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Newtown Tragedy Reveals Social Media Solidarity

As the world mourns those who died on one of the darkest days in recent American history, the cruel shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary has again shown how social media channels can build cohesion in times of difficulty.

Reports are starting to detail the full extent of the damage from last Friday's school shooting in Newtown in Connecticut, the actions of Adam Lanza have sent a tremor across America and around the globe.

Described as a 'troubled son', Lanza took the life of over a dozen young children, the shooter's senseless lack of mercy has caused citizens to take to the Internet to voice their indignation towards such a horrific tragedy.

Twitter saw a spike in related tweets on Friday, hashtags such as #prayersforNewtown and #schoolshooting appeared as well as an array of Instagram images of teens sharing posts depicting their solidarity visually and through messages of support.
 
Vicki Soto A Hero Immortalised

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St Nicolas vs Santa Claus

With Christmas just round the corner, our writers are giving their views of the festive season in a new series of posts. Earlier in the week we had Colombian student Johanna describing her first Christmas in England. Here Erik describes the tradition of St Nicolas' Day in his home country of Slovakia:

"I knew that in the UK nothing special happens on the December 6th, but I hung my stocking in the window anyway. But Saint Nicolas did not show up. Maybe he didn't find the way as he doesn't visit children in the UK. Or, his sledge might have been shot down by the missiles installed before the Olympics. In the following article, I would like to describe to you the small pre-Christmas festival- Saint Nicolas' Day.

The Tradition of St Nicolas

Originally, Saint Nicolas is a Christian tradition, just like Christmas really. Nicolas was a bishop who lived in Turkey in the 3rd century. There was a poor family with three daughters living in the same city. I would say that no one would marry them due to their looks, but according to the story the family did not even have enough money to support a marriage.

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Theresa May Explains Student Visa Changes

On Wednesday (12th December) Theresa May- the British Home Secretary, made a speech about the changes to immigration and the visa system that she and the government have brought in over the last few years. A large part of the speech focussed on international students and the restrictions that have been introduced on student visas. Here we have the important parts regarding foreign students word by word:  

"We have always been clear that we want Britain to attract the brightest and best talent from around the world - the top academics, brightest students, the best businessmen, investors, skilled workers and entrepreneurs who will contribute to our society, our economy and our way of life."

...

"I also want to build on the principle of appealing to exceptionally talented people, so I intend to add a further 1,000 places a year for MBA graduates who want to stay in Britain and start up businesses."

Fighting Abuse

"We changed student visas to make sure that while we still attract the brightest and the best, and we still protect our world-class education establishments, we eradicate abuse from the system."

...

Guest's picture

24 Hours in Athens

As London is the central hub for all flights from and to the UK, it makes it much easier and cheaper for those who live in London or who are visiting to go on and visit other countries in Europe. With a lot of countries being only a couple hours’ plane or train ride away, it would be rude not too. Take advantage of the great last minute offers and you could be wondering the streets of Paris or sliding down the Austrian slopes.

But why not pick a destination you wouldn’t expect to visit during winter; prices are most likely to be cheaper and crowds are likely to be smaller. For example, Greece is usually only thought of for sun holidays. There seems to be some kind of myth that circulates about Greek islands shutting down in any other season than summer. This is not true; this is actually a fantastic time to visit if you are looking to get a real feel for the Greek culture and cuisine. The lack of tourists lend to the large resorts and restaurants shutting down during this period, meaning only the traditional bars and restaurants will open, certifying that you will be eating and drinking with the locals.

So say you decide Athens, Greece is the place for you, you jump on a last minute flight and fly out there for 24 hours. The flight will take around 3 hours, and if on an early morning flight you can get there by midday. So then what?

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My Very English Christmas

With Christmas now less than two weeks away, our writers are revealing their opinions and experiences of the festive period in a new series of posts. Over the next week, we will be publishing posts from a number of writers from different backgrounds and cultures. First up is Colombian student Johanna. 

"Last year was my first Christmas in England. I was struggling to keep my mind working properly all through the premature nights of winter, when I started to feel a homesickness that only a Christmas tree can cause. Encouraged by the Christmas spirit, my English flat mate invited me to spend the days with her family.

I arrived on Christmas Eve and the welcome was warm and happy- I met her parents and her two younger brothers in the kitchen while they were cooking the dinner. During the dinner I talked about Colombian traditions and asked about English ones. The parents, one at each end of the large table, competed to try and monopolize the answers while their eldest daughter, my friend, tried to point out the mistakes of their opinions and remind them that there was a guest at the table.

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