I am an international student and I am missing my family in my home country

Settling into a totally new environment and culture can be a jarring experience. Trying to embrace the newness and the change of it though can be very beneficial to you though and maintaining contact with your family and friends at home, keeping them updated on what you’ve been up to will help ease any loneliness you may feel. It is important to remain active and to explore during your time here, otherwise you will find yourself wallowing in boredom and homesickness. Try joining one of the college’s many societies or clubs to either start a new hobby or keep up an existing one. It will also help you to make new friends with similar interests. There is also an Erasmus Students Network in NUI Galway that encourages interaction between international students and Irish students as well as organising cultural trips and events for international students to meet.

Personal Relationships 

I am in a long distance relationship and I don’t know how to make it work

It’s difficult to embark upon a long-distance relationship without an end in sight. It’s important that you can both talk about what distance means to your relationship and yourselves and individuals. It’s important that you’re both comfortable with the conversation and that each of your opinions is vocalised in a calm, understandable manner. TheStudentRoom Forum is a great website which contains lots of useful information, advice and discussion pages on coping when you are far away from your partner among many other topics.

My partner has informed me that they have an STI. What should I do?

Firstly, it is important that you deal with the medical side of the situation. NUI Galway’s Student Health Unit is open 5 days a week: for details of accessing this service, see

From there it is important to discuss the significance of communication in your relationship. How long had your partner known they had an STI before they told you? Had you had sexual contact before they told you? While this conversation should not lead to a row or shouting match, it is essential that each of your feelings on the situation be vocalised so that the issue can be resolved.

Valuing a romantic relationship

Communication is fundamental to any successful relationship. Always being able to communicate the way you feel to your partner and their being able to communicate with you is so central, and will lead to far fewer arguments occurring between you. Be positive about what you have in your relationship and let your partner know what you value about him/her and about the relationship. Put it into words and don't assume they already know. Everybody likes to be told that they are appreciated and loved. Create opportunities for intimacy. Make times when you can be alone together in a situation where you can focus on each other and on your relationship. Practise making "I" statements about how you feel. This avoids putting your partner on the spot, and may help him or her do the same. For example "I feel hurt you didn't ask me before you decided" instead of "Why didn't you ask me first?" After an argument, look at the deeper feeling behind the anger: hurt, anxiety, or sense of being let down. Talk to your partner about these feelings.

Dealing with becoming pregnant as a student

Finding out that you (or your partner) is pregnant is a life-changing experience. If this occurs during your time in University then the issue can seem to be overwhelming. However, the University offers whatever support it can to you through the challenges of pregnancy.

What should I do if I think I might be pregnant?

You can use most home pregnancy tests from the day that your period is due.  They detect pregnancy hormones in your urine and are very accurate.  You can also call into the Student Health Unit: the doctors and nurse there can offer a skilled, professional and free service (for details of accessing the Health Unit click on

Early symptoms of pregnancy include a missed period, nausea or 'morning sickness', heaviness or pain in the breasts, excessive tiredness, period-type pains without bleeding or with a very slight bleed only or a slight change in the colour of your nipples. If you have any of these symptoms, or have a reason to believe you might be pregnant, then you should have a pregnancy test immediately.

If you are pregnant there are a number of options open to you and you can contact the Students' Union, Student Health Unit, Student Counselling Service or the Irish Family Planning Association to discuss which would be the best for you. Crisis pregnancy counselling services are now available free of charge to students and medical card holders at IFPA clinics around the country. Counselling services are currently available in Galway. To make an appointment, telephone the IFPA at 1850 49 50 51 (price of a local call from anywhere in the country).


Positive Options - The Positive Options campaign is run by the Crisis Pregnancy Agency which aims to make more women of all ages aware of the help that is available to them should they have an unplanned pregnancy. The campaign does not pass judgment or push values onto people. It is concerned with the provision of accurate and non-directive information about the options available. Many agencies also provide support for men involved in an unplanned pregnancy. Free Text "List" to 50444 or visit for more information.

Nurture - Nurture is a project aimed at supporting parenting and expecting students at NUI Galway. Parenting and expecting students are invited to drop in to the Wellness Centre at the back of The Hub in Áras na Mac Léinn anytime between 12pm and 2pm every Tuesday. This is an informal gathering with tea/coffee and snacks. It will give you a chance to meet other parenting and expecting students, share your experiences and concerns, and support one another. Nurture is a project of the NUI Galway Students' Union Enterprise Awards in collaboration with the Health Promotion Unit. Email at

Remember, there is no shame in discovering that you (or your partner) are pregnant. What is most important is that you realise that there are people who will be there to help and support you through it, no matter what decisions you make regarding the pregnancy.

With regard to your education it is important to talk to someone in your school. They will be very understanding and can help with deadlines for essays and project work. You may need to defer your exams until the following year. Your tutor however, will be best placed to advise.

Financially, one Parent Family Payment and Child Benefit are applied for after the birth at your local Social Welfare office. It is important to note that you may be able to earn a certain amount of money per week before your payments are deducted. For more information contact the Students' Union.

The decision to go ahead with your pregnancy is a big one. If you are considering adoption or foster care there are many people who can help you. These can be contacted via the Students' Union. No matter what you decide however it is important to talk to someone about your emotions, to help you decide what the best thing is for you. The worst thing to do is make a hasty decision on your own, so please talk to someone who can help.

The decision to get an abortion to terminate a pregnancy is not one which any woman takes lightly. You will need professional counselling and friendly support. There are plenty of people around who will give you non-directional and impartial advice. They will not force you to make a decision, they will help you come to your own. If you just want information, nobody will force you to say anything or make any decision. Pre and post abortion counselling are available free of charge from the Irish Family Planning Association. For more information contact the Students' Union, the Student Health Unit or the Irish Family Planning Association. The Irish Family Planning Association gives non-directional advice on every option open to a woman during pregnancy.

Being a student and a parent

There is no doubt that being both a parent and a student will be a challenging experience. NUI Galway’s goal is to ensure that juggling the two is as straightforward and painless a process as possible. Spraoi Early Learning Centre is located in Newcastle road and serves as the University’s crèche. For more information visit