Annually, the Gaeltacht has been a rite of passage for thousands of Irish students. The Irish Government will introduce a new scheme to allow foreign students the opportunity to experience life with a Bean an Tí.
Today the Minister of State for the Irish Language, the Gaeltacht and the Islands, Joe McHugh announced that he has sanctioned funding of €726,604 to support the teaching of the Irish language in America and Canada.
Students who win awards in association with the Ireland Canada University Foundation (ICUF) and the Fullbright Comission will be given the opportunity to visit Ireland during the summer months to attend intensive Irish language courses in the Gaeltacht.
Ireland has considerable historical and cultural ties with both Canada and the US and the Minister hopes this new programme will continue to the strengthen those cultural connections:
This funding awards American and Canadian students the wonderful opportunity to spend some time in the Gaeltacht regions during the summer learning the Irish language, gaining an understanding of the richness of the language and also getting a taste of local life
The fund will also help Irish language teaching assistants attend third level institutions in America and Canada.
The fund currently benefits over 40 institutions abroad, including China, America and Europe, to hold Irish language classes for their students. McHugh believes the scheme can only strengthen Irish as one of the "oldest vernaculars" in Europe and, like French, German and Spanish, position Gaeilge as an equal status European language abroad.
H/T: The Journal