The National University of Ireland, Galway is situated on the banks of the River Corrib, close to the center of the city. The original mid-nineteenth century University buildings are in a Tudor architectural style. The old stone quadrangle, at the heart of the University, is flanked by new buildings, reflecting the steady growth, in quality and in numbers, of the University. Its student body now numbers 17,000 (1,500 international students), with academically strong programs of teaching and research throughout its seven Faculties of: Arts, Celtic Studies, Commerce, Engineering, Law, Medicine and Health Sciences, and Science. On-campus, NUI offers its students over 100 clubs, societies and sports teams to join.
Galway is the third largest city in Ireland with over 65,000 residents, yet still manages to maintain the feel of a small town. The city is home to the renowned Druid Theatre Company and has a thriving music scene. It's easy to soak up traditional Irish culture as there are two Gaelic-language theatres and many traditional Irish music venues. The city also has plenty of shops, restaurants, open air markets and museums.
Visiting students at NUIG take their courses alongside Irish and other international students. This means that when you study at NUI Galway you will be integrated fully into the main student body of the University, thereby ensuring you benefit from a true international experience. SJU students are expected to take five courses of roughly 5 ECTS each (European credit system) for a total of 15 U.S. credits upon return. For information on the typical classes available, please review the Visiting Student Handbooks
on the NUIG website. You should also review the list of pre-approved courses for SJU students (available at the top of this page).
Classes are generally delivered through lectures, which are normally held in large or medium sized lecture halls and which provide the foundations on which students are expected to explore further through independent reading. Lectures are also usually supplemented by smaller tutorials or seminar classes, which provide an opportunity for discussion in a smaller group setting. Visiting students are also examined alongside full time, degree-seeking students and final grades are typically based on just a mid-term and a final.
Students will be asked to indicate their specific course interest on the NUIG application. However, it is important for students to note that final course registration does not take place until the first two weeks of the semester in Galway, so some academic flexibility is necessary.
Important note for English majors: Visiting Students at NUIG are only permitted to take ONE ENGLISH SEMINAR module per semester. They can register for as many English lecture courses as their schedule allows.
Spotlight On: Service Learning
Daire Ryan, Fall 2014, Major: Early Childhood Education, Minor(s): Autism Studies and Faith Justice
When and where was your service abroad?
I went to service about 5 times throughout the semester (2-3hrs) at Scoil Bhride Primary School in Shantalla (an Irish Catholic school, not far from the University).
What was your service-learning course (if applicable)?
It was a literacy course that talked about the literacy levels and gap found specifically in Ireland.
What made you decide to participate in service learning while abroad?
This particular course is what made the NUIG program stand out to me in comparison to other schools. I have always been involved in service and going abroad with a chance to keep that going seemed like such a unique experience. This course, location and culture are what helped me decide that NUIG was where I wanted to be. Having a faith justice minor did not require me to take this course but it definitely benefited my personal growth and understanding of the faith justice.
What did a typical day of service like for you?
I would walk from campus to the school with other students in my class. When we got there we would meet with our contact at the school before going into our designated classrooms. Once in the room we would work on homework with 1-3 students.If the students finished their homework before ‘homework club’ was over we would play games and chat with them till it was time to go home.
What did you most enjoy doing during your placement?
I loved getting to work with the same student each week. I could see his progress and the development of lessons impacting his understanding of the content. I also loved seeing the group as a whole (3 classrooms) come together at the end of the year with our holiday party sponsored by the students at the university. It was a chance to give something back to the students and to thank the school for letting us come into their community.
What were some of the benefits and challenges of doing service while abroad?
Benefits: I was able to see an Irish school in action (great for my major). It forced me to look beyond the community around the University and understand even more about the true culture and reality of living in Ireland.. I also got to learn about what it was like to grow up in Ireland from a child's perspective.
Challenges: The service was not as consistent with our class schedule and had an influence on how I determined what other courses I had room to take during my semester abroad.
Housing and Meals
SJU students have two housing options in Galway: on or off-campus accommodations. If a student prefers a more integrated housing experience living with Irish students or other international students, there are many student residences providing self-catered housing specifically for NUI Galway students. Students can also elect to find their own housing off campus. For more information, please visit the website of the NUI Galway Accommodations Office
Availability and costs will vary depending on the residence and can be obtained by contacting the residences directly. Students interested in one of the residences are advised to reserve their spot as soon as soon they are accepted into the program, as Ireland is currently experiencing a housing shortage.
Students should consult the Budget Sheets at the top of this page for estimated program costs. In addition, before choosing to study abroad in another country for anywhere from three to six months, you should consider the exchange rate
of your host country as well as the cost of living
in the city where you will be.
Center for International Programs Study Abroad Grant
Please apply for this program before applying for the CIP Study Abroad Grant (due October 15th or March 15th).
The Society of the Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick Irish Studies Fund
The Society of the Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick have generously donated monies to Saint Joseph's University to aid in the support of an SJU undergraduate student(s) who is accepted by SJU and the overseas university to study abroad in Ireland for a semester or year academic program. This award is made once a year. All students must apply by April 1st prior to the academic year during which they plan to study abroad. Scholarship award amounts vary year to year, but are estimated to be a minimum of $1,000 designated for tuition only and are awarded on a need and merit basis. Preference shall be given to students who pursue courses in Irish Studies or the Humanities while in Ireland.
Things to Remember Before Applying
- You must meet with a CIP advisor before submitting your application.
- A limited number of completed applications will be approved on a first-come, first serve basis, per the Semester Abroad Policy.
- This program requires a separate paper application, which will be provided to you through the CIP on-line application.
- If approved by the CIP, you will be required to submit a $300 Confirmation Deposit WITHIN 10 DAYS of receiving your approval notice.
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