Galway, also known as the cultural heart of Ireland, the festival capital of Europe, the fourth largest city in the Republic, and home to one of Ireland’s top universities: National University of Ireland, Galway (NUI Galway or NUIG.) Located in the heart of the city on the River Corrib, NUIG first opened its doors in 1849 as Queen’s College Galway and the western Irish city continued to build itself around the school. It’s come a long way since then—from less than 100 students to over 19,000, from 173 years in the past to one of the leading public research universities in the world.
Ranking in the top 2% of universities in the world, with 98% of graduates working or pursuing higher study within 6 months of graduation, NUI Galway’s reputation has been on the rise in recent years. In fact, in the past five years, NUIG has been the only university in Ireland to consistently rise in ranking in both the QS and Times University Rankings. This is mainly due to NUIG’s concentration on cutting edge, inter-disciplinary research programs that are of pressing importance to the wider world, drawing experts in five urgent fields: Applied Social Science and Public Policy, Biomedical Science and Engineering, Environment, Marine, and Energy, Humanities in Context (including Digital Humanities,) and Informatics, Data Analytics, and Physical and Computational Sciences. These programs include partnerships with over 3,000 outside institutions in 114 different countries.
As you can tell from the above, there’s essentially nothing that’s not on offer at NUI Galway—including the arts and not only Ireland’s, but all of Europe’s vast and expansive culture. Galway is a city just on the edge of Europe, meaning there’s nowhere better in Ireland for opportunities to travel and to expand students’ cultural experiences. And with international students making up 18% of the NUIG student body—that’s over 4,000 students from over 110 countries—the school itself is also a chance for students to explore new cultures…all while in the heart of Ireland’s own rich and vibrant culture (just check out their Celtic Studies department!)
With the motto Shared Vision, Shaped by Values, NUIG’s core tenets are respect, excellence, openness, and sustainability—looking toward kindness, striving for equality, and using academic greatness as a jumping off point to empower students to change the world for the better. It’s this view that education is for the social good versus individual edification that helped NUIG become the Sunday Times’s 2022 University of the Year—but also its reputation as a place where creativity thrives, no matter the subject matter. They’ve also made huge changes to adapt to the way the pandemic has challenged the traditional college experience, allowing students to explore more broadly in their first year before specializing—this “Designing Futures” program is a departure from most Irish and European schools.
The campus proves to be yet another plus—considered and consistently voted one of the most beautiful campuses in Europe, it combines the charm of a university town and all the benefits of a larger city (though the student body does make up 20% of the population during term!) Only moments away from a cosmopolitan experience with non-stop cultural (and plain old fun) festivals on one end or the rugged Irish country of Connemara and the Aran Islands on the other, NUIG has something for every student. And with details like their Aula Maxima being a replica of Christ Church’s in Oxford (but built of local stone,) these diverse experiences are also steeped in rich tradition. Student life is as varied as academic life—besides all the opportunities beyond the school’s walls, there’s a booming art and media scene, volunteer work, tons of sports clubs, and over 100 student societies to join. And while, like most schools in Europe, housing is largely outside of campus, NUIG does all it can to help facilitate the process!
Tune in next time, where we’ll be covering something a little different…one of Ireland’s technological universities!
This post is part of a series. Read modern Ireland post, all about UCC, 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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