Why is Ireland’s international student population growing?

-Karunn Kandoi,  India Operation Head, ApplyBoard

Studying abroad is a transformative and enriching experience for students. They have the chance to expand both their worldview and their career horizons. As the world returns to a more open state, students now find more choice and opportunity than ever before. 

Even though the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom have maintained a strong position of popularity for Indian students looking to study abroad, Ireland has become a popular choice for Indian students seeking an international education. According to the Irish Higher Education Authority (HEA), Ireland hosted just 299 Indian students in 2010 whereas, in 2020, nearly 3,900 Indian students were studying at Irish institutions. 

This significant rise in popularity for Ireland amongst Indian students has developed for a few reasons, and each of them are unique and powerful reminders of the vast array of opportunities at the fingertips of students. 

Quality education and academic opportunities 

When it comes to quality, Ireland has the fourth-highest standard of education in the world and is friendly and hospitable, and on the post-secondary side, boasts five universities that routinely rank amongst the world’s best. 

Ireland may be a modest sized nation of 7 million people, but the range and breadth of their university programs is vast. HEA data shows that health and welfare are the most popular fields of education for international students in Ireland followed by business, administration, and law programs. Not to mention the strong tech environment makes computer science a popular program as well. 

Affordability 

Money is one of the most important factor that students consider when they plan to study abroad. However, due to the economic impact of the pandemic, the willingness of students to spend has declined each year from 2019 to 2021. Affordability is actually one of the reasons for attracting international students to Ireland. 

The Euro’s fall in value relative to the US dollar has been substantial, falling from 1.22 USD in December 2020 to 1.05 USD in May 2022. This 16% decrease is the largest 2-year decline for the Euro since 2014, making studying in Ireland more affordable relative to the US than it has been in years. 

A land of opportunities 

Deciding to study abroad is one of the most difficult decisions that students have to make. They consider job opportunities in the country before making this decision, as it requires significant investment of money and time. Those seeking employment in Ireland can stay back with the help of the Irish Third Level Graduate Scheme. Ireland offers a two-year stay back option for non-EU students graduating at a Masters level and 12 months after completing their undergraduate degree.

Ireland has a lower corporate tax rate compared to most other western European countries. This has attracted several tech and STEM companies which has not only boosted the Irish economy but also created a diverse range of job opportunities for international students. Ireland has also become an increasingly attractive destination for healthcare professionals due to the labour shortages in the healthcare and nursing home sectors across the country. Due to these reasons, international students are primed to take advantage of these job openings. 

Ireland is a strong and growing market with the potential to transform the lives of many hopeful international students.

Also Read:  Ireland opens up new doors for Indian higher education students

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