Are we a “lazy” generation?

In today’s society, we have technology that allows us to answer questions in a matter of seconds, just by lifting out our smartphones and typing it into google. If you really think about it, if you didn’t have your smartphone to tell you about everything and anything, would you go to the library to search for a book to read up about it? I mean, the effort! We literally have everything at the tip of our fingers. But does that make us fortunate, or is it just making us lazy?

Obviously, baby boomers and some of generation X will tell you differently. Have your aunts or uncles ever gone on a rampage when you took your phone out at a family event? Ranting on about how in their day technology didn’t exist and how it’s ruining our generation and blah, blah, blah, blah.

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Despite of what the older generations think, the technology we have today is amazing, we are able to achieve so much with the facilities we have, I know I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today without the internet itself. Because of this technology, doors and opportunities have opened for so many of us. As generation Z are entering the world of work, we are bringing our technology skills with us improving their communication systems, learning systems, sales systems and management systems.

We can gain new experiences, relationships and even a degree purely through the internet. Older generations seem to think that this is the worst thing that could possibly happen for our generation. They believe it is making us weaker, lazier, spoilt, impatient. Are they right? Is this affecting us academically, physically and socially?

Academically

Now, I’m not saying our parents were writing essays with a goose quill, under a candle light with a tonne of dusted books stacked beside them, but I mean they did spend lot more hours in the library doing research while it takes us 10 minutes to do research with the amazing tools we have today. Although… with my concentration skills and wondering imagination, I still wouldn’t be far behind my parents. It can be concerning that rather than doing our own research by going out and physically getting it, we might rely on the internet to much. Not only that, but they didn’t have Microsoft word or spell check to make sure their sentences still make sense at 3am and 1000 words in to an essay. We can literally achieve a degree today from our sofa, using only a laptop, smartphone and maybe a few physical books. Is this teaching us the skills we are going to need when entering our field of work?

Phsyically

Have you ever scrolled down your Instagram feed for hours and came across gorgeous girls with beautiful figures and thought “awch i want that!”, but then continue to lie there for a further few hours scrolling through your feed, maybe switch over to Twitter, then Facebook then maybe watch and entire Netflix series all in the one night? Same. I often wonder if I didn’t have my phone would I go outside and be more active.

I can even book a car to come pick me up right at my door through an app! Sometimes the taxi driver himself is disgusted at me for booking a taxi when the destination is only a 5-minute walk away.

Also, for a girl who loves clothes, makeup and spending money, I despise shopping. I despise the stress of trying clothes on in a small cubicle, I despise the pushing about in busy stores, I despise carrying bags and bumping into people with them and most of all I despise going home and realising I forgot to get the one thing I actually went to the shops for. But luckily enough for me, I can also do this at a touch of button from my smartphone and get it delivered directly to my door. It’s just too easy!

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Socially

If you have Instagram, especially if you are a female, you will understand the awkwardness of walking by another girl whose photos you’ve been liking for months but have never actually spoke to them in person. Not knowing whether to say hello or not because it might be weird because you’ve never physically met them before, but you know that you both know each other. How weird is that? We literally have made friendships through the internet but are to socially awkward to go up and strike a conversation with them in person.

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Dating websites such a Tinder have also made it weird for someone to go up and ask for your number in a normal place like a coffee shop. It’s like “eh, omg no of course you can’t have my number I haven’t even stalked your Facebook profile yet”. Have you ever gone on a date with someone without stalking their social media pages? I didn’t think so.

Technology is a wonderful thing, and as I mentioned above, it opens so many new doors and job opportunities for us. However, I have made a vow to make a point of being less lazy by doing simple things like deleting my FonaCab app, going to the library and doing more physically research with actual books and I might even go as far as deleting my PayPal account to make me go out and physically do my shopping (I said maybe!).

Aoibheann McKinley is a final year BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found at: LinkedIn – https://uk.linkedin.com/in/aoibheann-mckinley 870316112 ; Twitter – @aoibheannmckinl ; Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/aoibhymcmua/?hl=en                                                                                                   

Anna’s Declassified University Survival Guide.

Anna’s Declassified University Survival Guide.

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As the cliché goes, “university will be the best days of your life.” Now don’t get me wrong. Being a student is great. Most of us go to class a mere nine hours a week compared to 6 hours a day when we were in school. We get to live with our best friends (there for being able to borrow their clothes everyday), we have  independence for the first time, meeting new people is inevitable and getting to try new things is a must. It’s great. However, like everything else in the world it has its downsides.

When talking about university with friends or family what most people will never mention is the amount of stress and anxiety we as students face every day. Behind all the socialising and freedom we will encounter large amounts of university work, social anxiety, money problems and feeling like we have absolutely no idea what we’re doing. Don’t worry if you’re feeling over whelmed, you are not alone! A new report showed that a massive 82% of students at a university in the UK claimed to have suffered from stress and anxiety when starting their course. Out of these only 25% said they would ask for help as the others said they wouldn’t know where to find it or else they’re too embarrassed to ask for it.

I have came up with tips from my university experience that will help you unwind, relax and enjoy this experience as much as you can (and no they don’t all involve socialising and drinking.)

  1. Partying

I may as well start with most student’s favourite topic. Partying. Who doesn’t love having a night out with your friends, wearing your new favourite jeans, all for the night to end with you all in the pizza shops struggling to get a taxi home. Nights out can create some of our best university memories, however you don’t need to feel under pressure to go out every night, no one enjoys this.

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Alongside it being expensive, waking up with a hangover before going to class is one of the worst feelings ever. Rather than always picking a bar to socialise in invite friends down to watch a movie or go for food. It’s cheaper and saves you having a killer hangover the next day. If you want to get out of the house most cities have cinemas and crazy golf as well , both are social and will give you a chance to catch up with friends without having to shout over loud club music into each other’s ears.

  1. People

Our parents have always told us it’s important to always surround yourself with the right people, and guess what? They’ve been right all these years. When we’re in university, most of us have some type of idea of the person we are, and want to become. Surround yourself by like minded people. Focus on the good people in your life, the ones that motivate you and want you to achieve the best you can. Surround yourself with friends that will be happy for your success and are willing to spend countless hours in the library with you rather than people who will miss two classes a week so they can stay at home and catch upon their latest Netflix binge.

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3. Money

As soon as our student loans come into our accounts it feels like we are rich (if only for a few hours). We convince ourselves we deserve those new shoes after all the hard work we’ve been doing all year and now ordering dinner seems like the much more attractive option over pasta and a jar of Dolimo sauce. However, don’t be fooled! Yes it’s nice to treat yourself once in a while but this money will primarily be needed for university essentials- rent, textbooks and your cost of traveling to and from university.

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Over the past three years I’ve figured out what I spend the majority of my loan on and figured out how to minimise it. Firstly there’s rent, expensive and unfortunately unavoidable, so let’s move on. The second biggest cause of my painfully small bank balance is of course… drink and food. The best and easiest ways I deal with this is having a balance. You don’t need to eat less to save money on food, you just need to eat smart. If you’re feeling lazy and want a take away for dinner go onto google and search food places with discount codes for students. If it’s a Tuesday and you and your flat mate are big pizza lovers, Domion’s does “Two for two Tuesdays” where you get two pizzas for the price of one.

Similar to this, pick clubs and bars that do student offers such as “90p drinks.” It will save you a fortune. Give yourself a budget that you can afford to spend on a night out. Then take this money out, put it in your purse and leave the bank card at home. Your head and bank balance will be thankful for this tip in the morning, trust me.

So there we have it, my top three tips to help you survive university. Even though it sounds like I have a lot of bad things to say about university, I wouldn’t chance my experience for the world. Endless laughs everyday with your friends, being able to stay in your pj’s until 2pm and no one in your house will judge you if it’s 2am and you want to order a Chinese.

If you’re feeling over whelmed it’s okay to miss a night out and hop on the bus home. At the end of the day nothing will beat a home cooked meal and getting cosy up on the sofa catching up with your family and watching your favourite TV show.

Anna Grant is a final year BSc in Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found at: Instagram- @annagrantx.

 

Online shopping vs IRL (In real life) shopping

If you’re like me and you love to shop you will know the struggle of finding the time to look properly while trying to do everything else that is going on like Uni, work and socialising, of course. There are two different types of shoppers, there are those who only shop online and people who actually love going in to shops.

There are pros and cons to both these ways of shopping…

Online shopping pros;

It’s right at your finger tips… Literally AB2

There are so many apps now on our smart phones for shopping the latest trends and even our groceries can be bought online and brought to our houses. We don’t even have to leave the house or if we are in work we can do it on our break, basically we can shop anywhere and everywhere, I think that is the appeal for most consumers. I have shopped online a few times because compared to normal stores there is an endless amount of clothes and styles on those apps, I mean endless you could spend hours just looking at tops alone. These sites also give you suggestions so you barely even need to look that far because they’ve already picked a look for you. With online shopping you also don’t have the stress of having to fight your way through people especially when it comes to Christmas time and Belfast City Centre is completely packed with everyone trying to get what they need. A perk I also enjoy from online shopping is getting it delivered to work because it’s like getting presents while I’m there, this defiantly helps with the 8 hour shift I don’t want to do.

Online shopping cons;

When we order online we have to wait usually 3-5 working days for our parcel to arrive and if there is a weekend in between then that’s two extra days added which is just unfair in my opinion, yes there is next day delivery but for most online shops that doesn’t apply to Northern Ireland… defiantly unfair. Then we have the charge of postage, although postage usually isn’t that dear it’s still charge on top of your items but if you’re like me and you see ‘free postage on orders over…’ and your order is just under that priceAB1 then I will buy something else, now this makes no sense because you are most likely now spending more money but it’s all about the principle of it, well that’s what I tell myself anyway. Sizing can be a problem, I like to try things on before I buy them because sizing in some shops can be completely different than sizing in another so if I order online half the time I usually send the stuff back or have to get another size which means I have to wait another 3-5 working days and that is just way to much waiting about for my gifts from me to me.

I prefer IRL shopping one reason for this is because I am a student and I can go into the city centre on a Monday at 10am when no one is there which makes it a lot easier.

IRL shopping pros;

When you go into a clothing shop and you can actually see what you are buying, you sometimes find that it looks nothing like what you saw online(which has happened to me quite a lot) so you know exactly what you are getting. You can try on the clothes before you buy them like I pointed out earlier, this is defiantly a good thing for me because I don’t have to send half of my order back. Customer service as annoying as it can be at times I still prefer to talk to a person rather than do everything through technology, having someone tell you they love what you’re buying at the till makes you feel good (even if it is a lie). We get what we want straight away. This is a big pro for me because I can be very last minute so being able to get and outfit and go works well for me and my at times unorganised lifestyle.

IRL shopping cons;

We all know how busy Castlecourt and Victoria Square can be at the best of times and it AB3is even worse around Christmas so if you aren’t a student or you can’t work from home you have to shop at the busiest and worst day to go into the city centre… A Saturday. It really is a horrible day to be anywhere near shops because everyone is off and then trying to get home after you’ve fought your way through the crowds is another nightmare, you could sit in traffic for hours. Being told they don’t have your size… this is to say the least, heartbreaking news, I hate, hate, hate when I have found the perfect outfit then the sales assistant tells me they don’t have my size then I have to start the process all over again or worse they tell me to look online, and you now know how shopping online makes me feel so you can imagine how I feel when that line is thrown in my face.

So, those are my thoughts on online vs IRL I’m sure some of you will share the same thoughts as myself in this department and if not you now know my views on two methods of shopping xo

 

Aoife Ni Cheallaigh Bairr is a final year BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found at: LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/aoife-ni-cheallaigh-bairr-a42534164/

“Would you like a bag with that?” What retail taught me about PR!

Retail is a mad environment, a mad environment that I’ve had the dubious pleasure of working in for nearly 5 years! Don’t get me wrong it’s fun but it’s also fast-paced and tough, standing on your feet for 8 hours hurts, running back and forward like a mad eejit to get items for customers will increase your fitbit steps considerably, as will dealing with difficult situations and moving fixtures to name but a few! If you have worked (or currently work) in retail you’ll be able to relate to this blog in some way, shape or form! If you don’t work in retail – no worries, I am hoping you’ll get a glimpse of life from behind the counter and what retail workers deal with daily!

Before starting university, I didn’t realise how much I’d learned in the world of retail nor how much it had prepared me for my future career in Public Relations. Who would have thought that retail makes you quite the PR professional…OK, maybe not a professional but you’ll definitely develop a bit of a flair for it. As I am a student, I will include some academic writing just to prove my point (and to sound highly intellectual).

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Trust me, it will all make sense!

Public relations is all about building, maintaining and managing good relationships though communication, according to the two academic legends Grunig and Hunt, who wrote this in 1984. Apply their analysis to a retail setting, or any setting where a customer/client relationship is involved, and you must deal with them appropriately, right? In retail you encounter a wide range of customers with some extremely unique characteristics. The ones who’ll quip “well I’m hardly going to carry that around now am I *insert laugh*” after you’ve offered them a bag; or my all-time favourite “if there’s no price on it that must mean its free!” I have heard that 6 times today… Bet you’re reading this, and you’ve said that yourself more than once! Haven’t you?

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Regardless of who or what you encounter, having good public relations skills will ensure you make their retail experience a pleasurable one which they will hopefully repeat regularly. Imagine you are a customer purchasing goods and the sales adviser is rude, arrogant and totally unpleasant – you would be outraged and leave feeling annoyed at the situation. You would have little or no inclination to shop there again and at worst, you would give the shop a poor social media review.  If you’re of a “certain age” you might prefer to phone and ask to speak to a member of staff. Imagine poor customer service in a PR agency?  You’d be out of business in no time.

In retail the customer is your priority and in a competitive market they expect the 5* treatment.  Ever heard the expression “kill them with kindness?” I’m pretty sure that was written for retail workers. To be successful you must always be polite and attentive, listening to their needs, communicating with them effectively and showing a genuine interest in them. Remember us Irish love retail therapy!  But BALANCE is key🔑 in all of this as an over-zealous approach can also be off-putting and have customers behind the mannequins in lingerie like an episode out of “Fr Ted”.

Similarly, in PR, when working closely with a client, it’s vital that you listen to their needs, concerns and ideas – showing that you care about them. By remembering customers’ names, their likes and dislikes, whether they want the receipt in the bag or in their hand your customer will hopefully feel they are appreciated. They must feel that your world revolves around them.

In retail you need to be able to multi-task to the best of your ability, including doing 10 different jobs at once!   Merchandising, deliveries, not to mention manning the tills whilst also bending over backward for your customer while a queue begins to form with impatient coughs beginning to resonate towards you.  Yes my friends, if you can do all this under tight deadlines and still keep that smile on your face, then you should be able to work in PR……

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Sometimes you might wonder “why do I bother?” but in the PR world you need to be highly motivated all the time – adapting to every situation that is thrown your way.  There really is no such thing as a typical day!

Often in retail you can find yourself in a situation you’d never have dreamt of, smiling as you deliver a suitable response to an unhappy customer in order to survive.  Time to shine a light on your problem-solving skills – this might be rhyming off your companies return policy to Susan who clearly bought the item in a different country and wore it 100 times, or how the bags cost 5p and it’s not your fault.  Let’s not forget the customer who will not believe that you genuinely have none of that item left!

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You guessed it! Us PR Wizz kids need to work with other managers to solve communication problems. Being able to act quickly during a difficult situation calls for a crisis communication plan. Now, in the PR world this will be most likely be on a mass scale, it might involve writing a press release, releasing a statement to the organisation’s publics on social media and taking calls from members of the press to ensure the same message is communicated to all.

I am thankful for all that I have learned during my time working in retail, I feel it’s a rite of passage for us millennials.  Now to graduate, get a job and enjoy some retail therapy of my own.

Alannah Stephens is a final year BSc in Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. Alannah can be found on Twitter @AlannahStephens and on  Linkedin https://www.linkedin.com/in/alannah-stephens-ab1525127/ 

Semester scary

Growing up in the absolute middle of nowhere for the past 18 years could have never prepared me for the transition from the country to the city, or school to uni. Garron tower was the castle on the hill, not just a school but a community and unfortunately in September, I learnt that Jerusalem Street was not exactly the same. For the duration of my upper 6th year, the stress of A-levels had made me that pupil who couldn’t wait to leave and move on to university. A few weeks into my first semester however, things took a turn, and I would have done anything to press rewind. The transition from primary to secondary school, at the innocent age of 11, seemed to be the biggest moment of my life (or so I thought). A big new building with 800 pupils and an oversized uniform that made me feel tinier than I already was. Fast-forward 7 years and Ulster University Jordanstown was unfortunately an even bigger step; one I didn’t think I could take.

Truthfully, I thought I had a fair idea of what ‘uni life’ had to offer when I left the house that Sunday evening, with an Asda bag full of the essentials and a huge grin on my face. My sister has been at uni for the past 2 years and the thrill of partying and staying with her in ‘the big smoke’ was the only real experience I had. Lying in bed, nursing a sore head, whilst she attempted to make herself presentable for class was exactly what I expected and couldn’t wait for. Unfortunately, reality soon became my enemy. Uni wasn’t what I had anticipated, and I soon became that girl. Struggling to get ready, panicking about missing the bus and not being able to find my class.

For me, first semester wasn’t all fun and games. I felt so out of my depth and frankly, quite stupid. I thought everyone around me was 10 times smarter than I was and that I would ultimately never be able to survive until graduation, drop out, become a sad and uneducated 40-year-old, who had been shamed the uni drop out, failure and disappointment of the family…phew. What about my aspirations to become a highly paid successful professional, with a just as successful husband, 3 kids, a dog and a huge house? Dramatic, I know, but honestly, I couldn’t see myself surviving until Christmas, never mind final year. Who would have thought when you came to uni you would actually have to do work?! Is it not all about the craic? After 3 assignments and 4 tests I’ve realised it’s not…BUT, that doesn’t mean you can’t have an absolute blast.

I know I’m making semester one out to be the worst thing in the world but it’s honestly how I felt. However, what I’ve came to realise with the aid of my new friends, who I had originally deemed the next Einstein’s, is that everyone is in the same boat, so don’t worry.  Uni is a scary place for a first year and no matter how clever you know you are you begin doubting yourself and your ability. You disregard the fact you got the grades and you’re fit for the degree, all you need is the motivation to work for it. Don’t let the fear of the unknown ruin your uni experience, especially first year. This is the time to let all the partying out of your system and discover more about who you are (as cliché as it sounds).  You need to remember you didn’t work your butt off at school to come this far and only this far. Embrace all the worries and wonders student life has to offer and take them in your stride. After all, your student days are the best days of your life; fact. No matter how many times you convince yourself you can’t do it, you can and you will.

In the wise words of Samantha Montgomery, “Don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.”

Thanks for reading!

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Holly Gillan is a first year BSc in Communication, Advertising and Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be found on: Instagram – hollygillan987 ; Twitter – @Hollyg453

 

The surprisingly holy holy lands

Holy lands? Nothing holy about the place. With a name like ‘the holy lands’ and street names that consist of Palestine Street, Jerusalem Street and Damascus Street, you’d imagine this place to be a very quiet, religious area. But that’s where you’re mistaken. In the center of Belfast, this area is dominated by students who drink five nights a week and Romanians. Like every 18-year-old when going to university I was skeptical about living in the holy lands, as their life style focused more on partying and not enough on their academic studies. After deciding to live down with my friends as a student, my suspicions were confirmed. Despite blessing our house with holy water, some demons definitely got in. These are not the usual demons that you hear about at mass, these are the demons that are controlled and possessed by one too many jaeger bomb. Despite having holy water in our house, the only holy water we needed was a spar slush puppy to help cure our three-day hangover. This was my regular healing process each week.

However, it does seem that there are miracles happening in this area, as people be drinking to five o’clock in the morning and still manage to make their 9’oclock lectures looking like they’ve had their Weetabix and 8 hours sleep. I myself fell a victim of the late night drinking and the early lecture partaking. It seems like a great idea at the time, however, the next morning this was definitely not one of my good ideas.

Located in the heart of the holy lands, was our very own food shelter in the form of press 29. This is where most student could have a nice warm meal and discuss with their own Samaritans about which commandment they may have or have not broken the night before. I could honestly say there has been times, where I feel this place has truly saved me.

In addition, we do show our faith once a year, as we celebrate our dear St. Patrick on the 17th of March, for freeing Ireland from snakes. On this day we take to the streets with music and alcohol to show our appreciation for the patron saint of Ireland. When taking to the streets us student have our own rendition of Noah when he was in the ark with all the animals. It is otherwise known to us students as rock the boat. It’s basically the same thing.

The holy lands can be all fun and games, until everyone’s student loans start to wither away. This normally starts a month after returning for fresher’s. At this point we would be praying for Jesus himself to appear and perform the feeding of the 5000…students. I think every student at this point, would be well and truly grateful for a free feed, even if it is only fish and bread. As much as they would prefer it too be a Boojum. Beggars can’t be choosers!

I suppose the holy lands does show traits of being a holy place in its own way, as there does be a lot of praying, modern day student miracles and celebration of saints. In theory, it is a holy land however, it is an unorthodox fashion.

Finally, despite the flaws of going to Hatfield every Sabbath, Limelight every Monday, and back to the Hatfield on a Tuesday. I have still managed to secure my place in final year, and that is well and truly a miracle in itself. I would advise every student with the option to live nowhere else but the holy lands.

Chloe Toner is a final year BSc in Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found at: LinkedIn – linkedin.com/in/chloe-toner-937039153

Europe by train – My Inter-rail journey

Europe by train – My Inter-rail journey

For anyone looking for an alternative holiday this summer I would strongly advise on giving Inter-railing a go. Personally I didn’t have a clue what inter-railing was until my brother went five years ago with four of his mates. The photos and experiences he shared instantly made me want to give inter-railing a go.

Ever since then the idea of going inter-railing was regularly talked about within my friend groups but it wasn’t until this year that something materialised when me and two other friends from Omagh decided to set off on the 2 week long journey.

Choosing your ticket

When planning your trip there are a couple of different ticket options you can choose from, Deciding on your ticket really depends on your own personal preferences and circumstances, we however went for the cheapest ticket which allowed us to travel to 5 different countries in the space of 15 days which was perfect for us. With our ticket we were restricted to travelling on only 5 single days within the 15 day period, other tickets allow you to travel on 7 or 10 days with the most expensive ticket allowing you to travel continually for 1 whole month. Ticket prices can be found here.

 

Planning your itinerary

Personally one of the main spots I wanted to visit was Lake Bled, Slovenia ( which I for one can say is one of the most picturesque places I have ever visited, absolutely breath-taking scenes) while my mates wanted to visit Berlin and Krakow.

Prior to our departure we really did little to no planning or organising other than ordering our inter-rail ticket and booking our flights to our start location.  I know some people prefer to be a little more organised than we were, but we were three laid back, easy going lads to say the least (we pretty much winged the whole thing tbh).

On the contrary we met people that had their whole 2-4 weeks planned out ahead of themselves with train reservations, hostels, nightclubs, pub crawls and tours booked two months in advance. This organised and planned approach didn’t really appeal to any of us so we just booked our hostel and any other reservations for the next location the day before we arrived.

Our Route

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Our starting location was Venice, Italy. The reason for this was simple, it was the cheapest flight we could get in and around central Europe.

Venice was a really nice spot, although very expensive we were lucky enough to get booked into a cheap hostel chain (Generator Hostels – which I would highly recommend) where we spent most our time sampling some of Italy’s famous Aperol Spritz’ for only €2.

On our first night out in Venice we met two brothers from Canada who coincidentally were staying in the same hostel as us and who we actually got to know pretty well (thanks to a bottle of vodka and a drinking game) but I will talk about these guys later.

After our two night stay in Venice, it was time to move on to location No.2 : Lake Bled. I’m sure most of you have seen or at least heard of Lake Bled and I am nearly certain that most if not all reports about this place were astonishing, and rightly so. Slovenia was one of the cheapest destinations on our trip with our hostel costing a mere €7 each.

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From Lake Bled it was then off to Budapest, one of Europe’s most popular party hotspots. One of the best and worst part of Budapest was our hostel, which was located just above a bar which played live music up until 5am. A key highlight of the trip was when we visited the famous Budapest ‘Sparty’ (a must) which was a huge spa party in the Szechenyi thermal baths.  This is where we bumped into our Canadian friends we had met in Venice. I always thought it was so weird that out of 192 countries in the world, 50,000 odd cities and 7.5 billion people, we met the same people twice, in two different countries… what are the chances?

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After Budapest we travelled further east towards Krakow, Poland. Unfortunately, it rained for most of our stay there so we didn’t get out to see much. We did however get the chance to join the hostels pub crawl which is something I would highly recommend if you are travelling by yourself as it is a great way of meeting new and interesting people and also gives the chance to visit a variety of the city’s local ‘watering holes’.

Now it was time to make our way west in the direction of Berlin, this was our longest train journey of the whole trip which required a mammoth 10-hour commute. Some people are daunted by the long commuting hours involved with inter-railing but when you’re with your friends and in the right company the hours can really fly by.

Berlin is one of the most complete city’s you probably will ever visit in my opinion, the mixture between culture, nightlife and tourist attractions is magnificent and offers you plenty to do over your 2-3 days.

Berlin nightclubs are known for being the best in the world, So obviously we had to try them out. Before entering one of the clubs we were informed by the abnormally strict bouncers that cameras were prohibited inside and that we had to put a sticker over the cameras lens on our phone, this threw us a little and we really didn’t know what to expect when we got in but I can honestly say that it was one of the best nights out I have ever had, the best of it was the place didn’t close until 8am!

This meant that we could step out of the nightclub at 7am, grab our bags at the hostel and make our way to the train station for or final train journey to Amsterdam at 9am, fresh. as. a. daisy.JM1

Upon arrival to Amsterdam Central station, this concluded our inter-railing journey. Following 2 weeks of hectic travelling and partying, our energy along with our funds were quite depleted so we used the remaining two days to just chill out and reminisce on our eventful inter-railing experience.

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James McGirr is a final year BSc Public Relations & Communication Management student at Ulster University. He can be found on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/james-mcgirr-247328143/