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26 Mar



Tips for improving your English language skills in Ireland

March 26, 2015 | By | 4 Comments

There are the basics, and then there are the Irish basics. Shuo Han, an international student at Dublin City University gives helpful hints to improve English skills and become comfortable with the Irish dialect…

Hi! I’m Shuo Han. I’m currently working on my master’s degree at Dublin City University.

Studying in Ireland is a different experience. For me it involves not only using another language, but also studying within a very particular education system. I won’t say studying in Ireland is difficult, but it has taken me some time to get used to the different education standards.

And NOW (drum roll), I will offer some tips to help make the experience easier for any non-native English speakers coming to Dublin! If you find the language barrier to be the main problem, try the following:


Talking is a good way to improve one’s oral English. It will be VERY helpful if you join some of the many clubs and societies available at your school and talk with anyone and everyone. I made quite a few friends by joining the DCU Music Society and Swimming Club. When you make the effort to talk, your English will improve without you even realising it!


There’s no need for me to emphasise how important reading is when it comes to studying. Many friends have told me that reading novels is really helpful when learning English. BUT, where do you find books in Ireland?

If you are a student on a budget and don’t need to buy brand new books at Easons or Hodges Figgis, there are some great second-hand and discount shops which sell good books.

Oxfam is a charity store which sells not only books but also other second-hand products such as CDs, DVDs, clothes, and so on. I’ve seen many of them in the city centre. You can search for your nearest Oxfam shop online too! The normal price for a book is around €1-€3.

Chapters Bookstore is a big book store in Dublin’s city centre on Parnell Street. Chapters sells second-hand books on the first floor while the ground floor sells full-priced new books. And if you want to look for some second-hand academic books, Chapters is definitely the place to go. It’s a little pricier than Oxfam, but it has more variety.

There are some other second-hand book shops run by local charities around Dublin. Normally they have very cheap prices. I bought Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets for only 35 cents in a small second hand book store!


Myself and many other international students have found it hard to understand the Irish accent. It’s a disaster when you can’t understand what your lecturer is saying. I used to be troubled by the accent as well, but I solved it by downloading two helpful apps on my phone. One is the RTE Player and the other is the RTE Radio Player. I’ve found these two apps to be SUPER HELPFUL! They’ve given me the chance to watch and listen to different Irish programmes and channels for free.

I hope this blog helps you with your English studies, and gives you a chance to see what studying in Ireland is like for an international student!

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  1. Thanks for making such a cool post which is really very well written.

  2. samanta

    love irish music so much would love to learn english more add chat frds facebook profile samanta romeo mail inbox

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