Linna Zhao, is from China and currently studying as a postgraduate at University College Cork. She shares five of her top reasons for studying in Ireland – from the opportunity to learn and improve her English and discover the Irish culture to the world renowned high academic standard. Read more about her study abroad experience…

Learning the English language

One of the best things about studying in Ireland is the opportunity to completely immerse myself in English. I can earn my degree while learning the most widely spoken language in the world. My university offers me the chance to take English classes, and this really helps me and other international students to perform better in our academic studies.

The Irish do use some unusual phrases but don’t worry you will find the ‘right’ way to use English here. Just remember, what you learn in textbooks does not always translate to casual conversation – an example of this being how the Irish use the phrase, ‘are you okay?’ So for me, it has always meant this…

1But here in Ireland this phrase is commonly used when someone is asking you if you need help in a and it’s normal for a shop assistant to ask you if you are ok – so essentially it means this…23Learn more common Irish slang words and phrases

Take in a new culture

This is the first time I have ever left my country and when I arrived in Ireland, I was fascinated by the different cultural atmosphere. It’s true that when you study abroad you will get a better understanding of the customs, traditions, and history of a nation and its people. Ireland is full of festivals and events celebrating its culture so there is plenty of opportunity to immerse yourself and enjoy your new life here!

Personal development

chinese-food-skills-newStudying abroad is full of new experiences and challenges but facing difficult times can give surprising results. For example, my ‘Chinese stomach’ brings me a lot of trouble as I cannot get used to the western food here! However, on the upside this issue has become the driving force behind me becoming a good cook! Overall, I’ve found that studying abroad has brought out my independent nature. In China, where I’m from, most students are not that independent because our parents do everything for us. But, when you study abroad, far away from your home, you will act like a superman and adapt to the diverse situations! Believe it or not, this process is quite exciting and full of surprises and has gives you the chance to discover yourself and your potential! And yes, I am becoming a great cook!

International recognition

Ireland is striving to build more world-class universities and investing heavily in higher education. The academic qualifications awarded by Irish universities are recognised worldwide. In addition, you have the opportunity to apply and win scholarships given by Ireland government which may help you to reduce the financial burden. My top scholarship tip? Pay attention to application criteria and be confident!

Find out more about scholarship options in Ireland

Life experience

Why study in Ireland? For me, this may be the only opportunity I have to travel abroad for such long period of time. I also hoped this experience would make my life different. And it has! Everything has changed over the three months I have studied abroad – my way of thinking, my world view, my confidence and language abilities. I cannot pin point how deeply each aspect has influenced me but I think all of these factors have led to a new me. In short, I think studying in Ireland is a fantastic chance to change and enhance your life!

Study in Ireland, you will experience its unique blend of ancient Celtic civilisation and modern culture, as well as its natural beauty and music. Travel to the beautiful places with other students from around the world, and you’ll find yourself opening your eyes not just to this island, but to the whole world.

Are you interested in studying in Ireland? Visit the Education in Ireland website for more information.