7 Reasons to Study Abroad in Cork

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Updated October 5, 2021 Updated October 05

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If you’re looking at top study destinations in Europe, there’s a good chance the beautiful city of Cork on the banks of the River Lee in Ireland might not be on your radar. We reckon it should be. Here’s why.

It’s in one of the most beautiful Irish counties

Rent a car and drive around County Cork in south-west Ireland, and you’ll find stunning landscapes dotted with medieval castles, cathedrals and forts and breathtaking coastal villages spilling out onto the waterfront.

Cork itself is a beautiful university town surrounded by waterways and packed with 17th-century backstreets and beautiful avenues. It’s home to a gorgeous opera house and its cobbled lanes are brimming with treasures, pubs, cafes, restaurants and a lush foodie scene.

It’s a chance to explore Europe and Ireland

Pictured above: the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare

“One of the best things about Ireland is the idea that you can see most of it by driving just three hours in each direction”, said Racheal Gitau, a postgraduate student at University College Cork.

Racheal moved to Ireland from the US to study a master’s degree in public health, and she recommends international students take advantage of their study abroad to travel around Europe, particularly London and Paris. Located eight kilometers from the city center, Cork Airport serves a number of domestic and international flights.

Within Ireland, Racheal traveled to the capital city Dublin, Galway and the Cliffs of Moher, staggeringly beautiful vertical cliffs which overlook the Atlantic Ocean at a dizzying height of 214 meters.  

It’s more affordable than Dublin, London, Sydney and Paris

Pictured above: the Baltimore Beacon, County Cork, Ireland

One of the great things about Cork is that it’s a comparatively affordable, medium-sized city. According to Expatistan’s Cost of Living Index, the cost of living in Cork is 22 percent cheaper than living in Dublin, 24 percent cheaper than London, 18 percent cheaper than Sydney and 16 percent cheaper than Paris.

It’s home to a world-renowned university

Pictured above: University College Cork

Ranked fourth in Ireland and 283rd in the world in the QS World University Rankings® 2018, University College Cork is known for its very high research output and the high caliber of its teaching.

Founded in 1845, its graduates have achieved distinction in science, the arts, business, law, medicine, government and sport.

Jieyuan Xue, from China, arrived to University College Cork four years ago to study finance at undergraduate level, and he is currently pursuing a master’s degree in corporate finance.

One of the things that attracted him to Cork was University College Cork’s reputation. he said: “UCC is a first-class university with a time-honoured history. Lecturers are very nice to students and they care about each student’s studies and university life.”

There’s a thriving graduate job market

Pictured above: aerial view of Cork City Center

Juliet Haykal Libbos, from Colombia, recently graduated from University College Cork with a master of arts in international relations.

She currently works as a freelance designer for a primary school education program company and UCC’s international marketing communications department.

Juliet said she found it easy to find employment after graduation. “My skills are very much appreciated”.

Ashwini Iral Barboza, 24, from India, is currently studying a two-year master’s degree in data science and analytics at University College Cork.

Moving to Cork, she saw and touched snow for the first time in her life during Storm Emma, but it’s the wealth of opportunities that stand out.

She said: “There are lots of job opportunities in my field of study. I’ve been getting many job call-backs”.

It’s safer than many larger cities

Pictured above: Cork city at night

Moving halfway across the world to study abroad can be scary, but some places are safer than others. You need not worry walking through the streets of Cork alone at night: it has one of the lowest crime rate and highest safety index in the world, according to Numbeo.

Ambika Fauzdar was born in India. She’s studying a master’s of science in Information Systems for Business Performance in Cork. One of the things she loves the most about Cork is how safe it makes her feel, particularly, she said, when she’s walking home at night.

You’ll get to experience St Patrick's Day properly

Pictured above: Cork City Hall lit up green for St Patrick’s Day

Although St Patrick’s Day is celebrated virtually everywhere in the world, the magic of St Patrick’s Day truly comes alive in Cork.  Celebrated on March 17, the day is a week-long festival commemorating St Patrick and a chance for the city of Cork to showcase its culture, sense of humour and face paint prowess…

On the day, Cork bursts into life with a flurry of activities, dance and music and a parade which makes its way through the city’s streets, starting at South Mall and finishing at Merchant’s Quay.

University College Cork offers students the chance to spend a semester abroad

Pictured above: Cork Airport

Travel-junkies among you might like to know that University College Cork offers students the possibility to spend a semester abroad in Europe, Asia, Canada and the US with a partner university, including Boston University and the University of California. So, if you’re keen to blend your studies with some international experience, there are really no better options.

Find out more about student life in Cork here!

This article was originally published in March 2018 . It was last updated in October 2021

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