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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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Many students will be on the hunt for accommodation ahead of the new college term, and the Property Services Regulatory Authority (PSRA) are urging those seeking lettings to "exercise vigilance". 

The warning comes after the PSRA was made aware of a number of bogus letting agents and their attempts to extract financial payments from prospective tenants.

These bogus agents appear in the main to operate online and are purporting to use a PSRA licence number. All Letting Agents, Auctioneers, Estate Agents and Management Agents operating in the Republic of Ireland must hold a PSRA licence to provide a property service.

The individual licence is a credit card size licence which has the licensee name, photographic identification and a unique 12 digit PSRA licence number. When using a property service provider, it is advisable to ask the property service provider to show you their licence which they are obliged to have available for inspection. 

"The month of August is a time when students are starting or returning to college or university and a higher number of lettings take place," CEO of the PSRA Maeve Hogan said in a statement. 

"Students seeking to rent accommodation are strongly advised to exercise vigilance to ensure they do not fall foul of bogus letting agents and are not using an unlicensed operator."

The PSRA publishes a public register of Licensed Property Services Providers where you can check the validity of a licence. The register can be found on www.psr.ie and displays both the licensee name and licence number – it is important to check that both the name and number of the agent you are in contact with correspond with the details displayed on the register.

If you are in any doubt as to whether a letting agent is licensed, you can contact the PSRA on 046 9033800 or info@psr.ie. Unlicensed letting agents, auctioneers, estate agents and management agents are breaking the law and do not provide any consumer protection. Anyone aware of unlicensed operators is urged to contact the PSRA at info@psr.ie.

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If this study is anything to go by, we seriously need to have a long, hard look at the issue of consent in Ireland.

Shockingly, an NUI Galway study found that the majority of third-level students do not think 28 standard drinks makes a person too intoxicated to give sexual consent. 

The researchers gave 753 online participates two different scenarios which involved drink and being able to give consent to do the deed. 

So here's how the survey worked:

The online respondents were given the same story of two students of Neil and Carol.

They go home together after a night out on the town to celebrate exam results.

However, those who completed the survey were split into two groups: one was given a "moderate" drinking level and the other was a "heavy" drinking consumption.

For clarity's sake as our opinion will majorly vary on what "moderate" and "heavy" consumption of alcohol is –  we will called in the experts.

Drinkaware.ie states that 28 standard units adds up to around 12 pints of beer at four percent alcohol or 700ml of spirits at 40 percent.

Carol and Neil's story starts off with them bumping into each other at a night club where they're both celebrating exam results from their college course.

"By midnight Neil had had the equivalent of about 5 (10) pints of beer, when he bumped into Carol, also 21, who is in one of his classes at college. She had also been out celebrating with her friends since the early afternoon.

“She had been drinking vodka (the equivalent of 4 pints (8 pints) of beer altogether). They started talking at the bar. Neil bought Carol a drink."

It continues with Neil knowing that Carol lives in the same student accommodation, so offers to share a taxi with Carol at the end of the night.

In the club, things begin to heat-up between the pair.

"Neil started kissing Carol and touching her. She moved his hands lower on her body."

The story finished with: “They took a break and had one more drink (three rounds of drinks) before the nightclub ended. In the taxi on the way home at 3 am Carol closed her eyes and dozed off for a few minutes. When they got to Carol’s apartment, Neil woke Carol up and they went into his flat. He made her tea and put on some music. They were having a good time laughing and joking together.

“He took out a bottle of whiskey and they each had one shot (a few generous shots). Both at this stage were a bit unsteady (and slurring their words), they talked for another while and shared a bottle of Coke (Neil spilled the tea all over the table and Carol nearly fell off her chair getting up to go to the bathroom). Then they went to his couch and started kissing again.

“Soon they had each removed their clothes. Through his actions, Neil made it clear he wanted to have sex with Carol. She asked him to put on a condom first. He did so and they had sex,” it concluded.

The results have somewhat floored us.

Twenty percent of respondents in the moderate drinking group "agreed" or "strongly agreed" that Carol was too drunk to give her consent to sex, while 14 percent thought Neil was too drunk to give his.

In comparison, to the heavy drinking participates, 33 percent thought Carol was too drunk and 30 percent thought Neil was too.

Furthermore, in their evaluation of the results, the report said: “Even when 28 standard drinks were consumed, 67 percent of students did not agree that Carol was too drunk to give consent, and 70 percent of students did not see Neil as unable to give consent.”

The study also highlighted that student's opinions, more often than not, didn't differentiate between "moderate" and "heavy" in alcohol intake, despite the stories varying. 

"These findings suggest that it is urgent to achieve enhanced awareness among young adults in college of the impact of drinking on the capacity to give consent," said the report.

Dr Pádraig MacNeela at NUI Galway said in relation to the results:

“The survey findings show that the social environment in which consent takes place among college students is often unsupportive – most women experience harassment, a large majority of all students are dissatisfied with their sexual health education at school, and social norms for drinking minimise the true impact of alcohol on the capacity to give consent.”

The study was conducted as part of a SMART consent research report which is run in NUI Galway

If you want more information surrounding the work they do and consent, please click here.

The report was published on Tuesday by Minister of State for Education and Skills, Mary Mitchell O’Connor.

Sexual consent has been a hot topic in Ireland over the last year and this study has given us a lot to mull over.

It's crucial that you arm yourself with the right information surrounding what is consensual and what isn't.

Remember: Safe, protected and consensual sex is always the sexiest. 

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We all know that being a student in Ireland is not cheap, especially if you have to move out of home to attend your chosen course. Not including fees, you have rent to pay, books and food to buy, and you also have to have some sort of a social life, and it all adds up – pretty quickly. €11,829 to be exact. 

To help those starting third level in September, DIT has released its annual Cost of Living Guide for students 2018-19. The guide is designed to help those starting higher education this year, with tips and advice for students on how to cut costs on housing, travel and other day-to-day expenses.

According to the guide, the costs of living for students living away from home is a staggering €11K. This includes rent at €430 a month, food at €169 a month, student charge at €333 and a measly €40 on clothes and medical. 

To help families with the ever-increasing cost, Dr Brian Gormley, Head of Life at DIT, is urging all students and parents to ensure they are getting their full entitlements. 

"It's clear from talking to students and their families that it is not widely known that you can get tax relief on college fees paid," he said.

"Less than 12% of students claim back tax, and for full-time undergraduates, that figure is lower (7%). If you are paying for more than one student in full-time education, you can claim tax relief on the student charge for the second or subsequent children. Also, if you are paying tuition fees, either for a post-graduate programme, a part-time programme or for repeating the year, you may be entitled to tax back. We estimate that Irish families are missing out on millions of unclaimed tax relief."

And even if you're only entitled to a small amount back, every little helps. 

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New figures show that over one-third of the student population in Ireland say they are experiencing 'serious' or 'very serious' financial difficulties.

10 per cent of all those attending college in Ireland participated in a survey overseen by the Higher Education Authority.

Results found that almost half of all full-time students were employed during term time, with 50 per cent of those who do work admitting that they would not be able to afford college if they lost their jobs.

On average, students who work throughout the college year spend 20 per cent less time studying, meaning that their grades suffer as a result.

The Eurostudent survey, which was carried out across 30 countries, is the sixth of its kind and aims to examine life for third level students, including social and living conditions.

In Ireland, students were found to have become increasingly reliant on their parents or family members, with those attending Institutes of Technologies more likely to experience financial difficulties than those in Universities.

What's more, while the impact of social class is not directly explored, the study found a clear link between parental education levels and student financial security, with sons and daughters of higher educated people less likely to suffer financial hardship. 

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University College Dublin has revealed it may be forced to cut the number of places available to Irish students if it does not get more funding.

Although this will not affect intake for the 2017 academic year, UCD president, Professor Andrew Deeks, has warned that the issue could pose a threat in the future.

According to independent.ie, international students typically pay between €18,000 and €24,000 for undergraduate courses – fees which in turn subsidise the costs for Irish students.

"Unless there is movement on the funding of Irish students soon, the university will have to consider the option of reducing the number of places available to Irish students in order to preserve quality," Professor Deeks said.

The news comes after figures show that the demand for college places will rise over the next two to three years.

It's no secret that Ireland's education system is going through a financial crisis. But with rising fees and cuts to grants putting students under huge pressure, there is controversy over who must pay to fix the problem.

According to Professor Deeks, as a result of the Government's failure to properly address the issue, UCD have been forced to up their intake of international students in order to increase staff number at the college, and maintain their place in The QS World University Rankings. 

 

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According to numerous emerging reports, 14 people have lost their lives after a bus carrying university students crashed in Spain earlier this morning.

The vehicle, which was carrying Erasmus students from several different countries, was travelling to Barcelona from Valencia when it collided with a car and overturned on the AP-7 motorway near Freginals – a town which is approximately 60 miles south of Tarragona.

It has been established that approximately 20 fire crews and seven ambulance crews are currently working at the scene in an effort to free casualties who are trapped inside the bus.

Commenting on the morning's tragic events, mayor of Freginals, Josep Roncero, said: "The coach crash is a tragedy. At the moment there are 14 fatalities. Many Erasmus students were travelling in the vehicle."

"The coach has crossed the central reservation and overturned. It’s the worst accident I can remember," he continued. "All the injured have now been transferred to different hospitals in the area."

While the nationalities of the dead and injured have not yet been confirmed, reports indicate that the students travelling on the ill-fated bus were studying at Barcelona University.

Our thoughts go out to everyone affected by the tragedy.

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Every year college students around the country are lucky to spend their summers on California beaches or strutting about Manhattan and making everyone very jealous with their Snapchat stories.

However, that might be a thing of the past as today it was announced that new, stricter, rules are being put in place for students. 

As of 2016, all Irish students must obtain work before they travel to America, and have these jobs vetted by the American administration.

The new restrictions come despite Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s attempts to stick with the regulations already in place.

He is said to have spoken to Irish ambassador Kevin O’Malley on a number of occasions about proposed changes to the J-1 Visa programme. 

The new rules will also affect travel within America for students who do get jobs beforehand, limiting their chances to see other parts of the country. Mr Kenny said he feared that the number of students able to avail of the stricter visa rules could drop by up to 80 per cent.

Over 8,000 Irish students travelled to the States in 2015 on the J1 Visa. More students from Ireland than any other country avail of the visa each year. Most of these students choose to look for work once they arrive in America. 

"When the J-1 programme was launched, we saw a surge of Irish students travelling to the USA on a working summer visa," said Kevin Donoghue, president of the Union of Students in Ireland.

"It's a fantastic opportunity for personal development through refining independent skills and experiencing another culture. The recent changed restrictions for the J-1 is disappointing," he added.

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College is absolutely going to be one of the best few years of your life should you decide to head off into the wonderful world of academia. However, it can also be challenging.

Striking up the perfect life and study balance can be tricky. So we gathered up some of the best tricks to help you navigate the next few years. 

Need to learn material fast? Just Google the subject matter + “filetype:ppt” to find lecture slides online, because sometimes your lecturers won't give them away if you don't show up. 

Forgot your textbook? Or maybe you spent your last tenner on last weekend's session? No need to panic just Google the name of the textbook + “filetype:pdf” and you might find it online.

Listen to ambient noise or natural sounds for maximum productivity. Try 8tracks.com for thousands of varying studying playlists to help you focus and get sh*t done.

Get answers to problems that normal search engines, classmates or textbooks just don't know at/r/HomeworkHelp.

A couple of websites can create a bibliography in less than a minute. We all know how long citations take, so you can also try easybib.com if you really need some help.

When you need to buckle down, which will happen eventually, block distracting websites and apps. If you use Chrome try StayFocused, which is a free extension. Then watch your productivity soar.

Learn how to make a breakfast that is tasty, inexpensive and fast. 

Also, keep your snack game strong and less likely to end up crushed into your couch/floor with this trick:

Laptop overheating? Grab one of these, or an empty egg container and put in on your lap. Genius:

If you're a mildly broke student chances are you're going to be using public transport. This is really fine, except for when it's winter and being stranded at the bus stop leave you with wet shoes and shoes and just generally despairing. No worries, you can waterproof your shoes:

 

 

 

 

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He's undeniably running a controversial campaign – and US presidential candidate Donald Trump raised eyebrows again today when it was revealed that he plans to eliminate J1 visas.

In a policy paper on immigration and published today on his official website, the billionaire Republican specified that he'd rather replace the popular programme with "a resume bank for inner city youth".

In short – he wants to help US-born young people rather than invite over Irish students.

Mr Trump is himself the son and grandson of Scottish and German immigrants and recently caused outrage when he called Mexicans "rapists" and criminals. He subsequently refused to retract his remarks.

He has extended his lead in the 2016 Republican nomination race and now boasts 24 percent support, according to official polls.

Some 8,000 Irish applications were processed this year by the US Embassy for the summer work programme.

Indeed, Ireland sends more students to the US on the J1 visa than any other country in the world.

The visa allows young people to work and live legally in the US for up for four months.

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You may have heard that tomorrow will be very special day for teenagers up and down the country tomorrow.

The second Wednesday in August can send some school leavers into a state of despair at the mere thought. Parents have also been known to get a bit tetchy around this time of year as well.

A quick gander through the hashtag #LeavingCert on Irish twitter today proves that is very much true today as exam students shared their dread with the world.

We gathered up some of the best from today and you can be sure tomorrow will have plenty of gems too.

Plenty of messages have been shared on social media to remind students that tomorrow’s results aren’t going to determine their entire future.

More people have taken to twitter to reminisce about their results day memories. Plenty of students have also been letting us know they intend to celebrate (or commiserate) tomorrow.

Surely it won't be that bad?

Ah yes, we know the feeling well.

Bit harsh, no?

Some people have been counting down the days….

We're not sure we were that enthusiastic to get a hold of the mysterious brown envelope…

Ah here.

One thing that we know for sure, there’s going to be candles light across the length and breadth of the country tonight in preparation for the big day.

 

 

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Do you know any students that can’t wait to pack up their bags and take off for some new adventures? If you do, then you should definitely consider letting them know about this new offer from KBC.

A recent survey has revealed that one in three students would consider transport their most significant expense. So KBC are stepping in to help the students out.

They’ve introduced a new ‘fly or cash’ initiative they allows students the chance to avail of free banking and a free return European flight. If they’re not feeling the wanderlust then the opportunity to get some cash is also available.

If you manage to fit in 10 debit card transactions before 2016, then you can receive a second free return flight, this also means there is the option to nominate a friend for to receive the second free flight.

Who doesn’t love a holiday with their friends? Even better, who doesn’t love a holiday with free flights?

Considering that over half of Irish students say that the cost of living is a regular source of worry, we imagine the chance to grab a free holiday will make plenty of students very happy.

Interestingly the survey also revealed that one in three students receive their spending money from their parents while three in every ten have part time jobs to fund themselves during their studies.

We imagine there will be sighs of relief from mammies around the country when they hear that they won’t be funding this year’s trip to Paris, or the long weekend for two to Budapest.

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