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Understanding Ireland Programmes

Discover the Past. Discover the People. Discover the Place. Discover Trinity.

Trinity’s Understanding Ireland programmes offer international (non-EU) students the best possible foundation for settling into their time at Trinity. The programmes are unique in providing both an orientation to life in Trinity and an academic introduction to understanding Irish culture—all before normal teaching begins.

The Understanding Ireland programmes are organized and taught by the academic staff of Trinity’s School of Histories and Humanities.


There are two Understanding Ireland programmes available:

  • The Semester Start-Up Programme for international visiting or exchange students. This programme runs at the start of each semester in Autumn and Spring.
  • The Smart-Start Programme for international full-degree undergraduates. This programme runs one week prior to Freshers’ Week in September each year.
Semester Start Up
Click here if you are an international visiting or exchange student
Semester Start Up
Click here if you are a new international full-degree student

How will I benefit from the programmes?

Moving to a new country can be challenging. You will thrive during you stay in Trinity having spent your first weeks meeting fellow students who are also experiencing Ireland for the first time. Trinity’s Understanding Ireland programmes provide you with four main benefits that will enhance the rest of your time in Ireland.

  • Discover Trinity
    Orientate yourself into Trinity life before your first semester of teaching even begins.

  • Discover the Past
    Immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of Ireland, with its unique history, art and literature.

  • Discover the People
    Make new and lasting friendships with people from Ireland and around the world.

  • Discover the Place
    Use the programme as a launch pad for discovering Ireland with your new friends.

What our students say

Fiona Corcoran, a Michaelmas 2018 Study Abroad Student, describes her how she found the programme

‘Understanding Ireland was a wonderful way to begin my education at Trinity. Not only did I get a chance to learn about the unique history and culture of Ireland, but I was also able to talk to other students coming from similar backgrounds. The programme furthered my confidence in my decision to study at Trinity.’
- Keelin Shaughnessy, 2014 first-year student from the US

Fieldtrip images

Click here to view images from our fieldtrips in Dublin and further afield.

Course materials

Course materials available to enrolled students, password required.