Part 1: University of Limerick
Welcome to our new series, Uni Spotlight, where give you a quick rundown of Ireland’s top universities! We know our dancers love Irish culture, so we thought we’d give them (and their parents!) a look into some of the secondary education options they offer on the Emerald Isle. While no parent is going to be overjoyed about the prospect of their child heading to uni (it’s never “college” in Ireland!) in a foreign country, we’ve covered some of the benefits of the Irish university system before if you’re interested!
First up we have Miss Country’s alma mater (and where SRL gets the L in its name): the University of Limerick! Situated overlooking the longest river in Ireland, the River Shannon in the south of Ireland, the University of Limerick (aka UL) was founded in 1972 and gained university status in 1989—the first university to be granted it since the Republic of Ireland was established in 1922. With just over 15,000 students (around 2,400 of those international!), this 340 acre suburban campus is known for its international focus and dedication to both the arts and sciences.
UL’s motto is Eagna chun Gnímh, which is “Wisdom for action,” a completely fitting name for a school with an outstanding Cooperative Education program. This program is one of the largest in Europe, and has led to graduate employment rates far higher than the national average. Cooperative Education (we might call in an internship program) concentrates on making sure students graduate with not only academic accomplishments, but professional experience by setting up over 2,000 students a year with 6-to-8 month work study placements. Around 30% of students are placed with international companies and the program encompasses 56 different courses of study!
The wisdom for action continues with UL’s research-heavy science programs—highly specialized disciplines that aim to work together to achieve breakthroughs that can only be accomplished through interdisciplinary cooperation. But UL knows that wisdom doesn’t only lie in the sciences—it has well-developed art programs as well, including housing the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, the Irish Chamber Orchestra, and an extensive fine arts collection. The word “dance” may have caught your attention there, and it should! UL offers the only degrees specifically in Irish dance and music in the world (both a BA and MA.) (As you may have guessed, Miss Courtney graduated from this four-year bachelor’s program before she returned home to Connecticut to open SRL!)
Miss Courtney probably felt right at home studying at UL, since it’s considered the “American University in Ireland” due to their adoption of a few American practices. UL is on a trimester schedule that mirrors most American colleges, and also uses the same scaled GPA system we’re used to. In addition, like many large schools in the good ol’ U.S.A., UL is known for its superior sporting facilities (though their football looks a little different.) They actually have the largest all-weather sports complex in all of Europe!
But what about student life? While there’s five student villages, there’s not a dearth of on-campus housing. Instead, the Limerick suburb of Castletroy has become what we would call in America a “college town,” with most students finding a home there (making the majority of their population during the school year UL students!) Overall, life at UL seems to be a happy one—it’s considered the most popular uni in Ireland with an 85% student approval rating. With over 70 clubs and societies, a buddy program for international students, and an extremely active student union that emphasizes community, UL is known for having an enthusiastic student body. And it doesn’t hurt that while the campus boasts beautiful, bucolic views, the 3rd largest city in Ireland is only minutes away!
But, that’s only one of Ireland’s incredible schools! Tune back in next time to take a look at Ireland’s top-ranked school academically: Trinity College Dublin.
This post is part of a series. Read our last Modern Ireland post, all beloved Irish snacks, here. Check out the blog every Monday and Thursday for more posts about Irish history, dance culture, community news, and spotlights on our dancers, staff, and families—among other fun projects! And don’t forget to dance along with us on both Facebook and Instagram
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