Mary Immaculate College

By Holly Cowman, Director
Holly Cowman,Director

Holly Cowman

Director

Recent winners of the "International College Achievement Award" at the 2019 Irish Education Awards in March, Mary Immaculate College (MIC) was established in 1898 and is currently recognized as Ireland's leading university-level College of Education and Humanities with campuses in Limerick City, Ireland's third largest city, and Thurles - a thriving town in neighbouring County Tipperary. With a vibrant international community and ongoing collaborations with more than 50 partner universities & colleges in Europe, North America, Asia, and Australia, MIC has travelled a long way ­ from the enrolment of 75 young women in 1901 to an intensified enrolment rate of almost 5,000 students today. Appreciated and recognized for its friendly and welcoming atmosphere, the College prides itself on enrolling around 500 international students annually and achieving a 96 per cent student retention rate. The international students choosing to study at MIC are welcomed with open arms and provided with the support, freedom and the opportunity to achieve their full potential.

Along with educational quality and excellence, the USP of MIC's experience is its smaller size, which allows each student access individual and constant support. This is just one of the reasons international students choose to study at MIC. "Although all the students are fully integrated with Irish students, there is a dedicated International Office which takes care of the international orientation and continued staff support, as well as an International Students' Society. MIC also offers English language assistance to its students," pinpoints Holly Cowman, Director, International Office, MIC. Existing for over a century now, the College conducts a range of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes at Diploma, MA and Ph.D. levels. Holly adds, "The programmes of study at MIC are among the most highly sought-after in the country. With our Masters'
programmes eligible for completion in just one-year, international students are allowed to stay back and remain in Ireland and seek employment up to 24 months after graduation."

The College promotes quality education by taking on board a team of highly research-active faculty members who proactively engage in developing international best practices. "Our programmes move beyond the lecture theatre - offering opportunities for study abroad, real-life work placements and field studies - and this provides essential skills for a vast range of careers. Promoting a positive and productive student experience, where flexibility and support are the cornerstones, faculty members at MIC sustain diversity not just in subject matter, but also in learning methods," claims Holly. Students are encouraged to engage in postgraduate research and to promote and disseminate impactful research that contributes to local-global knowledge. To support these initiatives, the College has established the MIC Research & Graduate School - a hub of innovation with dedicated facilities, specialized services and ample training opportunities designed to produce world-class researchers and research outcomes.

"With its state-of-the-art facilities and infrastructures, its quality teaching and learning excellence, its sports, events and conferencing facilities, MIC is just the start of your future"

Witness a Seamless Transition
The Limerick campus of the institute is host to many MIC students. There are essential facilities for lectures, study and recreation but its compact size and friendly atmosphere ensures that students have a home away from home. "In research conducted by us on the needs of our international students, our Indian students have shared that despite the obvious differences between the two countries, what they like about Limerick includes the sense of community, with friendly people and a feeling of safety," shares Holly. Limerick is now the most affordable urban area in Ireland and is named as one of the most exciting start-up cities and hubs in Europe, labelled "a tech city and a beacon for digital ambitions" by the Silicon Republic. There are fantastic future prospects for the international students coming to Limerick and to MIC. With its state-of-the-art facilities and infrastructures, its quality
teaching and learning excellence, its sports, events and conferencing facilities, MIC is just the start of your future.

Holly adds, "The College is currently engaged in a process of Campus Master Planning to map out directions in which the campus may grow in the future. The most significant undertaking is the new state-of-the-art library and Learning Resource Centre, which will begin at the end of the year." The Irish Government have already heavily subsidized education in Ireland but MIC has gone the extra mile for international students and has become part of the Government of Ireland International Education Scholarship. This scholarship is open to high calibre students from outside the EU/EEA and provides them with an individual stipend of 10,000 and full fee waiver for one full year study on a Bachelor, Master or PhD programme.

Sumeera Kamil, a previous Government of Ireland scholar from India says, "On applying for the scholarship opportunity, I got accepted to MIC as the Government of Ireland Scholar to study on their International Relations programme ­ a student ambassador representing India. MIC is a friendly campus where there are many clubs and associations. I was the Vice President of the International Society that organizes fundraisers and other events to create memorable experiences for not only international students but all students at the university." The International Society encompasses all of the nationalities and frequently organizes "International Nights" dedicated to a specific country. The most recent activity was the Brazilian students celebrating "Carnaval" on campus and the celebrations included all nationalities as well as the Irish students. Playing a pivotal role in third-level education in a diverse and inclusive Ireland, MIC guarantees its international students a top quality education, a supportive learning environment and a memorable study abroad journey.

Holly Cowman, Director
Holly Cowman is the Director of the International Office at Mary Immaculate College. She has worked in the College since 2007 in various roles including the President's Office and Acting Manager of the Marketing & PR Office. Prior to that, she studied at MIC at undergraduate and postgraduate level.