Equalities Officer Ben Slimm brings us through theme nights, the Aquadome and award-winning clubs and societies in IT Tralee. Introduce your college. IT Tralee is a fantastic college that has found a great balance between work and play. With many bars, restaurants and entertainment venues on its doorstep you are never short of ways to socialise and relax after a day of college work! What’s the best thing about your college? The student/lecturer ratio is brilliant. With easy access at all times to your lecturers, you can be assured that any questions will be answered quickly whether face to face, by phone or over the email system. What’s the worst? The North Campus is a little bit out of town, and while a bus to the town runs hourly, if you miss it you either go back to bed or walk and arrive sweaty and late. What’s the local area like? Tralee is very much a ‘student town’. As with many purpose built student villages, the town is great for shopping, eating out and not to mention bar hopping! It also has great recreational areas such as the town park and the new Wetlands Centre. What about accommodation? Is it expensive? It’s the opposite of expensive; Tralee is one of the cheapest places to live in Ireland. Student accommodation in a purpose built block is roughly €65 per week, and that includes utilities and internet. Sharing a house with other students can be cheaper again. There are a lot of private houses for let in close proximity to the college – a four bedroom house can be rented for €550-650 per month so it works out at about €40 a week each if the house is full. What’s the cost of living like? The town has all the main supermarkets (Tesco, Lidl, Aldi, Dunnes, BuyLo) and they are in constant competition with each other, so cost of living is the same as most other places. There isn’t really a bus service for the town so if you need to travel you either walk or get a taxi if you don’t drive. On top of that, the IT Tralee SU has various businesses that it works with to keep costs down for students. Be sure to check the SU Handbook to see what’s on offer with your student card. Is part-time work easy to come by? Unfortunately it’s not, the only work that is really available is bar work, and when the students return in September a lot of those jobs disappear quickly. What are the campus facilities like? There is a brand new state-of-the-art library at the IT with plenty of computers for students to use on campus. Bank of Ireland has an on-campus branch with very helpful staff. The college has a great shop and canteen service, with great food served every day. What’s the food like? Is there a good variety? Is it expensive? The hot food and sandwiches in the canteen are cheap, however the bottled drinks and chocolate can work out a little expensive. The food is generally good with all tastes catered for. What kind of sports facilities are there? The college has a well-recognised sporting course. Facilities are shared with the local leisure centre, there is a brand new Astro-turf pitch and plans have just been approved for a brand new sports building to be built with a swimming pool and state of the art facilities on the North Campus, which is due to open September 2014. There are great deals as the local tennis courts and the Aquadome are partially subsidised for students, which leaves a small cost of €2 for students to use these facilities. Are there a broad range of clubs and societies? Clubs and Societies are the lifeblood of the college. We have two BIC (Board of Irish College Societies) award winners (Radio and LGBT) and we also have all sports catered for on campus. Some even go off-campus, such as hill-walking, surfing and mountaineering. What’s the story with the college/local bar? Is there a good atmosphere? Is it cheap? There is no bar on campus as the college has a no alcohol policy, however there is a fantastic student venue called Horan’s Nightclub. This is a great club and has a fantastic atmosphere, with theme nights hosted all year round. There are great bar offers available on student nights, so it’s always a great night! What advice would you offer to new students? For example, what’s the worst thing a new student can do? What’s the best? The worst thing a new student could do is party too much in Horan’s and start to miss lectures. As the class sizes are smal,l lecturers will notice that you are absent and the department will ask why – for those on a grant it can be reduced if you miss a certain amount of classes. The best would be to join a club or society and make as many friends as possible – remember that all people in first year will be in the same boat and will want to make friends!