Foreign Exchange Programmes Key To Unlocking Ireland’s Language Potential

Managing Director of ACET language school Joelle Coade pictured beside ACET- Founder, Odile Migieu

Foreign exchange programmes can play a vital role in increasing the number of Irish bilingual graduates, according to the country’s oldest language school.

Ireland has traditionally been well represented both at the top table of European politics and in major European companies, but the flow of well-qualified bilingual and multilingual graduates has slowed in recent years.

Managing Director of the Active Centre Of English Training (ACET) in Cork, Joelle Coade, believes that language exchanges are the key to unlocking Ireland’s language potential and increasing the number of Irish graduates with proficiency in a second language.

She said: Here at ACET we really encourage Irish students to go abroad to learn a language in a different country - to immerse themselves in a different culture. Immersion is the best way to learn a language because it's fun and interesting. Foreign exchange students are more likely to continue studying languages into third level.
ACET Language School founder Odile Migieu presented with her Accreditation Certificate by AIBF – CEO, Elaine Carroll

ACET is a family-run language centre, which was founded in 1975 by CEO Odile Migieu as Cork Language Centre International (CLCI) – later rebranding to the Active Centre Of English Training (ACET).

Odile’s husband, Pat Coade joined the centre as a quality control officer in 1989, and their daughter, Joelle came on board in 2000, after graduating in Management and Marketing.

Today, ACET is the oldest remaining school of its kind in Ireland. The school attracts students from every corner of the world and the family business is proud to show give its students “the Irish experience”.

While language exchanges have not been possible for much of the last year and a half, ACET founder Odile Migieu is hoping that young Irish people will soon journey abroad again to try their hand at a second language.

She said: “Before the pandemic, we were seeing more and more Irish students going abroad to learn languages and I hope that continues when things open up.”

“When kids travel abroad they come into contact with people they wouldn’t usually meet and we believe that it helps break down barriers of prejudice and racism.”

Odile was recently named All-Star French – Irish Business Person Of The Year 2021 by the All-Ireland Business Foundation in recognition of her outstanding contribution to education standards in Ireland.

The All-Ireland Business Foundation is a national body that accredits best-in-class Irish businesses as Business All-Stars. The Foundation also oversees the All-Ireland Business Summit while promoting peer dialogue amongst our members on an ongoing basis.

To learn more about ACET (Active Centre of English Training), visit their All-Star showcase page here.

The process to select the next group of Business All-Star accredited companies has begun and further information is available at