Number of Saudi Students Opting for Higher Education in Ireland Sees Dramatic Growth

Sep 15, 2013, 03:00 ET from Education in Ireland

DUBAI, September 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

Education in Ireland, the organisation responsible for marketing the Irish higher education sector to international audiences, has reported a dramatic increase in the number of Saudi students opting for third level education in Ireland. The figure has risen from approximately two hundred students in 2009 to 1,738 students studying and preparing to study in Ireland this year, the majority of which are under the King Abdullah Scholarship Scheme.

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Mr. Sulaiman Al Hamdan, CEO of National Air Services (NAS) who has four children studying in Ireland says, ''the main reasons we chose Ireland for our children were because it is a safe place, where the people are warm and friendly and it has a top quality education system with many of the leading establishments equal to, if not better than, others in Europe. For some reason people in the MENA region looking to study abroad often overlook Ireland and they do not realise how many benefits it has. It is also very well connected by air making it easy to travel home or explore other European cities.'’

According to UNESCO, the King Abdullah Scholarship Scheme has over 400,000 students studying worldwide and the number coming to study in Ireland is expected to grow under the scholarship scheme. Ireland is in the top-ten worldwide for its higher education system, according to the IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2011 and it consists of a number of world-renowned names in the university sector, institutes of technology and private independent colleges.

Ms. Wijdan Mubarak Al-Omaim, who is studying mammography at UCD, believes coming to Ireland to study has allowed her to fulfil her dreams and achieve the career she always wanted.  Wijdan is proud to be the first female, Saudi student to have achieved the MSc degree in mammography and currently she is researching her PhD in Mammography, at the Department of Radiology, UCD, where she will be the first female Saudi to have achieved this level of higher education in the field. She looks forward to making her contribution in her specialist area on her return to her homeland.

''Ireland has some of the leading colleges in the world and UCD is among the very best so I feel very blessed to have had the opportunity to study here. Ireland is a beautiful country and I have only had positive experiences. Everybody is very respectful and I would recommend both Dublin and Ireland to anyone looking to study abroad. My family have always given me their support and I give thanks to them and to my friends in my second home Ireland. Also it is thanks to the King Abdullah Scholarship and the quality of teaching here at UCD, that I have been able to achieve my dreams.'’

Terry Mc Parland, Manager, Education in Ireland commented on the increased popularity Ireland has witnessed from Saudi students recently: ''Ireland has a strong education ethic and it is amongst the world's best education providers. Our education establishments have been very well received by students from the MENA market and we currently have around 2,500 students from region studying in Ireland, with Saudi overtaking other MENA countries by a considerable margin. It is excellent to see the ties between our two countries strengthened in this way.'’

Notes to editor

Education in Ireland is the umbrella brand for marketing the Irish higher education sector to international audiences and an initiative of Enterprise Ireland, the Irish government organisation responsible for the development and growth of Irish enterprises in world markets. There are a number of scholarships available for international students from a wide variety of sources such as the Government of Ireland, the Irish higher education institutions and other organisationsFor more information about opportunities for higher education and training in Ireland visit

SOURCE Education in Ireland