Are you interested in studying Irish in Ireland? (Silly question, I know!)
If so, and if you are a student or teacher of Irish who is also a citizen of the United States, the the Ireland-United States Commission for Education Exchange may have some very good news for you.
Gaeltacht Summer Award for U.S. Citizens
With support from the Irish Department of Arts, Heritage, & Gaeltacht Affairs and from the National Lottery, the Gaeltacht Summer Awards enable US citizens who are currently studying or teaching the Irish language in the United States to participate in Irish language courses in Ireland’s Irish speaking regions (Gaeltachtaί).
Successful candidates will receive up to six weeks tuition and room and board on a Gaeltacht course in Ireland (minimum stay is two weeks). Candidates are responsible for their own travel to Ireland, as well as for additional living expenses while on the course.
The awards fall under the umbrella of the Fulbright Commission, but are not themselves considered to be “Fulbright Awards.”
Who is eligible?
In order to be eligible, you must meet the following criteria:
- You must be a U.S. citizen (natural-born or naturalized)
- You must be resident in the U.S.
- If you’re applying as a student, you must be enrolled in an Irish language course in the U.S. and have completed at least one year or Irish language instruction.
- If you’re applying as a teacher, you must have taught the Irish language in the U.S. for more than one year.
Some preference is given to students who are enrolled in a for-credit course in a recognized U.S. higher education institution as part of their undergraduate or postgraduate studies, but all who meet the basic qualifications are encouraged to apply, even if not a university student.
How to apply
If you’re affiliated with any of the institutions or organizations below, you need to apply through that facility’s Fulbright representative:
- Daltaí na Gaeilge
- Drew University
- Elms College
- Fordham University
- Lehman College, CUNY
- New York University
- University of California – Berkeley
- University of Connecticut
- The University of Montana
- University of Notre Dame
- University of St. Thomas, Minnesota
If you’re not affiliated with one of the above, you may request an application and reference form from Ms. Courtney Cokely, Program Administrator, email@example.com.
Application materials and deadlines
Your completed application form, as well as completed reference forms, must be in Ms. Cokely’s hands no later than April 30. If you’re applying as a student, you must also submit a scanned copy of your transcripts.
If you’re applying as a teacher, you will need to include a copy of your resumé/CV.
The commission will make the award offers no later than May 30. They will also handle your course registration. Successful applicants can expect to commence their studies in Ireland in July or August.
What have you got to lose?
If you meet the qualifications, it’s very much worth your while to apply. Spending time in the Gaeltacht is the very best way to learn the language (if you’d like to learn a bit more about how these Gaeltacht courses work, check out my post on the fortnight I spent at Oideas Gael in Donegal a few years ago.)
If you have questions about your qualifications, or about the application process, don’t hesitate to contact the Fulbright Commission at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Just think…in a matter of months, you could be studying Irish in Ireland!