Canadian Student Ambassador Eliza Lee outlines the major differences between the approaches in the two countries

Having studied at IT Sligo for two years now there are some differences I can identify between studying in Canada and studying in Ireland. Back in Canada I studied at Algonquin College, completing my diploma in Business Management and Entrepreneurship. IT Sligo is a university level institute so there are some differences between the academic expectations.

I’m going to summarize a few of the differences I’ve come across while studying at IT Sligo and hopefully give some insight into what to expect when studying abroad in Ireland.

The first major difference that stood out to me at IT Sligo was the class scheduling. Now obviously this will differ depending on what programme you are studying but as a student completing my Bachelor of Business in Marketing this is how the programme is currently designed. Most of the week the classes are short, but the days are long. Typically I’m in class from about 9am-5pm Monday through to Thursday. We have Fridays off, though, which is amazing!

At Algonquin College, the majority of my classes were long (2-3 hours) and my days were short. Many of the classes at IT Sligo are only one hour long, while some are two hours. This was an adjustment for me for sure. There is also an unwritten ‘tea break’ at 11am and 4pm. This is when you can have a 15-minute break before class. So if you have a class scheduled to begin at 11am, it most likely won’t get started until 11:15am as the lecturer is probably taking their tea break.

Another difference that has been an adjustment for me is the grading system in Ireland. In Canada, the majority of the time you need to pass with a 50% grade, whereas in my programme in Sligo, you pass with a 40% grade. This shifts the whole grading system by about 10%.
For example, if you are used to receiving 80s in Canada, you will most likely fall in the 70s range in Ireland. This is a little confusing at first, but once you understand the system, it all makes sense!

Continuous assessment
In all my classes we have what are called continuous assessments (CAs). These are the major assignments that are worked on throughout the semester. They are normally reports or presentations that need to be completed. So far my CAs have weighed between 30-40% of my grade, leaving the rest of the grade to be gained during the final exam at the end of the semester.

Depending on the module, the exams can be weighed between 60-70% worth of your grade, which is really high compared to the exams I did in Canada. This was a learning curve and something to be prepared for when studying in Ireland.

Lastly, another difference between studying in Ireland and studying in Canada is the layout/structure of the modules. Depending on the module and lecturer you have the structure of the class can be different to Ontario colleges. Major modules that are across all business streams will have lectures that take place in large lecture halls where it’s just strictly listening to the lecturer present material.

Then sometimes you may have a tutorial class which is normally much smaller and incorporates more group work and discussion.

Some lecturers are very computer-savvy and will have all the course material available for you online; however, other lecturers don’t provide any material online and the only way to access module material is by taking notes in class. This will vary by programme, module and lecturer.

Course material
Overall, there is no major difference between the course material presented in Ireland versus Canada; it is rather just the structure of how it is presented. If you are a Canadian looking to study in Ireland, I hope this blog has helped prepare you for some differences to expect when studying in the Bachelor of Business in Marketing programme at IT Sligo.

If you have any questions about IT Sligo or the programme I’m studying I am happy to help! You can always contact me through the Education in Ireland blog or if it’s easier you can reach out to me through Instagram on @eliza.leee