Who are we?

Who are we?

This family run company was founded by Karen Allister in 2018 and is set up to offer a more personalised package for Students, who wish to experience living and studying in Ireland. Our main office is situated on the beautiful great island of Cobh, 25 minutes from the friendliest county in Ireland, Co. Cork. We are a small business, which leads to our students having a better and more personalised experience during their stay. This business started off in Cork and expanded to Waterford, Galway, Kerry and Dublin over the years. We have amazing local coordinators looking after our students in those other regions, who follow and believe in our idea of creating a personal and memorable experience for all students.

We want our students to enjoy the Irish culture and we can ensure a high level of English learning through fantastic schools and activities but more importantly experienced warm host families.
Our services vary from short term to full year academic school packages and summer camps for 10-20-year-old students. Something to suit all your needs, in a safe and secure environment.


Hello, Dia dhuit, my name is Karen Allister,

I am the Founder and Director of ABC English Language School Ltd. Born in Dublin in April 1974 along with my twin Neil, raised on the beautiful Island of Cobh in County Cork where I attended Colaiste Muire Secondary school. Later I studied Nursing, psychology and social studies in the College of Commerce, Cork. In 1993, I moved to East Sussex, England where I decided to complete a degree in Psychology. I worked on holiday parks all over England for various companies, Haven, Bourne Leisure and Haulfryn. I started in Holiday Home Sales and finished as an assistant park manager. I have 3 children, Liam ,Shannon and Millie. Liam and Shannon had au pairs as they grew and so I had some experience of supporting students away from home. My au pairs also went to college and not only became fluent in English but went on to have wonderful careers. 2008 found me back in my hometown of Cobh, and 2 years later Millie was born. I worked for EF, Education first and EIL Intercultural learning, supporting students from all over the world during their experience in High school and living with a host family in Ireland. In 2018 I decided to set up my own organisation ABC English Language School Ltd. I strive to give my international students the personal touch tailored to their needs and requests. Millie is my number 1 supporter! 2022 finds me writing to you all, with now a team of 8 members, who work hard to help support you, your families, our host families, schools, and our community. Well, that’s a little about me. I can’t wait to hear all about you! Goodbye for now, Slan. I hope to see you someday soon. Karen x


My name is Laura,

I’m a mother of 3 small kids aged 7, 3 and 1. I have a Diploma in Business Administration and Office Skills. I love being a mom but I also love to be creative and work on art projects. My role in ABC English School is as a School Co-ordination and I enjoy creating a safe space and helping our international students settle in. From the moment the students arrive, I start with welcoming them to Ireland, we arrange to meet to get their uniforms and I show them where there school is and the best route to take on their daily travels to school. I work with the students if there feeling home sick or just need a friendly ear to listen. Being a mother myself I feel it is so important for the students to feel they can reach out to me whenever they need, home away from home. I look forward to meeting all our new international students and helping them have the most amazing experience while in Ireland and under the care of ABC English School. Lots of Love, Laura


Hi there I am Bernie Crehan ,

I am your local coordinator for Waterford. Waterford is situated in the beautiful sunny southeast of Ireland. I have worked as a coordinator for international student’s for over 15 years. As a family, we have also welcomed students into our home for the past 20 years and it’s from this experience that I have realised how much I love to meet new people from different backgrounds and cultures. My experience and knowledge over the years has given me the ability to continue to do what I love. I have naturally gained some very useful skills of how to learn about different people’s ways; Understanding how important relationships are and how to take care of people’s needs. I enjoy working with others who have similar ideas and interests. I would describe myself as being positive, friendly, reliable, honest and hardworking, motivated, and I have very good communication skills. I enjoy new challenges and I always maintain a disciplined and professional approach. I promise to take care of you during your stay. I look forward to meeting you. With warm regards, Bernie


Hey everyone, my name is Lara Goebel.

I am in my early 30s and I am one of the newest staff members of ABC English Language School. As of right now I am responsible for our social media accounts and marketing. That doesn’t mean that our students won’t see me though, as I will support coordinators if needed as well. I have a background in design /architecture, marketing and worked in the tourism sector for years before joining this company. Being a past foreign student myself I can truly relate to our students , which is why I am always available for a chat too. Love Lara x

Our other staff members/ Local Coordinator are a small bit shy, but you will get to know them soon too.
We do want to introduce you to some of our lovely Chaperones
We are all looking forward to meeting you in person soon!
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