College students can now go to the GAELTACHT as part of Erasmus

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Ah, the Gaeltacht. Remember the days? Busloads of mid-teen adolescents would head down to the depths of the Wesht for three weeks (costing a bomb) to try and shove Irish into our mouths…

Most of the time we came back with less of the mother tongue than when we left, and had some interesting experiences at the céilí with some lad you've probably seen in Coppers seven years later and almost died of mortification.

The jealousy of the other kids who managed to get a bean an tí who could actually cook was too real. News has now hit us that a scheme similar to the Erasmus programme will allow up to 175 students to study in the Gaeltacht for a semester.

College students will be offered the chance to spend three months in Connemara under the new language immersion scheme announced today by the Department of the Gaeltacht.

New government funding worth €250,000 will allow students to live with families while attending third-level courses for the entire summer.

Minister of State for the Irish language, the Gaeltacht and the Islands Seán Kyne made the announcement in Ionad Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge in Carna, an off-site part of the NUI Galway campus.  

Image: Flickr/janmennens

The Minister said the scheme “will be of benefit both to the Irish Language and the Gaeltacht”, and is aimed both at students with Irish as a core subject in their university, and at those who need the language to work in certain jobs and the public service.

The subsidy is worth up to €1,428 per student, and is payable to families qualified under the department’s Irish Language Learner’s Scheme.

Minister Kyne commented:

“I am delighted to have the opportunity to announce this new funding in further supporting third level students across Ireland to further enrich their Irish through spending three months living with Gaeltacht families while they are attending a qualification course in the Gaeltacht."

Image: Flickr/Will

"For many years, students learning languages have had the opportunity to spend time immersed in a target language while studying abroad on Erasmus. A fund will now be available for the first time which will help students to spend an entire semester in the Gaeltacht.” 

Students studying primary school teaching often visit the Gaeltacht as part of their course, as a proficiency in Irish is required.

We've all got some hilarious teenaged memories from our time in the Gaeltacht, be the recollections good or bad, so this should be interesting…

Feature image: Flickr/Dora Meulman

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