How to prepare your exchange student for school

At school, your student will take new courses, make friends, learn more about Irish culture and improve their English. Here are resources to navigate the school registration process, helpful tips to get your exchange student involved and details outlining expectations at school.

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School registration and grade level

In order to finalize your student’s placement, your RM secured their enrollment in your local school. Before your student arrives, connect with your RM about the process of registering your student for classes. Your RM should help arrange student registration, but they may not be able to go with you. See our school registration checklist to help you with that process.


Depending on your school's policies, your student's grade level might not be based on their age, but rather their previous academic experience. Grade level placement is at the discretion of the school.


If possible, share your school's course catalogue with your student and ask them which classes they're most interested in taking during their exchange.

Course load

Students are strongly encouraged to take a full course load, including English and any courses on offer that cover Irish history or culture.


Your student's school back home is likely very different from the Irish school system. This could be the first time they have the option of selecting their own classes, so they may need some guidance during that process.


Enrichment activities

Some local schools may offer enrichment activities or sports. Check your school's website to see what is available and talk with your student about what activities they’d like to try. Many sports may require tryouts either before school starts or shortly after. If your student is interested in trying out for a sport, ask the school about that process.



Many students do not receive credit in their native countries for their study in Ireland and must repeat the school year at home. However, students from some countries such as Austria, Italy, Norway and Spain may obtain credit if they fulfill certain requirements. The process to receive academic credit for an exchange year in the Ireland is called convalidation.


For students who are convalidating, grade level placement should be guaranteed at the time of school enrollment, and the student should meet with their guidance counselor before school starts in order to schedule the required classes. Ask your RM about any specific convalidation requirements for your student.

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