Frequently Asked Questions

Which program is right for me?

The Institute of Study Abroad Ireland Summer Programs were established in 1996, for teens aged between 12-17 years from the USA and Canada to experience an authentic and fun trip to Ireland.

Our Drew University/ISAI Pre-College program is an ideal summer program for students of Irish descent, or students who have an interest in Irish Culture and history. Students who are interested in Irish Culture, History, Current Affairs, Music and Arts can enjoy lectures on these subjects, and field trips to places of cultural interest.

Teens who want to come to Ireland, but are more interested in sports and activities can choose our Ireland Culture and Adventure Program, packed with some cultural trips, surfing, climbing and other adventure activities. .

Where are you located?

We are located in County Donegal, on the Atlantic Coast. This area of Ireland is famous for breathtaking scenery, wonderful history and the friendliest people in Ireland. Although we are based in Donegal, we travel to many other parts of Ireland, including Dublin City and the counties of Meath, Cavan, Fermanagh, Sligo, Leitrim and Derry.

Can you supply references and testimonials?

The Program Director is Niamh Hamill, (pronounced Neeve) and she can be reached at
[email protected] We can connect you with parents and students in your area, who have attended our programs over the past 21 years.

Who comes on this program?

We seek out teens ages 12-17 years who really want to experience travel abroad, and who will enjoy meeting other teenagers from different cultures and backgrounds. We welcome students travelling by themselves, and make a very special effort to make sure that each student is happy and feels secure and welcome. We keep in contact with parents through the booking process and the programs, and we put up a daily blog each day so parents, family and friends can tune in. We have no religious or political bias, we welcome students from all backgrounds, the only pre-requisites being tolerance of others and an interest in visiting Ireland.

How is this program approved?

The Programs of Institute of Study Abroad Ireland includes Donegal Adventure Centre, and Homefield House. Both premises are approved by the Irish Tourist Board, and inspected annually. All activities are approved by the relevant governing bodies, and all instructor staff are fully qualified in their activities. Every staff member is trained in Child Protection, and are all carefully vetted. Institute of Study Abroad Ireland runs many programs all year round, with Irish schools and colleges, and international schools and colleges. The Director of Institute of Study Abroad Ireland is Niamh Hamill, PhD. The Institute of Study Abroad Ireland has delivered the Global Irish Program for the Irish Government, and the Irish Way program for the Irish American Cultural Institute, and has hosted many faculty-lead trips from US schools and colleges. We are the only high school summer program to Ireland that is based 100% in Ireland and administered by Irish staff on a full-time basis.

We have special dietary needs- how will this work?

We can cater for special diets, including vegan and gluten-free. There is plenty of variety and choice available for all meals during the programs.

How do we arrange flights?

Airfares are not included in the fees, because of the many locations from which our students travel, and the many travel options. Many airlines fly into Dublin City from the USA, including American Airways, Aer Lingus, Continental, Delta and USAir. We recommend the Irish Airline, www.aerlingus.com which has excellent fares, and connects with JetBlue to many US cities.

We are happy to help you with your flight arrangements, but we strongly advise that you book a direct flight from the USA/Canada into Dublin. We will let you know if other students are travelling from your area, and always endeavour to have students travel in groups, if possible. We do not recommend connecting through European cities, as you need to be sure that in the event of a flight cancellation or delay, someone can go and meet your child. Please keep this in mind when connecting through US cities, and either accompany your student to a Gateway city (with a direct flight to Dublin) or ensure that there is someone who can travel quickly to the airport in case of emergency.

We will meet every student at the airport. We check all flights, and we know if there are delays or early arrivals. We will contact you several times before departure to check details. On occasion, when there are several flights arriving, we will wait with students at the airport until everyone is in. Our Campus is 3.5 hours outside Dublin, so it is not always practical to whisk each student away as they arrive. We know that students arriving after a long flight are tired, and we try to minimize waits as much as possible. It can be a great opportunity for us to have breakfast and get to know our new arrival.

What is your student code of conduct?

Our students are supervised all the time. We do allow a little free time for older teens, who always enjoy shopping etc. Students are accompanied on these trips by monitors (responsible young people.) There are strict do’s and don’ts that apply to all students, and they will be made aware of what these rules are
Institute of Study Abroad Ireland is a non-smoking program. It is illegal in Ireland to smoke in any workplace. It is illegal to buy or possess cigarettes if you are less than 18 years.

Our program is absolutely alcohol free. Students of any age are not allowed to purchase alcohol, enter licensed premises or off-license*, be present with persons who have alcohol, drink alcohol etc. The legal drinking age is 18 years, and any students (regardless of age) who have; bring; witness or purchase alcohol/ illegal drugs will be sent home immediately without refund at their own expense. Any student who is aware of others drinking or using drugs must report immediately to the manager or they will be considered an accomplice and sent home. There will be no exceptions made.

The above rules apply to the taking of illegal substances, or drug abuse. Institute of Study Abroad Ireland will expel students immediately from the program if there is a situation with the above. We will always inform parents of any incident.

Body piercing and tattoos while on this programme will not be permitted. We ask parents NOT to give permission for these, and students will be clearly informed that this is not allowed.

Antisocial behaviour as decided by Institute of Study Abroad Ireland will not be tolerated. This includes bad language, bullying or teasing, disrespect to others, lack of co-operation etc.

What happens if my teenager becomes unwell?

We will take care of any ill child as we would one of our own. Medical assistance is immediately available. Colds and flu’s etc. will be treated with standard medication. Sprains, bruises etc. likewise.

Parents will be notified immediately if more significant treatment is required. You will have informed us of all illnesses, allergies, etc. and a full file is kept on each student for immediate reference. See Emergency Consent Form

Can we have a family relative or friend visit during the programs?

It is not uncommon to have relatives or friends visit during the programme. However, Institute of Study Abroad Ireland will not allow students to leave the Campus with anyone unless the visit has been notified to the Director if the Programme in writing and clear instructions have been discussed. This is to ensure safety and care at all times.