Q.1 Who is eligible for the Irish Way?
The Irish Way is a summer program designed for students who are interested in Irish culture and international travel. Students who have graduated from the eighth grade and are entering high school after the program, through students graduating high school just before the program begins (generally 14-18 years old) are eligible to participate.
Q.2 How do students apply to the Irish Way?
There is an application with nine questions for the applicant and three questions for the parents and/or guardians of the student. Written recommendations are also required from at least one teacher and one counselor as well as a copy of their current school transcripts.
Q.3 Is acceptance to the Irish Way competitive?
Yes, it is fairly competitive. We look for intelligent, independent, motivated, enthusiastic and well-rounded young men and women who are looking to setforth on an incredible journey to Ireland. Everyone must have a passion for experiencing a new and different culture and should be excited to be a part of this incredible adventure.
Q.4 When should I submit my application?
It is recommended that you submit your application as soon as possible to insure that the program does not reach its capacity before you have the chance to apply. The final deadline is April 1, 2017. However, we will continue to accept applications if there is space available, or will put you on a waiting list in case there are any cancellations.
Q.5 When will I find out if I’ve been accepted into the program?
Once the Irish Way receives your completed application and recommendations, with the required deposit, it should take 2-3 weeks to review and notify you of the decision.
Q.6 What is the cost of the Irish Life program and what does it include?
The cost of the Irish Way is $5,100 if applicants apply and pay in full before January 1, 2017. After January 1, 2017, the cost of the program is $5,500. This covers round-trip airfare from Logan Airport (BOS) to Ireland, room and board, tuition, group tours, and activities. Personal items such as souvenirs, snacks, Internet, and phone calls are not included. There will occasionally be optional activities offered at an additional cost, such as movies and amusement park rides.
Q.7 Is full payment required with the application?
No. Students are required to send a $600 deposit with their application, of which $100 is non-refundable if they are not accepted into the program. If accepted, an additional $1,000 is required by March 1, 2017 and the full balance by June 1, 2017, unless you qualify for the Early Bird Special prior to January 1, 2017. ($400 discount with full payment.)
Q.1 After I’m accepted into the program when will I hear from the Irish Way?
The Irish Way will send out a packet of information and contracts to students and parents a few weeks after being notified of acceptance. It’s important to complete all of the required information in a timely fashion. Once you have paid in full you will receive a handbook. The handbook will contain all of the necessary information that students and parents will need to know about the program. If students and parents have questions they are welcome to contact the Irish Way at any time.
Q.2 Where are the students typically from?
Students come from every corner of America and Canada. Students will find a list of other participating students and their hometowns in their handbook prior to departure. The handbook will also contain contact information for each student so that they can communicate beforehand and get to know one another.
Q.3 How many students participate in the Irish Way each year?
The number of students varies each summer, but typically there are between 30 to 65 students.
Q.4 What are the ages of the students who participate in the Irish Way?
Again, this varies with every program, but there is a good mix of all ages ranging from 14-18 years old.
Q.5 Can I bring a friend or relative with me?
Absolutely! The majority of students come to the program by themselves, but some students choose to bring a friend along to share their experience. And although most students leave home without knowing anyone in the program, they tend to return home with lifelong friends.
Q.6 Does the Irish Way provide contact information for past students and parents who can answer first-hand questions about the program?
Our alumni are our best advocates. They are often the ones who are best able to share unique details about the experience. We will provide you with contact information of past students and parents upon request.
Your Summer in Ireland
Q.1 Where will the students live?
Students will live in boarding schools. They are comfortable accommodations which provide the necessities. See High School Accommodations.
Q.2 What kind of classes will the students take?
The core curriculum for the Irish Way is Gaelic language, Irish history, Irish American history, Irish studies, literature, dance and drama. There will also be various required and optional workshops. These classes and workshops, combined with tours and field trips, will provide a wonderful, comprehensive introduction to Irish culture. Each student will have a better understanding of and deeper appreciation for the history and traditions of Ireland by the end of the program.
Q.3 How are the students supervised?
The students are supervised by coordinators, teachers, and counselors. There will be a staff member on duty at all times, 24/7. The size of the group will determine the exact number of staff, but we typically maintain a student-to-staff ratio of 7:1.
Q.4 Is there a curfew?
Yes. Depending on the daily schedule, students must be on campus for dinner before having free time until bed check. The Irish Way enforces a strict lights-out policy. Students must be in their rooms by 11:30 PM and lights-out is at 11:45 PM. Since the Irish Way has a very demanding schedule of classes, activities, and tours it is important for each student to get the required amount of sleep.
Q.5 Can parents attend the program with their child(ren)?
The program is reserved for students only. However, parents may meet their child(ren) after the program and travel with them in Ireland. Through an exclusive partnership with Tenon Tours, parents will be offered a specially-designed package at a discounted rate. Tenon Tours provides international travel experiences in Ireland year-round through numerous packages including their Signature Tours, group trips, self-drive packages, and custom tours.
Q.6 Will students have access to laundry facilities?
The Irish Way will have two pick-up dates for laundry. The first will be during the last few days in Waterford (about 8 days into the program) and the other the last few days in Dublin (about a week before returning home). We suggest students bring a laundry bag, wash and wear clothes, and put initials on all of their clothing tags. There are also laundry facilities at Gort na Coiribe in Galway but the expense is not covered by the Irish Way.
Q.7 How do students communicate with family and friends back home?
Students will have limited access to phones while on the Irish Way. International plans are very expensive. If students would like a phone for the duration of their stay in Ireland, we recommend buying a cheap phone once in Ireland. Internet is usually available through various hot spots, which most students find to be the most affordable way to communicate with friends and family overseas.
Q.8 Can I bring a cell phone?
While cell phones are allowed, they can be a very expensive option and are often a distraction during the program. A significant part of the Irish Way is stepping outside of your everyday world to experience new things. You want to make sure you’re not letting things pass you by while you’re on the phone. If you do decide you would like a cell phone while in Ireland, we recommend renting a cell phone from Tenon Tours.
Q.9 Can I bring a laptop?
Although we understand that life may not be complete without a laptop back home, we find one to be unnecessary during the Irish Way. They can be heavy and cumbersome to travel with. Since there are many Internet cafes you shouldn’t need a laptop for emailing home. If you’re thinking about bringing a laptop along in order to download your digital pictures you may want to consider bringing along an extra memory card instead.
Q.10 When can parents expect to hear from their child(ren)?
The Irish Way will update the blog the day after the students arrive in Ireland to let them know they have arrived safely. It is extremely important to keep our Irish Way Team up to date with each parent/guardian’s current email address. Students will be very busy with classes and tours the first week, so it’s important to be patient. Your child(ren) are in good hands as they adjust to a new country, learn a new culture, travel the land, make new friends and have the most fun possible!
Q.11 What is the best way for students to get/carry money?
We recommend that students carry a limited amount of cash and use a credit/debit card as needed. We have found that debit cards are the best option for accessing cash. Students should be aware of current exchange rates and remember that amounts withdrawn overseas are stated in the local currency, so “100″ would be 100 Euros (roughly $130 USD). We recommend they withdraw infrequent larger amounts, rather than frequent smaller withdrawals, as most banks charge an international transaction fee. The issuing bank for the card should be notified in advance to avoid problems with using the card overseas.
Q.12 How much do students spend on the Irish Way?
We recommend a budget between $500-$700 for out-of-pocket expenses. It’s important to discuss a spending budget with your child(ren) prior to departure so expectations are met. Students will receive a list of popular souvenirs and the cost of each before they depart, which will help determine what they may need to spend to fulfill their “wish list.”
Q.13 How will I reach my child(ren) if there is an emergency?
Students and parents will be given the Irish Way Coordinator’s mobile number before the program departs. The number is only to be used for emergency purposes.
Q.14 Is health insurance included?
Health insurance is not included in the Irish Way. We do require that participants have valid international health coverage for the duration of the program and that a copy of their insurance information be submitted to our US office prior to the departure date.
Q.15 What do I do if I get sick?
The Irish Way takes all precautions available to ensure that students are traveling within a safe environment, eating well-prepared meals, getting an appropriate amount of sleep and sleeping within clean, safe surroundings at all times. However, sometimes sickness is unavoidable in a large group setting. We take every measure to ensure that students receive appropriate medical care when necessary. Doctors are close to every lodging location, and in cases where professional medical care is needed the Irish Way will arrange a medical appointment. A staff member always stays with any student receiving medical care and will alert family members that treatment was given. We recommend each student bring cold medicine, as the type found in Ireland is different from those in the US or Canada.
Q.16 Are there any special rules or policies I should be aware of?
Each student/parent will have to sign a Participant and Parent Release. The Irish Way takes the safety and behavior of our students very seriously. Violation of any of our rules could result in a phone call to parents, suspension from daily activities, or immediate expulsion from the program.
Q.17 Who are coordinators?
Our leaders are full-time coordinators for the Irish Way. Each coordinator has extensive knowledge of Ireland. Our guides have led countless groups of students to the Emerald Isle since 1998, as well as other tour groups to locations around the world. Each coordinator holds a common set of values regarding the standards of the company, a single-minded dedication to excellence across the organization and an absolute focus on the safety of the program and its participants.
Q.18 Who are the counselors?
The counselors are college graduates who have a passion for Ireland, education, and travel. Most are alumni of the program who have studied Irish culture at college, studied abroad, and have experience working with teenagers. They are responsible adults whose priority is to ensure the safety of each student and to help them have the experience of a lifetime.
Q.19 Are staff members qualified in First Aid?
Yes. Students’ safety is our number one priority. It’s a requirement for each Staff Member to be trained in CPR and First Aid. Staff will have an orientation and be trained how to respond in any emergency situation.
Q.20 Can my child visit family while in Ireland?
If students have family in Ireland, they will be able to visit them during their free time as long as it does not interfere with required classes and tours. They must have a permission slip from their parents, which must include their family’s contact details. These visits must be pre-approved by the Irish Way Coordinators.
Q.21 What if I want to extend my trip?
This is not uncommon, and in fact, recommended as part of our parents’ trip through Tenon Tours. Many students will want to extend their amazing journey in Ireland and be able to show their parents a snapshot of their experience. Any difference in airfare due to a change in itinerary will be the responsibility of the passenger(s).
Q.22 What if I have to come home for personal reason?
The Irish Way will look into these circumstances on a case-by-case basis. In most situations, parents will have to pay for the expense of a one-way ticket home.
Q.23 Do I have free time?
The Irish Way is designed to give you free time in all of the various locations we stay. Time to write home, reflect on your experience, and explore with your friends. All of these are important parts of your journey.
Q.24 Will there be someone to meet me at the Logan Airport (BOS) if I have a connecting flight or prior to departure?
Definitely. Students with connecting flights Logan Airport (BOS) are met after security by Irish Way Counselors. They will escort each student to the Aer Lingus Terminal and help them check-in to the correct flight. It’s important to have all of the connecting flight information for each student in advance, so we will be able to coordinate these arrangements. We encourage students with connecting flights to bring cell phones in case a Counselor is unable to connect with a student. This will help the Counselor set up a specific location to meet the student. Staff will also be there to assist students with connecting flights after they return from Ireland. Our goal is to ensure each student reaches their appropriate destination safely.
Q.25 What is the food like?
The food is typical dormitory food. Irish food can sometimes be bland and it takes awhile for students to adjust to a different diet. We emphasize that students should be open to trying new flavors and not be picky. Each boarding school does their best to make sure students are eating healthy, balanced, and nutritious meals. While in Galway, the Irish Life will give each student a set amount of money to go shopping with their roommates, so they will be able to prepare breakfast, lunch, and dinner on their own. We recommend that parents send students care packages with their favorite snacks, as students will often crave some comforts from home.
Q.26 What if I am a lactose intolerant, a vegan, or vegetarian?
The Irish Way can accommodate almost all dietary needs. It is necessary to indicate food restrictions so we can make proper arrangements. In addition, it is necessary to specify any particular food allergies that you may have in order for us to properly ensure you are getting the correct diet while traveling abroad.
Q.27 Are the classes hard?
Classes are not rigorous. We realize that this is your summer vacation, so teachers do their best to make sure each class is as fun and interactive as possible.
Q.28 How are students graded?
Each student will receive a grade at the end of the program. The grade will be based on attendance, participation in class, note taking ability, drama presentations, completion of six workshops, and overall behavior. A copy will be emailed to each parent upon request.