Ways to learn English in Ireland
More and more people are coming to Ireland to study English these days, with record numbers reported last year (2017). A total of 119,000 students learned English in Ireland in 2016, up by 11,871 on the previous year. These students came from 101 different countries, although the majority of them come from Italy, Spain and France. Most of these students go to Dublin because it is biggest city with the most language schools. In addition, a lot of people come to Ireland from other countries to work. This is becoming more and more common with the growing number of IT jobs here. People also come here and work in sectors like health, medicine, retail and hospitality. For these people, it is also important to learn English. There are many options to learn English in Ireland that I am going to talk about in this post. Some ways are quite expensive, while other ways don’t cost anything at all.
Sign up to a language school
This is the most popular way to learn English in Ireland. There are loads of schools all over the country, especially in Dublin. You can see what other students who already studied at these schools think about them on Google Maps (have a look at the ratings and comments) and also on school comparison sites like this one. Signing up to a language school is a really good option if you come from outside the EU, because the Irish government allows students to work while they study depending on the time of year, how long they are studying for and whether or not they are studying for a qualification. A lot of students from countries like Korea and Brazil come to learn English in Ireland, and they often balance study with work and experiencing Irish culture.
Join a club or society
Joining a club is a good way to make friends when you move to a new country. There are loads of clubs that you can find online, whatever you are interested in. For example, five a side football or swimming. In the bigger cities, couchsurfing is another popular way to meet people with similar interests. These opportunities are very beneficial if you want to learn English in Ireland because they will allow you to maximise the time you spend speaking and using the language.
Go to free community lessons
There are free community lessons all around Ireland provided by Failte Isteach (this means “welcome in” in Irish). Normally, they meet once a week and there is an opportunity for foreigners to speak English to each other and local Irish tutors. The lessons do not include much formal study, but they are free and are a great way to learn more about Irish culture and the local way of life.
Take online lessons
Online lessons are a great way to learn English in Ireland or any other country! You can easily supplement your other English study and maximise your time speaking English through engaging, enjoyable lessons. In addition, one to one lessons with an experienced teacher can be shaped around your interests and language learning goals. For example, if you want to pass an exam or job interview. Another great thing about online lessons is their flexibility – you can fit the lessons around your schedule and do them from the comfort of your home.
Watch Irish TV
The quality of Irish television and radio is generally poor, but you can sometimes find good shows with subtitles that can help you improve your English listening skills. This will also help you to learn English in Ireland more effectively because you can develop a better understanding of the culture and things that people here are talking about. By knowing about these things, you can create more opportunities to speak. Personally, I prefer to watch documentaries and shows about music, but you can search for shows by category here and also check the TV schedule online. Be careful not to turn into a couch potato and watch too much TV though – that would defeat the purpose of coming here!
Go on an educational holiday
Educational holidays are a great way to combine language learning with having fun and enjoying a new experience. One very popular option is to live at the home of your teacher and improve your English through one to one lessons with them. These provide you with complete exposure to English around the clock, and the teacher can also design the lessons so that they fit with your interests and language learning goals.
Try somewhere outside Dublin
Although it isn’t as bad as Britain, one big problem in Ireland nowadays is the cost of accommodation. This problem is particularly bad in Dublin – the rent has gone through the roof and the prices keep getting higher. If you want to save money on accommodation and live somewhere where there will be less people from your home country speaking your first language, you should consider other towns around Ireland. For example, Bundoran and Derry in the northwest of Ireland both have popular language schools with good reputations.