Advice for Students

Want to know more about Foreign Language Education in Ireland?

Opportunities for all at Junior Cert, TY, Leaving Cert, Third Level and beyond

Thinking about languages at Third Level?

There are so many options for studying foreign languages at Third Level in Ireland. You might opt for a full-on Applied Languages degree, or take your favourite language as a minor or elective. No matter what way you pursue your language studies, it will give you a richer college experience and broaden your future opportunities.

Careers Portal Foreign Language Course Finder

Together with Careers Portal and the Third Level institutes around Ireland, Languages Connect have developed a database of college course that include foreign language subjects at Major, Minor and electives. So whether you want to study Veterinary with French or Astrophysics with Chinese, you’ll be able to find the right course for you!

If you want to know more about college life while studying languages – both at home and abroad – check out what students and graduates have to say about their experience in University and all the great benefits of studying foreign languages at third level.


Leaving Cert – 5th & 6th Year

There are lots of options for foreign language learners for the Leaving Cert. As well as French, German, Italian and Spanish, you can take Ancient Greek, Arabic, Hebrew Studies, Japanese or Russian. In 2020, four more languages – Chinese, Lithuanian, Polish and Portuguese have been become available as curricular languages for those who will sit the Leaving Cert in 2022.

Studying Foreign Languages for Leaving Cert outside of school

If you are interested in these languages, but cannot access them within your own school, check out our free Saturday classes
These classes are fully funded by the Department of Education and cover the whole Leaving Cert course over 2 years.

There is also Online Essay Writing Support available for some lesser taught languages.

Non-curricular EU Languages

You can sit the Leaving Cert in what is referred to as the non-curricular EU languages. These are languages that are not part of the normal school curriculum but students may opt to take if they meet certain criteria. For the 2021 Leaving Cert, these languages include Latvian, Lithuanian, Romanian, Slovenian, Modern Greek, Finnish, Polish, Estonian, Slovakian, Swedish, Czech, Bulgarian, Hungarian, Portuguese, Danish, Dutch, Croatian, Maltese. There are a number of conditions attached to these exams. Take a look at the State Exams Commission website for more information.

Working with Languages

Whether you plan to go to college or straight into the workforce, foreign languages can continue to play an important role for you. Hear from people who work in many different industries talk about how they use languages every day in our Working With Languages section. For even more insights and real-life stories from Irish people with foreign language skills, check out our Youtube channel.

Transition Year

Transition Year is a great time to start new things and learn a new language! Our annual #ThinkLanguages TY Event gives students the opportunity to experience many elements of foreign language and culture outside the classroom. Languages are brought to life through interactive workshops, interesting guest speakers and fun competitions, food tasting and the chance to meet exhibitors.

Learn a new language

There are options to study a language during a part of your Transition Year. Currently, we offer short modules in Japanese and Russian. If you would like to study one of these module and it is not currently available in your school then contact us

Work Experience

There are various resources being developed at the moment including a work placement pack that will help you think about how you would use your foreign language skills in a foreign workplace. More information coming soon!

Teaching Primary Students

One successful project has been the teaching of a foreign language in a Primary School. TY students design, plan and deliver a lesson or series of lessons for primary school schools in the language that they have been taught.

Here is a video of TY students in Coláiste Bhríde in Carnew, Co. Wicklow embarking on a project to teach French to 5th and 6th class in their local primary school.


Secondary School – Junior Cycle

There are four foreign languages you can sit for the Junior Cert – French, German, Italian and Spanish. Some or all may be available at your secondary school. For more ideas around learning these languages and to hear real life stories of students, experts and those using their languages everyday, check out our Youtube channel.

JC Short Courses

If you speak a language other than English at home such as Japanese, Lithuanian, Polish or Russian you may be able to take a Junior Cycle Short Course to improve your language skills. Ask your teachers or guidance counsellor if these courses are available in your school.

Primary school

In primary school you will study at least one language – English! Many will also learn gaeilge. These subjects help you to start your language learning journey.

If you’d like to know more about taking on another language now or when you start in secondary, check out our What language interests you? section.

Life-long Learner

If you are continuing to learn a language, that’s great! Here are just a few ways to keep up your skills.



If we can help you find out more about learning languages in Ireland click here

Did you

Only 6.5%
of the world’s population are native English speakers