Exchange Students in Ballsbridge


Working in mainland Europe is becoming a reality for many Irish people today and Ballsbridge College of Further Education believe that European integration is vital.

They offer the opportunity for students to go to Amsterdam for two weeks’ work experience in an exchange programme with ROC College and in return Dutch students come to Ballsbridge for class-based theory lessons. Both colleges exchange each other’s main strengths to the benefit of students.

Funding comes from Léargas (The Exchange Bureau), a not-for-profit organisation operating from the Department of Education, and run under the Leonardo da Vinci mobility programme. This is a European Commission funding programme focused on lifelong learning for those involved in vocational education and training.

The funding covers all expenses including flights, food and accommodation and  involves 16 Irish students going to Amsterdam in February and 16 Dutch students coming here in March.

Dan Bradley, the Principal explains, “Students from this college are placed in a work situation matched as closely as possible to their course of study and their students attend lessons and gain work experience with the St. Patrick’s Day Festival.”

Now in its fourth year the programme is open to all students, but with limited places available, interest is huge. NewsFour talked to Maria who worked for a jeweller in Amsterdam. Maria, a media student describes her experience as beneficial, “We promoted the jeweller’s website and developed her Facebook page.”

Students also get to explore the city and culture. Vivienne Bates Programme Coordinator says, “We set up a treasure-hunt which takes students outside of the city centre to places such as Utrecht and The Hague.

Students from the exchange programme are considering work in Europe and this gives them a chance to look at their options and experience the lifestyle, Dan Bradley explains, “The main objective is that students consider wider Europe as a place of employment and not just Ireland, we believe in that strongly.”


Left: Patricia Helowicz on a rented bike in Amsterdam.

Above: A group of Ballsbridge College students after their evaluation in ROC.

Images: Ballsbridge College.

By Leeza Kane


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