School Immersion programme in Ireland – 12-18 years

This programme is open to motivated participants aged 12 to 18 who want to study for 1 term to 1 academic year in a state-run high school in Ireland. This is a unique opportunity to live alongside young Irish people of your own age and share the daily life of your host family.

Communication and exchange are key to the success of this stay, as are open-mindedness and the desire to adapt to another way of life.

This option is therefore recommended for young people who are sufficiently independent, sociable and open-minded. To facilitate integration, it is also recommended that you have studied English for at least 2 or 3 years.

Why Ireland?

A land of legends and wild, grandiose landscapes, Ireland offers a unique blend of traditions that are still very much alive and conviviality. The Irish people are, by nature, artists and musicians, warm-hearted and joyful. The cities are dynamic, bustling and young.
Ireland has a long tradition of excellence in education, with over 80% of young Irish people passing their school-leaving exams. Recent studies have also shown that pupils receive a great deal of attention from teachers, with anaverage class size of 17. Over the last few decades, the government has also invested heavily in the internationalisation of the education system, making it very attractive to foreign students.

Placements can be made almost anywhere in Ireland, with the exception of Dublin and the surrounding region.

What our students say

The teaching consists of compulsory subjects and optional subjects.

Compulsory subjects: Maths, English and Irish (Gaelic is only compulsory for Irish students; young foreigners use this time for personal study).

Electives: a wide range of subjects are offered, varying from school to school: Modern languages (usually French or German, more rarely Italian or Spanish), Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Business studies, Accountancy, Economics, History, Geography, Music, Art, Classical Studies, Technical Drawing, Design and Technical Graphics, Engineering, Technology, etc

International students generally take 6 to 7 subjects (depending on the class), including the 2 compulsory ones (maths and English).

Class times vary from school to school, but are generally Monday to Friday from 9am to 4pm.

English courses

For young people who have difficulty with English, our partner school can organise private lessons with a teacher.

Extra-curricular activities

The schools offer a selection of extra-curricular activities (sports, workshops and various clubs). If you have a particular hobby or sport, please let us know. We encourage young people to continue practising their favourite activity or to discover a new one during their stay. There are many local sports clubs (football, basketball, swimming, tennis, golf, etc.), as well as dance, music and horse-riding lessons. The local correspondent or your host family will be able to help you.

Note: the family does not organise specific activities for the young person it is hosting. They integrate them into their family life and share their own activities with them.

Irish schools follow a curriculum established by the Irish Department of Education. All pupils therefore follow the same curriculum and must sit the same official examinations, regardless of the type of school they attend (state or private). Access to higher education is highly competitive and depends on the results obtained in the Leaving Certificate.

The secondary education system consists of 6 years of study, divided into 2 cycles, Junior and Senior.

JUNIOR CYCLE : Years 1 to 3 (ages 12 to 15): these 2 years prepare students for the Junior Certificate.

TRANSITION YEAR: Year 4 (aged 15 to 16): this pivotal year between the 1st and 2nd cycles allows students to test themselves in a number of areas to help them determine their future direction. The programme varies from school to school. This year is a little less academic and includes a greater number of subjects over the 3 terms (12 subjects in Transition Year compared with 6 to 9 in other years). It is an ideal year for foreign students who can benefit from personal development alongside the development of their language and academic skills.

SENIOR CYCLE : Year 5 and 6 (from 16 to 18 years old). At the end of these 2 years, students sit the Leaving Certificate.

The final year (Year 6) is not open to foreign students, as it is exclusively a preparation year for the school-leaving examination.

Note: in Ireland, some schools are co-educational, while others are “all-boys” or “all-girls”. Uniforms must be worn.

The host families are carefully selected by our Irish partner, who has 45 years’ experience in organising immersion stays for young people from all over the world. In Ireland, the majority of people live in small towns or rural areas. Placements take place all over the country.

The Irish are very attached to family values and are known for their hospitality and friendliness.

You will be accommodated in a single room with full board. You may be housed with another foreign student, usually of a different nationality.

What our students think

My host family was the best one EVER. I love them so much and it is very important to me to keep contact with them. They were so welcoming even my host sisters. They included and made me feel like part of their family, it must not be easy for teens and they did great. I went to Athlone to go shopping with them, I went to the parc with one of my host sister and her friend at the beginning, I did walks with my host mother, I had the opportunity to do horseriding again! They proposed me and I was very happy and excited! I couldn’t imagine a better family really, I’m very lucky! I just wish my family made me discover places and things more. We did a shopping day to Athlone today and I spent an amazing day! So enjoyable!

Emma, Tullamore, Co Offlaly

I really appreciate my host family and I am really grateful that I had them as host family. My host sisters were the same ages as my sisters in Belgium, so it was similar to my home situation. My host dad is a really good cooker he is also a pro at quizzes. On Monday evenings we did quizzes with the whole family, so my host dad called the rest of the family in a zoom call while my host mom, host sister and I tried to find at least one right answer for the quiz so that we did at least something and that we didn’t stand there for nothing! My host mom is an amazing woman with a great personality and humour. She tested me multiple times to see if I was in good health and we had some serious giggles. I also went a couple of times with her if there was a food delivery to do (my host parents deliver food for some events). I also went with my host mom and host sisters to a communion. It was really nice. We also watched the late toy show with the whole family. That was also really nice. My host mom also took in account the fact that I was gluten intolerant (I learned this horrible news when she tested me) and bought gluten free food for me. So, I am really thankful for that. My host sisters are also amazing. Caòimhe has a great sense of humour as well she got this from her mom. We went together to Navan and we went also together to take the dogs for a walk, Caòimhe was also the one with whom I was watching movies when we both couldn’t sleep, we watched some classics together. Àine the oldest one is multitasking. She was managing her social life, her job and school, but even with everything that she had to do she still asked me if I wanted to do things with her. We went together to Navan as well and also Dublin. I really enjoyed these times. Even if there was Covid I did many things, so I was really lucky.

Méline, Rosehill, Co Navan

Everything is perfect. I love them. Unfortunately, because of covid, we can’t really leave Kilkenny but they still make it fun.

Amélie, Castelcomer, Co Kilkenny

During your stay in Ireland, you’ll have the help and support of a local correspondent. This is the person who prepares your stay, selects your host family and deals with your school enrolment.

He or she will be there to answer all your questions and sort out any minor problems that may arise. He or she is also there to intervene if there are any problems with the host family, or simply to make sure that everything runs smoothly. He or she will be your main contact throughout your stay and will contact you regularly (at least 5 times a year) and will also organise an orientation meeting during the 1st week of your stay.

To ensure that your stay goes as smoothly as possible and that you are as well informed as possible about the different elements of the programme, you will be able to attend an information and orientation meeting organised by Langues Vivantes in Brussels at the end of May / beginning of June. This is an opportunity for Langues Vivantes students to meet and exchange questions and experiences with each other and with the Langues Vivantes team. It is also at this meeting that the final administrative formalities are launched.

If you don’t live in Belgium, we can organise an online connection so that you can attend the meeting live.

Once you are in Belgium, during the 1st week of your stay, your local correspondent will also organise an orientation meeting and will be able to answer any questions you may have about your stay and how it is going.

  • Be aged between 12 and 18
  • Have a level of English that enables you to communicate and follow the courses
  • Have achieved good results at school over the last two years
  • Willingness to make new friends and share the daily life of a host family
  • Demonstrate the motivation, maturity, adaptability and open-mindedness that are the real keys to a successful stay.

Are you Belgian (Wallonia-Brussels Federation) and want to go away during your secondary studies? You have the opportunity to go away as part of an EXPEDIS programme

Do you meet the conditions for participation?

  1. Fill in the pre-registration form as soon as possible.
  2. When we receive it, we’ll send you a provisional confirmation, including the total cost of the stay, a request for payment of €100 (for the language test and the motivation interview), and the full application form. We will also ask you to send us a copy of your school reports for the last 2 years.
  3. You will then be invited to come and take the language test and interview at our offices in Brussels or Paris. The cost of this interview is payable on receipt of the pre-confirmation and is non-refundable, but can be deducted from the balance of your stay if you are definitively enrolled and accepted on the programme. Part 1 of the application form must be completed and brought with you to the interview.
  4. We will confirm the result no later than 8 days after our interview.
  5. If the interview is positive, we ask you to pay a deposit of 25% of the total cost of your stay (with a minimum of €1,500) and to complete all the elements of your application, which includes letters of recommendation from your teachers and other information needed for us to study your application on site. As soon as your application is complete and we have received payment of the deposit, we will forward it to our partner.
  6. Final acceptance to the programme is given by our partner.
  7. Once your application has been accepted, our partner begins the search for and selection of a host family and school.

The registration and application deadlines are :

  • 31 October for a departure in early January
  • at least 3 months in advance for another departure date between the beginning of January and the end of March 2023

After these dates, it is sometimes possible to register depending on the availability of the schools. However, we recommend that you register at least 3 months before departure to ensure that you are well prepared for your stay.

For any application that has to be processed urgently (after the registration deadline), a supplement of €200 will be charged.

Please contact us for more information on how to apply. Applicants who do not meet the age or level requirements are invited to meet with us to discuss other possible options.

Arrival: Saturday or Sunday before the start of the course

Departure: Saturday or Sunday following the end of the course

Arrival airport: Dublin

Please allow for arrival between 9.00 am and 6.00 pm and departure between 11.00 am and 8.00 pm.

Return transfers on arrival and at the end of the stay are included in the price of the stay. However, additional transfers during holiday periods are organised at extra cost (see “dates & prices”).

Note: do not book your flight until your holiday has been confirmed.

For young people under 16: some airlines, such as Ryanair, do not allow under-16s to travel unaccompanied by an adult and do not offer a UM (Unaccompanied Minor) service. It is therefore important to check with your chosen airline before booking.

Uniforms must be worn.

Uniforms are included in the price of your stay. All you need to bring are shoes (dark, black or navy blue), sports kit and a school bag.

Note: jeans and trainers are never allowed in class.

As far as books are concerned, the school and/or the host family will be able to lend you some or provide you with photocopies of the ones you need.

Medical/accident/repatriation and civil liability insurance is compulsory for this type of stay. You will be asked for a certificate when you submit your application.

Langues Vivantes offers you a complete insurance package tailored to young people’s stays abroad, see Insurance and guarantees

Dates 2024-2025

School calendar 2024 – 2025

  • School year: 22/08/24 – 30/05/25
  • 1st term: 24/08/23 – 21/12/24
  • 2nd term: 02/01/25 – 11/04/24
  • 3rd term: 24/04/25 – 30/05/25

School holidays

  • All Saints’ Day: 26/10/24 – 03/11/24
  • Christmas: 21/12/24 – 05/01/25
  • February: 15/02/25 – 23/02/25
  • Easter: 12/04/25 – 27/04/25

Accommodation is included during the All Saints and February holidays, but is not included during the Christmas and Easter holidays (see supplement below)

Fees 2024-2025

WPCS 42.0.3
Course, room & board, enrolment fees, taxes included
1 school year (40 weeks) 14.985
1st school trimester (17 weeks) 8.345
2nd semester (11 weeks) 7.380
School semester (1st of 2nd) (end of august - end of january / january - end of may) 9.995
Extra transfer (outside of official arrival and return dates - return transfer 290

The above prices include:

  • School registration fees and other administrative costs
  • Accommodation with a host family on a full-board basis (packed lunch from Monday to Friday), including the All Saints’ and February holidays
  • Uniform
  • Assistance, support and follow-up from the local correspondent throughout the stay
  • A return transfer from Dublin airport to the family (on the 1st day of arrival and on the last day of the programme)
  • An evaluation report (5 times a year)
  • A 24/7 emergency number

Not included:

  • Travel to your destination on the dates you are given
  • Accommodation during the Christmas and Easter holidays
  • Any outings or excursions organised by the school
  • School supplies
  • Additional transfers
  • Compulsory medical/accident/repatriation and private liability insurance
  • Cancellation insurance
  • Any additional costs related to COVID (e.g. quarantine, tests, etc.)

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