In a new report published by Marketing English in Ireland (MEI), analysis shows that Ireland is top of the charts for International English Language students.

According to Marketing English in Ireland (MEI), the association that represents 54 regulated language schools and colleges nationwide, Ireland is the 5th most popular global destination in terms of numbers of international English language students, behind UK, USA, Canada and Australia.

Ireland jumps to first place in this ranking of international students per head of population among the top five countries. Ireland ranks ahead of UK, USA, Australia and Canada when students are counted in proportion to the overall population of the destination country. In 2013, Ireland was almost double that of the United Kingdom and almost triple that of Australia in 3rd place.

In the “Review and Outlook of the International English Language Sector in Ireland 2015” published by MEI, it shows that measures undertaken to promote Ireland as a premier destination for international students overseas are working.

As part of this ongoing work to promote Ireland as a destination for international language students, MEI is hosting international delegations from 19 countries over a four day period this week in Ireland with a focus on growing market opportunities in countries that have traditionally only had small number of students coming to Ireland.

The four day event is designed to showcase Ireland as a high quality destination for foreign language students. In 2014, almost 100,000 international students from over 80 separate countries attended MEI’s 54 regulated English schools and colleges nationwide, contributing an estimated €330 million to the Irish economy. The most popular European countries in terms of the number of students coming to Ireland to learn English in the MEI member schools are Italy, Spain and France.

“MEI has been working with the Department of Justice and the Department of Education to grow the international English language sector in Ireland and this has been extremely productive. In 2011 a special visa scheme targeting Turkish students was implemented. In its first year, 49 students from Turkey were educated in MEI schools and colleges. Up to the end of Q3 in 2015, this number has risen to 702, which demonstrates how effective targeted visa schemes can be. In 2014, international students from over 80 different countries came to Ireland to learn English in MEI’s schools and colleges, which was over 40% of the world’s countries coming to Ireland each year to study English. Interestingly, Ireland is now an increasing destination of choice for students coming from the countries which were formerly part of the former Russian Federation, in part due to geopolitical reasons” according to David O’Grady, CEO of the Marking English in Ireland.                                                              

He continued “The international education sector in Ireland is highly regulated and contributes significantly to the domestic economy, with the majority of students staying with host families as part of their language and cultural experience. In 2014, the direct contribution to the Irish economy from the 97,610 international students who were educated in MEI’s member schools and colleges was estimated to be in excess of €330 million. This includes gross wages of €29.7 million paid by MEI schools to the teachers employed in the sector. In 2014, MEI’s member schools and colleges employed approximately 1,150 teachers, with this figure rising to 2,250 during the peak months of June to August.”

“Currency fluctuation has made Ireland much more attractive this year because of the strength of Sterling which is very strong against the Euro. Therefore studying in the United Kingdom is now much more expensive than before and Ireland is becoming more attractive for price sensitive families from France, Italy and Spain. In addition, the average number of student weeks in Ireland is higher than our nearest competitors in the UK (5.6 versus 4.1 weeks), thereby contributing more to the Irish economy on a pro rata basis. This added to the ongoing strength of Sterling versus Euro is having a positive impact for the Irish economy.”

 “A key differentiator that Ireland has in relation to other destinations is the unique cultural and tourist experience offered.  International students vote with their feet and return to Ireland year after year helping ensure Ireland remains one of the premier destinations for students to learn English.”

“Another major recognition for our reputation in Ireland came in recent weeks whereby Ireland topped the charts in a study of 17,018 students across Europe. Ireland was named the country with the most satisfied international students in 2015 surpassing the Nordic countries for the first time. The ranking was published by StudyPortals International Student Satisfaction Awards,” concluded David O’Grady, CEO of the Marking English in Ireland (MEI).

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