The Government of Ireland has launched a new international scholarship scheme aimed at attracting students from emerging and priority markets, including China, India, Brazil and the US, as part of a strategy aimed at boosting Ireland as a study destination.
Enterprise Ireland estimates that the international student sector is worth more than €1bn a year to the Irish economy, and is a priority area in the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs 2013.
The first group of 20 international students have already received their scholarships. The students from India, China and Brazil are in either their final year of undergraduate studies or at post-graduate level.
Under the Government of Ireland International Scholarships, they have all fees and registration charges waived and also receive €10,000 to cover living expenses for one year of study in Ireland.
A further 22 scholarships will be awarded to students from China, India, Brazil and the United States for the 2013/14 academic year.
A calculated move by a trading economy
Minister for Education and Skills Ruairí Quinn said, “This new scholarship scheme is a key part of our efforts to promote Ireland as a centre for international study.
“We are a trading economy, and so we need to raise Ireland’s links with major emerging markets, like China, Brazil and India. By awarding scholarships to top students from these countries, we are making an investment in our future trading relationships, which will benefit Irish business, tourism and cultural interests overseas.”
Also acknowledged at the event were participants in Education in Ireland’s International Student Ambassador Programme.
Quinn thanked the student ambassadors, nearly 40 of whom have been actively engaged in promoting Ireland through social media.
“This outstanding group of young people from around the world are playing a crucial role in promoting Ireland as an education destination. Their tweets, blogs, posts and podcasts are reaching the student audiences we want to hear about Ireland.”
The international scholars and student ambassadors were awarded certificates at the Department of Education and Skills and were honoured by a reception at Áras an Uachtaráin in the presence of the President Michael D Higgins.
The power of social media
Marina Donohoe, head of education at Enterprise Ireland, which manages the International Student Ambassador programme, added: “Education in Ireland, the umbrella brand for promoting Irish higher-education institutions in international markets, is actively targeting students in India, Brazil, the USA, China and the Middle East, to encourage them to study in Ireland. The power of social media cannot be underestimated as we seek to interact with international students.
“In January 2012, we had 42,008 online interactions with the Education in Ireland brand. A year on, this number has increased to 631,000 – reflecting the success of Enterprise Ireland’s strategy to promote and drive the Education in Ireland brand online using social media with significant inputs from our international student ambassadors.
“Students talk to each other online. The blogs, videos, tweets and podcasts posted by our student ambassadors are a great endorsement of student life in Ireland and a fantastic way to help promote Ireland as a destination for international education,” Donohoe said.