Ready to Go Study Abroad

Whether you’re still deciding on courses or you’re packing your bags, you can always contact our staff to help you along. Yes there is paperwork and yes there are decisions to make around course selection, housing preferences, dates, travel necessities, registration, budgeting and more. Our staff can walk you through it all.

Once you apply to Arcadia, our program advisors are in regular contact with you about the status of your application and they send out extensive information that will prepare you to go abroad, including information on culture, politics, history and the local higher education system.

Once you arrive, our staff will meet you and introduce you to your accommodation and your orientation program will begin – to help you settle in academically, practically, culturally and socially.

Important: The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland

The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland are separate jurisdictions, yet located on the same island. Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom. If you are studying or interning abroad in the Republic of Ireland (Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway, etc.) for a Semester or Academic Year, click on the Irish Immigration Process to learn more about the immigration process. If you are studying or interning abroad in the Republic of Ireland on a summer program and you are a citizen of the U.S.A., you do not need to complete any immigration process. If you are studying abroad in Belfast, Northern Ireland at Queen's University, Belfast, click on UK Visa Requirements to learn about the visa process.

First! Home school arrangements

  • Let your study abroad advisor know that you are taking part in an Arcadia University program
  • Cancel any housing or meal contracts for the time you’ll be away and make arrangements to reactivate them when you return.
  • If registration for next year's courses on your home campus will take place while you are abroad, ensure that the appropriate arrangements are made with your registrar or study abroad advisor.
  • Some students enrolled on semester programs decide when they are overseas to stay for the full year. This is possible. While home college approval for continued study can be obtained when you are abroad, it will be much easier to make the necessary arrangements and receive preliminary approval before you leave the U.S.

Academic Matters

Although one should never generalize about another culture or try, in a few words, to describe such idiosyncratic institutions as another country's universities, this section does both. Arcadia believes it is critical to be prepared for immersion in the Irish educational system by describing some of its important characteristics. Here are a few things we think it will be helpful for you to know.

Postsecondary Education in Ireland

When you compare statistics on postsecondary education in Ireland or Northern Ireland (which is part of the UK) with those on higher education in the United States, you are immediately struck by the great differences in scale.

America has lots of universities, and many very large ones. We have some 2,100 four-year, postsecondary institutions, more than 50 of which have enrollments in excess of 25,000 students.

In all of the United Kingdom (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales) there are about 115 universities and another 140 "colleges" of such specialties as fine arts, music and drama, technology or education. The Republic of Ireland has only about a dozen university-level institutions and twenty or so "colleges." A typical British or Irish university enrolls 6,000 to 12,000 students, with only the very largest one or two accommodating more than 20,000. (The exception is Britain's Open University, a non-residential institution, which serves more than 20,000 students.)

Student Populations

A far smaller proportion of students attend colleges and universities in Ireland than in the United States. The students who go on to college are very well-prepared to do so. During the last two years of high school they specialize in college preparatory courses (many of which are similar to the advanced placement courses available in U.S. high schools) and then they take special national examinations (Irish Leaving Certificate) in order to qualify to compete for acceptance to a university program.

It is during this process of studying for their end-of-high-school examinations that most Irish students acquire that breadth of academic knowledge and understanding which we in North America would recognize as the fundamental components of a liberal education.

By the time they get to university level, most Irish students are prepared to concentrate on a particular subject, and they are expected to do so.

Admission to University

In Ireland and in the United Kingdom, students are admitted not to a university as a whole but to a specific course of study within it. They are accepted, for example, to study chemistry at Queen’s University, or to study English at University College Cork.

The idea that a student might usefully pursue courses in three or four different academic departments during a given semester is a North American one. It is not a practice followed on the other side of the Atlantic.

A political science major, for example, will take almost all of his/her courses each semester in the political science department. That student might be allowed to "minor" in another subject closely related to the "major" (for example, history or international relations or law) or may be in a "joint honors" (double major) program, but this individual would never encounter a requirement to pass a course in mathematics or English or music appreciation in order to complete undergraduate degree requirements.

The point here is that the host country students with whom you will be studying are much more restricted in their choices of courses than you are or will be.

Degree Programs

Most bachelor's degree programs in Ireland and the United Kingdom are three years (6 semesters or 9 terms) long. This abbreviated time period recognizes that students engage in focused work in a narrow range of discipline as undergraduates.

The exception to this generalization are at Trinity College Dublin and the University of Limerick, which have four-year undergraduate degree programs.

Arcadia program students frequently find themselves enrolled in second year courses. This does not mean that an American junior is being demoted to sophomore level; it means, rather, that the course which is appropriate for you is the one which is taught the year before graduation.

In a three-year degree program, this would be a second-year course. Arcadia program students are often successful in some third year British courses and many take first year courses in disciplines in which they've had no previous background.

Approaches Toward Students

Probably the key difference between higher education in Ireland and the United Kingdom and that with which you are familiar in the United States comes in the approach which the host institution will have to you as a student.

They will assume that you are a serious learner. You should understand from the outset that nobody at the host institution feels an obligation to teach you. You should expect to find instructors who are glad to lecture, happy to discuss, pleased to read and to criticize what you have written and who are interested in responding to what you have to say.

You will find those same instructors equally willing to leave you alone, to let you attend or not, to permit you to choose to turn in assignments or not, to allow you to set your own pace.

It would be highly unusual for Irish instructors to go out of their way to ensure that you are doing your work. Chances are that you will not be closely monitored, you will not have your hand held, you will not be told (without asking) how or when to do all the work that you should be doing.


There are, however, expectations. You will be expected to turn in assigned papers and to perform successfully on examinations. In order to do these things, you will need to have done, on your own, a fair amount of reading on, thinking about and perhaps even discussing of the topics covered in the course.

You will find academic subjects presented in a variety of ways: large lectures (you are probably familiar with these in the United States), smaller classes (these are usually conducted by the lecturer or by an assistant to the lecturer and frequently focus on topics that are dealt with in the lectures), and seminars (here an instructor and up to twenty students gather to discuss readings that might have been done or papers which might have been written by members of the seminar group).


Most courses rely heavily on your doing a good deal of reading during your non-scheduled time. The list of readings which is distributed by the instructor on (or near) the first day of class can be quite intimidating. As many as 50 or more books and articles can appear on the reading list. The instructor responsible for the course will expect you to "look into" several of these works. He or she may not want to tell you which ones.

As an intelligent student who is responsible for his/her own intellectual development, you will be expected to decide which materials to read. You will be encouraged to find themes among them that are of interest to you and then to do further reading on those themes. You may then be asked to write a paper setting forth your analysis of one or more of these themes. When this happens, be sure to find out what's meant by the term "paper" and, if you can, ascertain the instructor's expectations concerning form, length, citation of sources, etc.


Examination timetables in Ireland and in the United Kingdom are usually not set until at least halfway into the semester. It is imperative that you attend your assigned exam time. No exceptions will be made, except possibly in cases of true emergency. If you do not fulfill your academic responsibilities and do not complete your examinations as scheduled, you may fail any affected courses, and Arcadia will not be able to intercede on your behalf in such cases.

Almost invariably you will be expected to "sit" an examination at the end of each of your courses. In some courses, this final examination may be the only evaluation of your work. It is thus possible, in a full-year course, to come to a three-hour time slot at the end of the year during which you must demonstrate, by answering a few questions, that you have read widely, thought deeply and learned something of significance during the preceding nine months. Generally there will be fewer assessed papers and tests in Irish classes than you are used to.

Comprehensive Work

The emphasis in Ireland and the UK is on producing comprehensive work that shows both the breadth of your reading and the originality of your approach to a subject. American students find it particularly challenging to be expected to summarize the work of an entire semester or year in one or two papers and/or a single three-hour examination period.

Nearly every university provides special tutorial sessions on paper-writing and/or exam-taking for their own students, which you should plan to attend if you are not certain about these expectations.


Clearly, your academic life will be different overseas. You wouldn't want it to be exactly like home, would you? It's a challenge. It can even be fun. It's an opportunity to show what you can do pretty much on your own. You have already demonstrated an ability to handle the academic work - if you couldn't, you wouldn't have been accepted. Now what you will need to discover is how to continue being a successful student in quite different surroundings.

As a general rule, you will be expected to take charge of your education in Ireland. You must be certain you know how you are being assessed in each of your classes, since the patterns vary quite widely, even within the same university. You will be required to take any examination and/or special assessment for which you qualify during the period you are in attendance at the university.

Arcadia University's Role

The role of Arcadia University The College of Global Studies will be to help and support you throughout the academic process.

  • At the beginning of your overseas experience our staff will help to orient and advise you.
  • We will put you in touch with individuals on the host campus who will help you to register in the classes you elect to take. We will provide you with guidance concerning the academic calendar and credits, requiring that you register for a full academic load and that you do not overload or underload without special permission. (Such permission must come not only from the host institution but also from your home institution and from the College of Global Studies at Arcadia University.)
  • We will facilitate communication between you and your home school in an attempt to resolve any course or credit conflicts that may arise during the registration process.
  • Members of our staff will visit you on campus from time to time not only to check on your academic enrollment but to ask how you're doing in general. If there are difficulties, we encourage you to reach out to us, bring them to our attention and let us help you resolve them.
  • We acknowledge responsibility to several parties in the study abroad process. We have a responsibility to you, our student, to be certain that you are given the educational opportunity which you expect to find overseas and to provide you with the opportunity to succeed academically. We have an obligation to your family to do everything within reason to assure your safety and well-being. We have an obligation to your home school to receive your credits and grades from the host institution and to "translate" and report them honestly.
  • We must also notify your home school of situations of which we become aware which may affect the credit that you will be likely to transfer back from a study abroad experience.That way, we try to avoid having anyone surprise anyone else at the end of a program.
  • Finally, we have an obligation to get out of your way and give you an opportunity to gain everything possible from your study abroad experience.
  • At orientation, you will be required to sign an Arcadia University academic contract. This contract states your responsibilities as an Arcadia program student. If you have any questions about it, please discuss them with your program advisor before leaving this country.
  • Arcadia University and its overseas staff serve as a safety net, a point of contact.
  • We will provide a good deal of advice and guidance. We are there for you to call on when you need us. It is you, however, you who's undergoing this study abroad experience. We hope it will be all you expect.


It’s important to think about all the expenses you are likely to incur while abroad so you and your family can plan ahead. Your program fees section explains what your program fee does and does not cover, and will provide you with an overall estimate of expected expenses. For example, your airfare to Ireland is not included in your program fee. It is important to note that the "Estimate of Additional Expenses" information is provided for planning purposes only, and may vary according to your own personal spending habits.

Items to consider

  • All visiting non-US citizens must pay the registration fee of €300 when registering with the Immigration authorities in Ireland.  Please refer to immigration information for more details.
  • Expect to spend extra on meals and basic expenses during your first couple of weeks in-country as you settle in.
  • Some universities assess a special course fee for physical sciences or engineering. Each university has its own policy. Some assess a fee for every special course taken, while others assess the fee only if a certain portion of courses is taken within one of these departments. Depending on your program, the special fee can range from $1,500 to about $3,000. Don't let this fee catch you by surprise. You will not be billed for this fee until after you have registered for classes overseas.
  • Allow $75 per week for meals taken in collegiate/student union refectories or prepared yourself. Estimate more if you plan to eat out a lot.
  • The cost of meals, books, local transport and personal items will vary. If you are assigned to a university residence hall with a required meal plan, you will be billed for this extra cost about one month after your program begins. Personal expenses include costs for laundry, phone calls, entertainment, gym membership, etc. Check out the FAQ section for tips on phones and our vacation travel considerations.
  • If you are in Dublin, you will commute to class. A 5-day student bus ticket costs €22.50 or a 30-day ticket costs €111.50. This can be used on non-consecutive days for an unlimited number of journeys each day.. You may want to buy a second hand bike (at about €80-€100) to ride when the weather is good. If you are in a program outside of Dublin, you should have minimal transportation costs. Most students walk or buy used bicycles. You should also allow for rail/bus fare for weekend excursions.
  • Count up your weeks of study and vacation if any under your program.
  • Make daily and weekly budgets and stick to them.

Sample Budget WorksheetExpenses
Full program fee (including $500 deposit) $
Orientation expenses
Meals (#program weeks _ x $ _ per wk)
Special Courses Fee
Local transport
Personal expenses
Vacation expenses
Total Expenses

Family contribution $              
Your savings
Stafford Loan (deduct 5% for origination fees)
Other financial aid
Other resources
Total Resources


Financial Tips

  • The Republic of Ireland uses the Euro (€) while Northern Ireland uses the British pound sterling (£).
  • To check today's dollar/sterling exchange rate, use an exchange rate currency calculator.


You will soon become an expert at international banking transactions…

Contact Your Bank

  • Before you leave the US contact your bank and/or credit card company to let them know that you will be studying abroad – where and for how long.
  • If your bank is not aware that you will be using your card(s) overseas, they may cancel your card(s) due to suspicious activity outside your normal spending patterns.
  • Also confirm with your bank that you will be able to use your card(s) overseas, that your our NUMERICAL personal identification number (PIN) will work abroad and find out what their fees are.
  • Ask your bank for a list of overseas outlets where your card is accepted.

Carrying Cash

  • It's a good idea to arrive with at least the equivalent of $200 in your wallet exchanged into local currency – you can do this at your local bank if you give them notice or at the airport for a hefty charge.
  • Your American ATM card should work at most banks overseas including your arrival airport. Local banks, building societies or a Bureau de change will also exchange currency but note their operating hours – many close by 5pm.

Cash Machines (ATMs)

If your ATM card is linked to the Plus or Cirrus systems, your card will work in thousands of cash machines throughout the country. The advantage to using your American ATM card is that you will be assessed the wholesale exchange rate that applies to large foreign currency transactions. That said, have other sources of money in case your ATM card does not work.

Credit Cards

You can use most credit cards in Europe but they must be in your name, as it appears on your passport. Visa and MasterCard are more widely accepted than American Express and Discover cards are not accepted in Britain but AmEx Offices can assist you with cashing US checks. Credit card cash advances are considered loans, so interest is charged from the day the advance is made. Before you depart, check with your card company for more information on what services you’ll have where, what fees are involved and what to do if you lose your card.

Irish Bank Accounts

The Arcadia staff in Dublin will walk you through the process of opening an account at an Irish bank. In order to set up a bank account, you will need your passport and student identification, which will be provided to you during your university orientation. Accounts can be opened with cash or travelers checks.

Each university in the Republic has, on its campus or close by, a branch of Ulster Bank, AIB or Bank of Ireland; and in The North, campus banks are: Ulster Bank, RBS and Danske. Once you arrive at your campus, you will need to go into the bank and deposit your money. You will be issued an ATM card within one week of opening your account.

Wire Transfer is the fastest way to speed up the process. It takes a day or two for the money to go through. It takes a week for the Irish Debit Card to get to you. Opening the account takes roughly an hour.

Be aware that deposits of anything other than travelers checks will take some time to clear, when opening your account. You should allow ample time (4-6 weeks) for this process and have back-up resources in the form of travelers checks and/or a major credit card. There should be no waiting period if you use travelers checks to set up your account.

In an Emergency

When the program is in session, our Dublin office can make emergency loans to students. Students must sign a promissory note and repay the loan as soon as they receive money from home. If you find yourself in dire financial straits while traveling, the State Department can help your family transfer money to you (provided you are a U.S. citizen).


Travel Information

Your program advisor will alert you via email when it is time to book your flight and provide pertinent logistics information at that time.


Visa Information

This applies to Semester & Year students in the Republic of Ireland ONLY. For more information, please contact your program advisor. Students studying in Northern Ireland should see UK Visa Requirements.

All non-EU students studying in the Republic of Ireland for more than 3 months are required to complete a registration process with Immigration Services (INIS) and pay a €300 EURO registration fee within their first month in country.

This is not a visa and cannot be completed prior to arriving in Ireland. American citizens do not need a visa to study in Ireland.

Irish Registration Process Guidelines

  • You are required to register with Irish Immigration (INIS) within one month of your arrival on campus.

  • The Arcadia Dublin staff will review this process with you during the Arcadia orientation in Dublin and direct you on what to expect.

  • In some instances your host institution will arrange a day for all visiting students to register as a group. Directions will be provided during your on-campus orientation.

  • You are required to produce several documents, along with a €300 fee. Official letters of enrollment and support will be provided by Arcadia University and your host institution. Year students are responsible for providing personal financial records.

  • Upon successful completion of registration, an Immigration Officer will place the Immigration Certificate of Registration into your passport.

To complete the registration process, you will be required to produce:

  • Arcadia University Certification Letter (provided by Arcadia during Orientation)

  • Acceptance Letter from your Irish host institution (provided by Arcadia during Orientation)

  • Arcadia-provided health insurance ID card or confirmation letter. You will receive information regarding your insurance, and how to access your ID card, before you depart for Ireland. Your ID card or confirmation letter must be printed off in its original color format (black and white version may not be accepted).

  • €300 EURO Registration fee. Only Credit card, Debit card and Bank Giro* are accepted (American Express cards are not accepted at some INIS branches). Cash will not be accepted.

  • *YEAR students only: An original bank statement from an Irish bank which shows funds of €3,000. You must open a bank account in Ireland in order to demonstrate your financial status to the Immigration authorities. Student bank accounts with Irish banks are not liable to any bank surcharges. You will need to have a letter to open a bank account and this can be obtained from the International Office at your University. Arcadia staff will explain how to open an Irish bank account during Orientation.

  • Some programs require additional requirements which would be provided by host institution.

*A Bank Giro is a way of transferring money by instructing a bank to directly transfer funds from one bank account to another without the use of handling cash, etc. You will be given clear instructions on how to use the Giro when you go into the bank if needed.

Other Information

If you are in possession of an EU passport, you may not be required to complete the Irish Registration Process. Please speak with the International staff at your host institution after arrival for further instruction.

The Irish Immigration Services could change their rules and/or requirements at any time. Arcadia or your host institution will inform you of updates.