So in my last blog, The First Month of Studying Abroad, I talked a bit about why I decided to come to Ireland above any other choice. So I decided that this blog would be focused on a more in depth look at the decision and most of the factors that came into play when making it.
International vs Canadian Education
So one of the questions I got asked a lot was why I was looking at the international market for completing my degree vs doing so in Canada. One of the largest factors of this was actually the education system in Ontario itself. During my college career I became heavily involved in the Student Representative Council at St. Clair College. Being a student leader showed me how amazing the education system in Ontario was but also how flawed it was. Now don’t get me wrong, I love Canada but not everything about the country is prefect.
So in my opinion one of greater flaws in the system is transfer agreements. I’m mainly talking about transfers from any of the colleges to the universities. Most the transfer agreements allowed me to enter the third year of a four year degree program. Now there were some better fast-track programs but they weren't cheap. So staying in Canada would have meant two more years in school. When I graduated Business Admin Marketing at St. Clair, I would have been a college student for a total of five years. Three for Marketing and two years before which got me my diploma in Mechanical Engineering Technician - Industrial So I wasn’t looking forward to adding another two more years to the total.
In researching this, I started talking to consulting companies like KOM consulting who specializes in helping students find international schooling opportunities. Though KOM and other groups, I learnt that I could achieve the same level of schooling (Bachelor's of Business) in one year instead of two in Canada. This really changed my options and I started to focus on finding the right country and school to go to.
How did decided on Ireland?
With my newly discovered option of an international education, it was time to hit the books. I started to look at every option and tired to narrow my list of countries down. After week or two, I nailed it down to the top three countries: Britain, Scotland and Ireland. Around this same time, St. Clair College had a fair for international transfers, which had representatives from schools in Britain, Scotland and Ireland down to talk to us. I used this opportunity to ask a million questions and in doing so, I narrowed it down to one country, Ireland. It really can down to one simple thing, you did not need a student Visa to study in Ireland as a Canadian. I knew from talking with international students who came to Canada, that visa applications are extremely complicated and not always easy to obtain. So Ireland become the top contender on that point alone.
Ireland also has a rich culture, beautiful landscapes and is an english speaking country. These also played a huge role in the decision. The beauty of Ireland really preyed on my, at the time, new found passion for photography. I knew that if I came to Ireland that I would have an amazing time experiencing life in Ireland but also running around taking photos of the country.
Why IT Sligo?
The first question I got asked once I told anyone that I applied to IT Sligo was “Where is Sligo?”. Sligo is quite far from Dublin which is why I had a lot of people asking why go to IT Sligo when I could have gone to school in Dublin, Cork or Carlow. This choice came down to three main aspects, cost, connections and the staff. When I was looking into the schools, I started to reach out to some students I knew who came to Ireland the year before to study in the same program.
Sara, a graduate from the same program I took at St. Clair and friend, told me all about IT Sligo, the town and the area. Having Sara to help me better understand what school would be like in Ireland and IT Sligo really put the school at the top of my list. I started reading her blogs and asking a ton of questions about how she selected IT Sligo over the other schools. Sara was one of the big factors for why I selected IT Sligo.
Well tuition was mostly the same in all the Irish schools I was looking into, the cost of living in each area wasn’t. Sligo was far cheaper than Dublin and more remote. This meant I could have more money to travel and experience Ireland and Europe. Sligo is also far closer to Belfast and Northern Ireland which gives me quick access to the UK.
Lastly the staff at IT Sligo are amazing, especially the International Department. Patrick, the International Manager for IT Sligo, was always there to answer any questions and even came to St. Clair College to talk to us about coming to IT Sligo. Having someone who was so helpful and willing to work with us to get us to Ireland, really helped solidify my decision to come to IT Sligo. Patrick made sure we had everything lined up for us before we left Canada and made moving here a lot easier. Even since I’ve got here, Patrick and the staff at IT Sligo have been nothing but supportive for our education.
That’s basically it for why I picked Ireland and IT Sligo. I definitely don’t regret even for a second coming to school at IT Sligo in Sligo, Ireland.
Thanks for reading! I plan on writing more blogs in the future so say tuned for those. If you want to stay up to date on my photography, follow me on instagram @colintopliffe