireland.
Residents are Irish citizens or people who have moved together with employees or scholars that have been transferred to Ireland. Their main reason to improve their English fluency is to communicate with native speakers in a place where English is one of the main official languages.
10. Frequently Asked Questions about studying English in Ireland
How do I know if I need an entry visa to study English in Ireland?
You can check on this website from the Irish government by choosing your country, purpose of visiting, and how long will you study.
What is an Entry Visa?
Unlike other countries, Ireland sets a difference between an Entry visa and a residence permit. An entry visa allows you to enter the country and stay for 90 days. So, if you’re a short-term student studying for less than 3 months, you can study with that entry visa or without it if you’re exempted, without the need of a registration with the local authorities.
However, if you’re a full-time student, apart from entering the country via an entry visa or visa exemption, you still need to register with the local authorities, in order to obtain a residence permit that allows you to stay for longer in Ireland, specifically up to 32 weeks (8 months). At the end of that period, you have to take an exam to prove your progress, such as an IELTS or Cambridge test.
What are the steps to obtain an entry visa to study English in Ireland?
In case you’re required to obtain an entry visa to study in Ireland according to the website provided above, you need to: 1) pay for the English course in full, in order to receive the letter of acceptance and the confirmation of payment that you’ll need later when applying for the visa; 2) fill in the online visa application form; 3) print, sign and date the application summary sheets that you’ll need to mail, along with a passport copy and other documents to the visa application office, which in your case will be an Irish embassy or consulate; 4) pay the mandatory application fee, which is €60 for a single-entry visa, whether is a long or short stay. Some of the documents you’ll need to send to the visa application center, within 30 days from your application, are:
- Visa application summary sheets.
- An application letter you must write yourself.
- Your study plan (with accommodation, study and insurance plans).
- Proof of payment of your visa fee.
- Two recent passport-size photographs with your name and application transaction number in the back.
- A photocopy of the first page of your passport, along with all the pages that contain stamps. This document must be valid for at least 6 months after your departure date from Ireland.
- A photocopy of all currently or previously held passports. If not able to do so, you must provide a written explanation as to why you can’t.
- A proof that you have enough funds (such as a bank statement).
- Proof that you’ll return to your home country, such as having strong ties to your country, including work, education, family, or property.
- Stating any refusals of visa by other countries.
You can check the status of your visa application with the application office (embassy, consulate, etc.).
Can I work and study at the same time in Ireland?
If you’re a full-time student, you can work up to 20 hours a week during school season, and 40 hours a week during the months of June, July, August, and September (inclusive), and from December 15th to January 15th. Please consider that you need obtain a Personal Public Services Number (or PPS Number) to work in Ireland, comply with the Universal Social Contribution (USC), Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI), employment laws and taxation requirements, and that employers usually only pay wages to a bank account from an Irish bank, so you may need to set up a bank account.
What accommodation options are will I find to study English in Ireland?
The accommodation arrangements are normally not included on the course fees, in which case you must find your own accommodation. Nevertheless, it’s possible that some schools offer or mention certain external services, such as private residences or homestay providers. On the other hand, you can choose to rent an apartment on your own or with other students.
Where can I study English programs in Ireland?
You can find various language institutes in Ireland offering a wide array of ESL courses. You can check these on our website.
Which is the best university or language school to study English in Ireland?
For this question there are no right answers. This is because students have their own tastes, needs and purposes, so you can’t say that one school is better than the other, as it all depends on what they’re looking for. Since there’s a wide selection of institutions in Ireland, you can check and find the one that best fits your needs and goals. You can check different language schools and universities on our website.
Are there any scholarships to study English in Ireland?
As they’re language programs and not graduate or undergraduate degrees, there are no scholarships to study English in Ireland. There are, however, schools that offer discounts for students coming from certain countries.
How does the payment process work for English courses in Ireland? Which are the preferred methods to pay?
Although this will depend entirely on each school, the preferred payment methods are usually by credit card, bank transfer, or check from a bank from the same country, in this case Ireland. Moreover, take into consideration that the Irish government requests that students pay in advance the whole tuition fee to be allowed entry into Ireland. This may also match the requirements of some schools that also require for you to pay the program’s fees in advance.
Do I need to be a student in my country to apply for an English course in Ireland?
There’s no need for you to be a student in your country to apply for an ESL course in Ireland. Everybody can apply if they meet the minimum requirements set for the program they chose. That’s why applicants come from all kinds of different backgrounds, such as: students, employees, business entrepreneurs, senior executives, etc. For more information about the student profile in Ireland, check our website.
Are there any age limits to apply for an English program in Ireland?
Most of the courses offered in Ireland are designed for adult students, so there tends to be a minimum age limit of 16, 17, or 18 years of age, and no maximum age. Still, English language schools sometimes have special programs for children and teenagers that give them the high-quality English instruction, as well as fun activities to have a blast while they learn English and explore the city.