Record numbers of foreign students studying English in Ireland

Language students from 101 countries, but Italians, Spanish and French most common

A total of 119,000 students learned English in Ireland in 2016, up by 11,871 on the previous year. Photograph: Getty Images

A total of 119,000 students learned English in Ireland in 2016, up by 11,871 on the previous year. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Record numbers of international students are studying English in Ireland, according to the latest figures.

Last year saw an 11 per cent increase in language students, despite recent school closures. A total of 119,000 students learned English in Ireland in 2016, up by 11,871 on the previous year.

Figures from Marketing English in Ireland (MEI), the organisation representing 65 regulated English language schools and colleges, show the majority of students – 78 per cent (93,000) - were from the EU, with the largest number from Italy, Spain and France. And 50 per cent of all students were under 17 and from the EU.

A further 15 per cent (18,000 students) came from regions where no visa was required, including Brazil, Japan and South Korea.

The remaining 8,000 students (7 per cent of the total) came from outside the EU and countries which require visas for study in Ireland including Russia, Saudi Arabia and China.

Chief executive of the MEI David O’Grady said students spent 5.3 weeks on average in Ireland, with EU language learners staying for two and a half weeks.

Language learners came from a record 101 countries, up from 89 in 2015.