Every year, a wide variety of reasons attract students to make the choice to study overseas. The accessibility and relatively low cost of travel, particularly within Europe, has made the logistics of studying away from home a lot simpler. When you couple this with what many European universities have to offer; affordable fees, reasonable entry requirements and prestigious courses taught in English, it’s little wonder that an increasing amount of students are finding it an attractive option, particularly for postgraduate study.
The increasing attraction of universities on mainland Europe, particularly Germany, Poland, Denmark and the Netherlands, has gathered pace with the continuing uncertainty over the Brexit scenario.
In addition to affordability, and the attraction of a new and diverse culture, eligible students studying within the EU can avail of their Irish state awarded grant and are also allowed work part time. According to a recent article in the Irish Times, about 1,500 third-level Irish students in receipt of state funded grants are studying in colleges abroad.
Guy Flouch, head of the European University Central Application Support Service (EUNICAS), will be speaking at this year’s gradireland Further Study Fair on February 15th at the RDS. In the Irish Times he said that Irish students were broadening their options when it came to pursuing study overseas, and were no longer primarily focused on UK institutions, a trend which has increased in the wake of the Brexit vote.
According to the article, almost 900 degree programmes across all disciplines are taught through English in Europe, many of them at far cheaper fees than would be applicable in Ireland. For example, no fees apply in Germany, Scandinavia, Sweden and Finland. In Austria, Switzerland and Belgium, fees are usually less than €1,000 per year. In the Netherlands, fees of €1,984 apply, but students can get a loan to cover this. Repayable over a term of 35 years. Which seems more than reasonable! More than 40% of the EUNICAS programmes on offer are done through Dutch institutions.
Within many European countries, points are not a barrier to college entry. The requirements are lower and there is a strong cultural focus on third-level education being available to all, however many of the universities are very high-ranking institutions and while they may be accessible-they also demand high standards from their students. “These are some of the best universities in Europe. There is no repeating of years. You’re expected to get 45 out of 60 credits, take part in problem based learning and show up for all your lectures and tutorials,” Guy Flouch added.
While there are obviously challenges in settling in and studying abroad, the evidence seems to suggest that Irish students flourish in a variety of ways while abroad, according to Mr Flouch. “The levels of self-confidence and self-esteem and independence they get is a skill set which employers really see. They are self-sufficient and living abroad-meeting challenges and succeeding. It impacts positively for the rest of their lives,” he said.
See what’s involved with studying abroad and find out everything you need to know about EUNICAS at the gradireland Further Study Fair on February 15th at the RDS Industries Hall. Click here to register for free entry.
Working in audit with Deloitte, and captaining the Cork Ladies Football Team, Ciara O’Sullivan talks about balancing your work with your passion.
When did you start playing football and how did you end up on the Cork team?
I started playing football with my club Mourneabbey when I was under 8 and when I was 11 I went for Cork under 14 trials. I was lucky enough to make that U14 panel and have been playing with various Cork teams since then. I have been a member of the Cork senior team for the last 9 years and this is my second year as captain of the team.
How does your intensive training schedule for Cork compare to your training to become a Chartered Accountant?
I must admit I enjoy training with Cork a little bit more than I enjoyed studying for the exams! I think both take discipline and organisation and I actually think they complement each other. During study leave for my CAP 2s and FAEs I really looked forward to going training after studying for the day and although sometimes I was tired before training, I always felt better after it. It’s great to give you a focus other than the exams and work. It’s also always something to talk to clients about when you’re on site as a lot of clients in Ireland have some interest in GAA!
Does your work as captain on the field help your work in Deloitte off the field?
It’s not something I’ve ever actually thought about but I suppose it does. I’ve been very lucky to be part of this Cork team who have so many leaders, so in some ways being captain is just a title. I’m just the one who goes up for the toss or gets to collect the cup if we win. Everyone helps each other and it’s all about the team. It’s the same in Deloitte, particularly as I work in audit where in general there are a number of people on the audit team. Again everyone helps each other and it makes the job much more enjoyable and efficient. I’ve made great friends on both the Cork team and in work and having these friends who are in the same boat as you helps a lot.
What has been the best moment of your career as the captain of the Cork Ladies football team?
It would have to be winning the 2015 All-Ireland final. It was against Dublin again and like in previous years we just about won. The closer the game is the more you appreciate the win when it’s over. Lifting the cup was unreal… the speech that followed definitely wasn’t unreal!
What’s your advice for other trainees who juggle the heavy commitment of both their career and passion?
I would say that it’s totally achievable to do both, if you want to do it enough. Obviously I know I’m lucky that work accommodate me where they can so that I never miss training. I think that once you are organised and like doing something enough you will make it happen.
For more advice on getting started in your career and balancing your life, read gradireland’s advice section.