Learn English Abroad - Galway

Posted On May 08, 2023 |

Galway is a city and a county on the west coast of Ireland, accessible by either Dublin or Shannon airport.


Ireland is fast becoming a popular destination for English language learners, due to the fact that English is spoken as a first language and full immersion in the language is possible. Irish people are generally friendly, curious and like to talk, which is useful for opportunities to use and speak the language.

Galway is a city and a county on the west coast of Ireland, accessible by either Dublin or Shannon airport and about 2 hours and 30 minutes by bus or car from Dublin city. Galway is a thriving cultural city with a world-class university and diverse student population, providing the opportunity to socialise and meet other students from all over the world. In saying that, it is a small city close to rural towns and villages and, as such, there is no tram or underground. In order to get around you will need to walk, cycle or take a bus. The centre of the city can get very busy with tourists during the Summer months, so be prepared for pubs and restaurants that will be full of people.

Galway is famous for its traditional Irish culture, food, and music, and there are also parts of Galway where you will hear Irish being spoken by the locals; although everyone speaks English as well, so no need to learn another language.

Galway is home to a huge amount of global festivals, including the Film Festival, The Galway Races (Horseracing), the Oyster and Seafood festival, and Galway Arts festival. It's a great town if you love markets, local cuisine and seafood.

Things to look out for

Like the rest of Ireland, Galway gets its fair share of cold and wet weather, even during the Summer months. Students from hot countries might find they need to wear warm layers and learn to cope with the short days in Winter.

There is a huge student population in Galway so there is a lot of competition for jobs, although the amount of tourists ensures it is often a busy city with lots of opportunities to work in the hospitality and catering sectors.

Galway offers a little more value for money than Dublin with a 3-bed apartment or house costing around €1,647.37 to rent per month. A typical lunch out would set you back around €12 and a three-course meal for two in a restaurant cost around €50 without drinks.

Accommodation is at a premium in most of Ireland and Galway is no exception. Most reputable English schools will be able to provide you with information on where best to look.

Getting a Visa (Ireland)

Applications for student visas need to be made online before your travel to Ireland.

If you have received an admission letter from the school in which you have chosen to learn English, it is important for you to have it with you as you will be expected to produce it at the immigration checkpoint.

Here are some of the documents you require to support your visa application:

  • a letter of acceptance from a recognized institution of learning where you are expected to study for a minimum of 15 hours per week
  • payment receipt showing you have paid the required tuition fees in full
  • evidence that you can afford to live and study in Ireland. You should show that you have at least €7,000 for the initial period of your stay
  • evidence of medical insurance
  • a passport that will remain valid for at least six months following the completion of your course

There are two main types of study visas in Ireland

If you are not from an EEA Country you must be in a full-time course (15 hours a week for one year) in order to receive one.

You can apply for a three-month visa (C study visa) or a visa for longer than 3 months (D study visa).

If your course is on the Interim List of Eligible Programmes (ILEP) you are permitted to work up to 20 hours part-time during your study days or 40 hours per week during college holidays. This makes Ireland an attractive place to study versus the UK where non EEA students are not permitted to work.

There are more specific documentary requirements, and this link covers all of the information you will need to make your application:

Language Schools

Galway offers a huge number of English language schools with great reputations. The University itself has an English course for foreign students and there are many options including full-time and part-time study, or even the opportunity to enjoy a homestay with your English tutor.

You will find schools both in the city and further out in the countryside, which is famous for its dramatic and traditional landscapes.

Make sure the course you apply for offers an accredited certificate at the end of your course which is well recognised by a university body or organisation.

As Galway is so busy during the Summer months, the price of courses goes up hugely from May-August.

Travelling within and from Galway

Galway is an excellent base to explore the west coast of Ireland and the Aran Islands whilst still being relatively close to Dublin for weekend trips. The city is served by a train station, making it easy to visit other cities in the country; and it is close to a number of blue flag beaches and the stunning landscapes of Connemara.

Working in Galway

As tourism is such a huge industry in Galway, most jobs will be available in the hospitality and catering sectors. Hotels, hostels, pubs, restaurants and cafes are continually looking for staff. You will, however, face stiff competition as Irish students in the university are also looking for jobs. Ensure your CV is up to date and has been checked by a native English speaker. We'd advise going into pubs and restaurants to ask about work directly to the manager. Personal connections go a long way in Galway.

Categories: Learn English abroad