Seventeen American college students studying in Ireland have been selected as student ambassadors to promote Irish education, in an initiative organized by the Irish government.
The students, who are currently studying various programs in the seven universities in Ireland, are aiming to connect with prospective American students and their families who may be interested in choosing Ireland as a study abroad destination.
“Our main role is to create videos, pictures, and at least one blog post per month,” Caela Provost, 23, an ambassador at the University of Limerick told the Irish Voice.
“We are allowed to give the topics our own spin. In addition we have to respond if anyone has questions or comments on our blogs,” the English post-graduate student added.
Students share their daily life experiences of studying in Ireland via regular blog posts as well as utilizing other social media outlets. Adding to the interactive element of the initiative, prospective students can contact the ambassadors through email.
Provost, who hails from Winchendon, Massachusetts, says more and more American students are considering Ireland as a place where they can go for “their entire educational career.”
According to the Irish government group Education in Ireland, the country has witnessed a 70% increase in American students studying in Ireland in the last seven years.
“It seems like a lot more students are considering Ireland. Technology has bridged the distance gap and students are not as hesitant as they know that connection is there,” Provost said.
“I have actually got more comments from students who are interested in coming for full time education,” Provost added.
The ambassadors represent some of the 7,000 U.S. students who choose to study in Ireland each year. While traditionally, many students come for a semester abroad, a growing number of Americans are now opting to pursue full-time undergraduate and graduate programs in Ireland.
Provost, who also spent a semester abroad studying at the University of Limerick, appreciates the
informal environment of studying in an Irish college.
“You are approached as a person, not a number,” she said. “If you make an effort in class professors know your name, that is something that draws a lot of students.”
The Irish government aims to increase the number of full-time international students in Ireland by 50% before 2015.
Ambassador student Caela Provost at the Cliffs of Moher