In recent times, India has become one of the fastest developing nations in the world and is considered to be one of the biggest economies globally. Its progress has trickled down to most citizens as well, with more and more people now able to afford several basic things, which until a decade ago, were considered luxury. One such aspect is education.
In India, access to basic education is increasing becoming the norm owing to the rise in disposable income, and better opportunities. Moreover, with a substantial number of middle-class households in the country leading a significantly better lifestyle as compared to a decade ago, many families have begun to consider investing in only the best education of their children; be it in India or abroad.
While students from India usually prefer to study in the top 5 study abroad destinations - the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, & New Zealand, there are some who have started exploring other countries, specifically nations in the European Union. One such country is Ireland, which is fast emerging as a prominent education hub for international students.
In terms of hosting international students, Ireland witnessed more than 27,778 international student enrollments in its universities during 2014-15.
Ireland - A dream destination for international students
Ireland or the Republic of Ireland is an island nation that is part of the British Isles. The country has a rich culture and tradition, which is most commonly depicted across the globe in the form of Saint Patrick - one of Ireland's patron saints. Ireland also happens to be one of the countries in the European Union to recognize English as an official language.
The education structure in Ireland is mainly made up of levels - primary, secondary, and tertiary (third-level). The country is home to some of the finest educational institutions in the world and has an excellent academic infrastructure. Some of the top universities for international students in Ireland are Trinity College (Dublin), University College (Dublin), National University of Ireland (Galway), and University College of Cork.
In terms of hosting international students, Ireland witnessed more than 27,778 international student enrollments in its universities during 2014-15. In terms of place of origin, the country saw an influx of over 4470 students from the United States, 2711 from China, and 1989 from France. During the same period, Irish education institutions also received over 905 applicants from India, making it the 9th country in the list of Top 10 sending places of origin, according to IIE. Let us further explore the various factors that are leading Ireland to become one of the most preferred studies abroad destination among students from across the world:
Excellent education infrastructure
As previously stated, Ireland has an excellent education infrastructure, with most of its universities equipped with state-of-the-art amenities and academic resources. In fact, the progress made in the field of education has significantly contributed to Ireland's growing economy. For international students, this is an added advantage of studying in a culturally rich nation.
Scholarships for international students
The Republic of Ireland has an outstanding scholarship program for international students. Each scholarship is based on specific criteria for eligibility laid down by individual institutions in Ireland. For example, Dublin Institute of Technology offers a Centenary Scholarship Programme for all international students pursuing a Master's degree at the institution. Similarly, the National University of Ireland in Galway offers several scholarships specifically for Indian students, such as the Max Arthur Macauliffe Special Merit Scholarship, and the Sir Peter Freyer Special Merit Scholarship.
Ireland is one of the safest and friendliest countries in the world, allowing international students to complete their course without worrying about their overall well-being. While petty crimes like pickpocketing are common throughout the world, students just need to be cautious about their surroundings to avert such rare incidents.
Home to several global industry giants
Some of the biggest multinational companies (MNC) can be found in Ireland. Companies like Google, Apple, and Facebook have headquarters in the Island nation, apart from Ireland's own homegrown organizations like CRH, DCC, and Kerry group.
International students enrolled for full-time courses that are recognized by the IDES do not require an additional work permit to work in the country. However, they do need to have the proper documentation to be able to gain employment.
According to Education Ireland's official portal, all international students equipped with a valid immigration stamp 2 permission are permitted to work 40 hours/week in Ireland, but only between June to September, and from 15th December to 15th January. During the rest of the year, international students holding the valid work document can work 20 hours/week. All students are allowed to work till the expiration of the Immigration permission Stamp 2.
In conclusion, it can be said that Ireland is certainly becoming one of the most preferred studies abroad destinations among international students; and if you are a student hoping to study overseas, you should definitely consider the island nation to fulfill your educational goals.
Gurinder Singh Bhatti is the Chairman & Managing Director of ESS Global Private Limited - a consultancy firm that provides recruitment services for students who wish to study abroad. He won the 'Young Entrepreneur of the year' award of North India in 2014 organized by India Today group and was felicitated by the Former Chief Minister of Punjab, Shri Prakash Singh Badal.