By Anne Rieger
Hi there. I am Anne, just your average weird German girl. I am 20 years old and I’m in second year of English and Celtic Studies, so basically Ireland with a little side of Irish and Irish as a dessert. I applied for the Erasmus programme a while back, right after I started at my home university of Bonn in Germany.
I am pretty sure that everybody thought I was insane, because I just came back from a six month stay in Ireland and I already wanted to go back. But there are several good reasons for that. (Besides the obvious reasons, like having a boyfriend here, and Ireland just being the most scenic country that ever existed.)
First of all, Ireland and especially Galway makes everyone feel at home. I never hear of anybody complaining about being homesick in Ireland… well, I bet there are some strange people who do that!
But the most important reason why I will always come back to Ireland are the people. And no, I’m still not talking about my boyfriend! I am talking about the fact that you are able to go out on the street by yourself and make friends in a minute. Just try it, it works like a charm.
The thing that apparently is not so easy to achieve in Ireland is getting a place to live. Coming from Germany, where I lived in my family home, it really shocked me when I started looking into places in Ireland. The housing crisis has taken over the country and especially Galway. The worst thing is that as long as the law enforcement and government don’t weed out online scams and discrimination against tenants, whether they are students or otherwise, this crisis will persist.
I could explain to you why the prices here are so expensive and why you are not able to find anything, but that wouldn’t help anyone. I could also give you some quality advice on how to find a place, but I’m going be homeless too, so if you have advice, don’t hesitate to send it to me.
The only thing I can say is that you are not alone. Allegedly, 30 students camped in Eyre Square last year and there will be more this year. I’m not trying to freak you guys out, what I want to say is that there is always an option, even if it is a tent. Try connecting with people on social media that are in a similar position. You’ll realise it is a nice way to meet people and it will make you feel a lot safer about your situation.
The moral of this story is… don’t give up. You will find a place to live. And to everyone who found accommodation already: think back to when you were looking and support others, so nobody has to sleep on the street. A sofa is still nicer than a tent.