Information booklet for students on a study visa programme with IH Galway

Information booklet for students on a study visa programme with IH Galway


Welcome to International House Galway! We are pleased that you have decided to come to Ireland to develop your English language skills in preparation for further study and we hope that you enjoy your stay in Galway. In order to help you get acquainted with and understand all the terms and conditions of your study visa in Ireland, we have prepared this information booklet.  We will look at this with you during your induction, which takes place on your second day.



During this induction, we will give you some information about Galway and IH Galway and we will help you to understand the terms and conditions of your visa requirements. We will help you select the best language programme and examination for your level and needs, and we will agree a timeline for your programme and examination dates. You will then sign a letter to show that you understand and agree to the following:


  • You must take a formal exam while you are here
  • You will prepare for this exam at IH Galway
  • You will attend and participate in the lessons and complete all homework tasks
  • You will take part in extra exam practice as needed
  • IH Galway will register you for the exam
  • IH Galway will keep your exam results, which will be available for inspection by GNIB/INIS



Once we confirm the course, examination and leave dates with you*, the student welfare officer will give you a letter which will include the following information:


  • Your course programme
  • Your exam and the exam date
  • Your leave dates


You then take this letter when you go to register with GNIB/INIS.


*Below you will find information on leave, course programmes and exams



As you are attending lessons on a student visa, you must attend a minimum of 85% of all your lessons. This is a requirement from the Irish Department of Justice and if you do not attend 85% of lessons, you will not be able to renew your visa. Of course, full attendance is also very important as you need to develop your English level.


Your teachers will check your attendance every morning in both lessons. If you do not attend, your teacher will mark you as absent and report this to administration. If you miss a second day, we will contact you to check why you have not come to class. All our students’ attendance is recorded and is available for inspection by the Department of Justice.



Your class starts at 09.00 every morning and you must arrive before 09.15. If you arrive after 09.15, you will not be permitted to enter the class and will be marked absent. You must stay in class until 10.30. If you leave early, you will also be marked absent. Your second lesson begins at 11.00. Again, if you arrive after 11.15 you will not be permitted to enter the lesson and you will be marked absent, and if you leave early, you will also be marked absent for that lesson.



There are legitimate reasons for student absence, including, but not limited to, the following main reasons:


1 Sickness

If you are sick, you must contact us immediately by phoning the office on 091381110, emailing us at  or calling us on our emergency phone on 083469 1717. If you are sick for more than 2 days, you must get a certificate from the doctor. Once you have a doctor’s certificate, you will not be marked absent for these days and your attendance will not be affected.


2 Serious illness of a family member

If your mother, father, brother or sister is seriously ill, please contact the student welfare officer at or on 083469 1717. You must give us some evidence, eg a doctor’s certificate. We will respond to your request to be absent, depending on the severity of the illness.


If it is necessary for you to return home because your mother, father, sister or brother is seriously ill, you must make a request for temporary leave, in writing, to the student welfare officer at, for  your course to be put ‘on hold’ until you can return to complete your course at a later date.

If your request is accepted, your course will be put ‘on hold’ from the following Monday until the agreed date for you to return to complete your course.


3 Bereavement

If there is a death in your immediate family (a parent, guardian, brother, sister, husband, wife, child), please contact the student welfare officer on or on 091381110 or 083469 1717. We will help you in any way we can and you will be given permission to be absent for a period of 3 days.  If there is a death in your extended family (a grandparent or parent-in-law), you will be allowed one day’s absence.


Please note that we can only accept emails and phone calls from you, and never from another person.


Please note that we can only allow absences in the situations above.  If not, you will be marked absent and this will affect your attendance record.



If you attend less than 50% of your lessons in one week, you will receive a warning from us by phone or by email. If you receive more than two warnings in a period of four weeks, you will receive a formal letter of warning. Your formal warning letter will include:


  • Your overall % attendance
  • Details of the warnings you have already received
  • What will happen if you do not attend 85% of your lessons


If  you continue to have problems with attendance, we will refer your case to the Garda National Immigration Bureau/Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service.

If you do not follow the attendance rules above, we may make the decision to expel you. As part of the expulsion process, the student’s agent, embassy and GNIB/ INIS will be informed and you will be required to leave the jurisdiction of Ireland.


Please note that it is YOUR responsibility to follow our attendance rules and that failure to follow the rules above may result in your expulsion from the school. 




Students on a 25-week programme may take a total of 10 weeks’ leave. You must request this leave from IH Galway, and we must grant this leave, during your initial induction and before you register with GNIB/INIS.


Please note that

  • you can not change leave dates once they are confirmed with us
  • no other leave will be allowed, unless in the case of absences outlined in 1-3 above.

Examination preparation programmes at International House Galway

We offer General English programmes at the following levels: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2. Students on a study programme of 25 weeks must attend a course leading to one of the following formal examinations (depending on their entry level), which they must complete within the time of their programme:

  • Trinity College London Graded Exam in Spoken English (GESE) Grades 1-3 – A1 level
  • Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English (ISE) Foundation – A2 level
  • Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English (ISE) I – B1 level
  • Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English (ISE) II – B2 level
  • Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English (ISE) III  – C1 level
  • Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English (ISE) IV  – C2 level
  • British Council/IDP/Cambridge English Language Assessment International English Language Testing Systems (IELTS) – B2 level


On your first day at IH Galway, will complete a placement test, which will help us decide your level. This test includes a grammar, vocabulary, reading, listening, writing and speaking test. Depending on the result, we will decide which exam preparation course is best for you to follow.

Please look at the following placement test scores for grammar and vocabulary and the corresponding exam:

(All scores are /100)

0-30: A1-A2.1 level:               GESE exam Grades 1-3

31-40: A2.1-A2.2 level:      ISE Foundation exam

41-55: B1 level:                            ISE I exam

56-70:  B2 level:                           ISE II/IELTS exam

71-85: C1 level:                            ISE III/IELTS exam

86-100: C2 level:                       ISE IV/IELTS exam

Diagnostic evaluation

Your speaking, listening, reading and writing test results will help us see what your strengths and areas for development are in these skills and what you need to focus on during your course programme to help you have the best success possible in your final exam.


Registering for your exam

Once you start an examination preparation programme, we will help you register for the agreed exam. You already paid €100 in respect of your examination fees and any additional payment of fees must be made as required.


Trinity College London Exams


IH Galway is an authorized Trinity College London Exam Centre. You will complete an exam registration form for your selected exam and submit this form to Kay Donoghue, along with payment of any additional examination fees. You will then receive confirmation of your exam entry. You will receive the timetable for your exam from Kay Donoghue.


Secure IELTS Test


IH Galway is a venue for the IH London Secure IELTS test. You can register for an IELTS exam online. Kay Donoghue will give you guidance on how to do this, including payment of fees.  You already paid us €100 in respect of your examination fees. In the case of this exam, which you register for online, we will refund you your €100 and you will pay for the IELTS exam online.


Exam results

Trinity College London

Your exam results will be stored on our database. 6 -8 weeks following issue of results, you will receive a certificate from Trinity College London confirming your grade.



Your results will be accessible online two weeks after your exam and you will then receive your certificate by post. You must email us  a copy of your certificate to once you receive it.



Learner Protection

As part of the conditions for students on a study visa, we have insurance in place in the extremely  unlikely event that IH Galway ceases to trade during your course with us. If this happens, this learner protection guarantees that you can continue your studies at another language school in Galway.  The insurance company  which  provides  learner protection  for IH Galway is  O’Driscoll  O’Neil  and  our  policy  number  is  EBDIH47031,



In the event of any emergency, please contact us in the following way:

Monday-Friday 09.00-17.00: call us on 091381110

Outside office hours and 24/7: 17.00-09.00: call us on 0834691717



If you have any questions or problems, we’re here to help. Please contact the following people on 09138110

Accommodation: Dee Bracken

Your lessons: Kay Donoghue/Mary Grennan

Your exam: Kay Donoghue

Other questions: Dee Bracken


Health Insurance

You must buy health insurance as part of the conditions of your visa programme. We can offer you details on health insurance which you can buy yourself. We will then email you information on health insurance which you can buy.


Complaints Procedure


We are pleased to help you if you have any issue. Please come to our office at lunchtime 12.30-13.30 so we can resolve the problem as quickly as possible.


Your complaint could be about one of the following:


Your language programme – below are some examples of legitimate complaints:


  • You think you are in the wrong level
  • You are not practising enough in class
  • Your teachers do not coordinate enough and you are repeating material


Your accommodation – below are some examples of legitimate complaings:



  • Your house is unclean
  • Your homestay family do not speak with you
  • The food is not to standard



  • The facilities are broken
  • Your room is not clean


Social programme

  • You do not receive enough information about the social programme
  • The tours are not well organised
  • Your suggestions are not listened to


Complaints procedure

Step 1 (informal complaint)

We will meet you and your complaint will be recorded on a Client Service Action form. We will read the complaint to you to confirm your complaint to you. If possible, we will deal with the issue immediately. If this is not possible, we will meet with you the following day to discuss the issue and possible solutions.  It is our policy to resolve all problems within 5 working days.


If we cannot resolve your problem or you would like to make a formal complaint, please follow the steps below.


Please note:

  • We will keep a record of all complaints.
  • You are welcome to bring a colleague or person to a meeting for support or translation purposes.



Step 2 (Formal complaint)

If you are not happy with the response in Step 1, you can put your complaint in writing to the Director (address below).  We will respond within 2 working days.

Please note that formal complaints need to be made within 4 weeks of any event and within 2 weeks following completion of a course.  Complaints made outside this period will not be considered.


Your letter of complaint should be addressed to:


Mary Grennan


IH Galway Office

Innovation Centre


Dublin Road



Step 3 (Complaint to External Oversight Organisation)

If you are not happy with the response from the Director, you can write to International House World Organisation:


IHWO Administrative Coordinator

Unity Wharf
13 Mill St
London SE1 2BH