Courses & Programmes

Cultural Stay Programme

The Cultural Stay Programme at Shannon Academy of English is an exciting way for students to learn English in a fun and engaging manner through interaction with native Irish teenagers. High-quality, host-family accommodation gives peace of mind to our students and their families.


This programme, which can be either one or two weeks’ duration. In keeping with our principle of flexibility, the Cultural Stay Programme can be customised and planned by the individual school or group. Visiting groups can select from a wide range of activities, day trips, excursions and activities to enjoy during their cultural stay. 

The programme normally includes a trip each day to a different place of interest. Excursions can include boat trips on the river Shannon and Lough Ree, a trip to the ancient monastic site of Clonmacnoise, and a day out in Galway and/or Dublin city.

Activities and Excursions

A varied programme of afternoon activities and local visits is organised from Monday to Friday. Treasure hunts and evenings of traditional Irish sports can be accommodated. Activities include Gaelic football, hurling, archery, arts and crafts, swimming and dance. Shannon Academy is about much more than just learning English. Fun activities and cultural experiences enrich a student’s stay in Ireland and help them learn English in a fun and natural way. Our proximity to Ireland’s national attractions allows us to provide excellent activity-based social excursion programmes.

Academic Programme

Our Academic Programme offers students the opportunity to stay and attend primary or secondary school for either one or two academic terms. These schools are usually set in their own expansive grounds and, as well as offering top-quality education, boast a host of sporting and extracurricular activities.

Student Development

We are dedicated to the development of each student as an individual and, accordingly, we specialise in holistic programme-planning; this plan focuses not only on academic education but also on extracurricular activities and experiences based on students’ interests, including music, the arts, sport and cultural activities.

We have an extensive network of school options – both state and privately operated – in the vicinity of Shannon Academy. All schools are working under the guidance and regulation of the Irish Government’s Department of Education, and students work within the guidelines and requirements of a national curriculum.

Programme details

When a student applies for one of our programmes, we will assess their academic and social needs and, in agreement with their families, will match them with the best study option. We remain in constant contact with students and families throughout the process, offering weekly student visits during the first month and biweekly visits thereafter. Regular status reports are sent to families by Shannon Academy.

Academic Programmes run from:

• September-June • September-December • January-April • January-May

Summer Programme

Our Summer Programmes are designed to cater for young adults and children who want to combine a fun-filled cultural stay with improving their English. On arrival, students are given a welcome pack with maps of the area and information on Athlone, their programme of activities and the cultural sites they will be visiting.


Class sizes are small, with a maximum of 15 students. Students spend the mornings in class learning English reading, writing, and conversation and listening skills. The classes are structured so that each student’s potential is reached in a fun and educational environment. Placement tests are given on the first day to assess the student’s level of English, and a test is given on the last day to assess the student’s improvement. 

In class, students participate in role play, English language games, and reading and audio exercises. In addition to the class timetable, students may choose to have extra private tuition on a one-to-one basis with a teacher. All learning materials are provided by the school.

 Activities and Excursions

Afternoons are spent participating in activities including Irish dancing, traditional basket making, swimming, bowling, glass art, cinema, volleyball, basketball, table quiz, treasure hunts, karate and more.

Students also enjoy a half-day excursion each week to a variety of historical and interesting places such as Clonmacnoise – an ancient monastic site – and Belvedere House, Gardens and Park, an 18th-century stately home and gardens.

Each Saturday, the students go on a full-day excursion, combining sightseeing with leisure time. Some evening activities, such as discos, are also organised for the students.


The First Certificate in English (FCE) examination is for learners who have an upper-intermediate level of English, at Level B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

99% of the world’s top 100 universities recognise the Cambridge CAE and CPE for university study. Unlike other exams, the Cambridge exams have no expiry date so when you take a Cambridge exam, the result is valid forever.

Our course is a four-week intensive exam-focused course. The course syllabus will cover all aspects of the exam including past exam papers. There will be 19 hours of classes per week, and students will be given the opportunity to take the official Cambridge English exam at the end of their stay.

This programme includes a weekend excursion and a weekly disco.

Work Placement Programme

Our Work Placement Programme runs for a minimum of two weeks to a maximum of twelve weeks. All programmes are tailor-made for the stay, and companies or agencies can choose their programme of activities from a selection provided by Shannon Academy.

This programme offers students the opportunity to experience what it’s like to be fully integrated into a real working environment and to put into practice the skills they have acquired in college.  As well as having the opportunity to practise their English specific to their college course, they learn to work as a member of a team and on their own initiative.

Each placement is carefully matched to the student, and each student is assigned a workplace coordinator while staying in Ireland.