In what could be the beginning for a major push for students from Africa’s most populous country and from the region in general, the university said the opening of the office was the culmination of efforts to develop ties with African countries.
The office is an addition to similar ones it operated in India, Malaysia, and China, ahead of future expansion in Latin America.
It will also extend a “direct line” of assistance and support to students, parents and families of students wishing to study at any of its six campuses in Ireland.
“TUS has been working towards developing relationships with African countries for the past six years and the opening of our Student Liaison Office in Lagos is a significant step in further strengthening these bonds,” president of TUS Vincent Cunnane said.
“We are committed to expanding relationships with our global partners to attract international students and researchers to TUS as well as offering international opportunities to our students, staff and researchers,” he added.
The Lagos branch will also provide a base for Irish students and lecturers who wish to work with African universities, added Donnacha McNamara, TUS vice president International.
“The TUS Africa Student Liaison Office will also offer career and employability support to students who wish to return to Nigeria for employment. This creates a fully circular support system that allows incoming and outgoing graduates to interact with both TUS Ireland and TUS Nigeria, facilitating their engagement and enhancing opportunities,” he noted.
“The office will also offer career and employability support to students who wish to return to Nigeria for employment”
The university he emphasised planned to extend its footprint in Europe as well, in collaboration with its European partners in the Regional University Network.
The Lagos office opens doors to a multitude of prospects for African students, empowering them with increased support, tailored resources, a “robust network of like-minded individuals, ensuring “exceptional educational experiences”, and fostering lifelong connections that extend beyond graduation, said Ufuoma Stella Oyovwikefe Sub-Saharan Africa manager.
Ireland presents an “exceptional opportunity” for students seeking to pursue their studies abroad, and as the largest English-speaking country within the European Union, it offers a world-renowned education system which is globally recognised, she added.
“Moreover, Ireland proudly ranks among the top 10 safest countries worldwide, ensuring a secure and welcoming environment for students,” the manager told PIE News.
Another advantage is Ireland’s employment prospects, being home to numerous globally-traded multinational companies, spanning diverse industries including technology, science, research, business, and engineering, she explained.
“This translates into a wealth of job opportunities for graduates across these fields. Notably, the Midwest and Midland regions of Ireland, where TUS is strategically situated, showcase a particularly robust concentration of these successful enterprises and is why the TUS graduate employment statistics are one of the highest in the country,” she said.
In addition, international students are eligible for favourable post-study visa options and part-time work opportunities during studies.
Those complete a masters degree can get a post-study permit for up to 24 months, while those completing a bachelors degree can obtain a visa valid for 12 months, and in-study work means students can support themselves financially and gain practical work experience alongside their studies.
The university has a total of 15,000 students including 170 Africans, while on the other hand, in 2021 there were 32,000 international students in Ireland.
African student numbers increased by 61% between 2018 and 2021, from 800 in 2018 to 1,300 students in 2020.