Accounting student and our Saudi Arabian ambassador, Shihad Algethami, tells us about her experience as an international student in Carlow.

Somewhere unique

Why did I choose to do my Higher Certificate in Accounting at IT Carlow? There are a lot of reasons but first, lets go back a little bit and talk about why I chose to study in Ireland in the first place.

When I first decided to get out of my comfort zone and study abroad, the first two countries that popped into my head were the US and the UK. However, personally I felt that both these choices were a bit of a cliché. I decided that I wanted to have a unique experience — unlike any other.

Left: the rolling green hills and coastline typical of Irish scenery. Right: Boats in the river in Carlow

English speaking country

So I let the idea of going somewhere unexpected simmer in my mind for some time and then when I watched Brooklyn, the film starring Saoirse Ronan, I realised that Ireland is an English speaking country for the first time! It was mind blowing for me because I was pretty sure that I knew every English speaking country but it’s true that apparently, “the more you know, the more you know that you don’t know”.

So I started researching any information I could find online that concerned Ireland including Irish films, Irish bands and the most important thing; Irish universities and institutes.


As I was a Saudi student, I received a scholarship from the Saudi Education Ministry to study a two-year diploma in Accounting. I had just graduated from secondary school and it was a challenge for me to find a course that covered all the things I would need to, in that period of time.

Students around a table with laptops looking at business charts

IT Carlow

I read about the education system in Ireland online and learned about NFQ Levels, which made it easier for me to search for appropriate courses. I liked IT Carlow because it has a variety of specialised courses that suited each individual’s needs. It was here that I found the Higher Certificate in Accounting course that IT Carlow offered and which was very suitable for me.

Ireland’s Education System

As well as everything else, Ireland also shone academically. The country has a great education system as well as internship opportunities with world leading companies. It also has a great reputation for friendly people, which I’ve found to be very true as a Saudi Arabian student.