As I think back over my time in Ireland, I reflect upon one of the greatest experiences of my undergraduate career. I decided to travel to Ireland mainly because of my interest in Irish history. As a history major, I have developed a strong passion for European history. With that being said I had never taken an Irish history course and really thought it would be worthwhile to take a course that offers so much more in terms of the travel component. I also have Irish ancestry, which made the decision to travel to Ireland that much more enticing.
One of the most surprising things that happened to me was I met a man who knows my family while in Dublin. As I mentioned, I have Irish ancestry; however, I wasn't sure exactly which part of Ireland my family originates from. I met this man one evening while at this pub called the Confession Box. After a long conversation, we realized that he knew my grandparents! It made me realized just how small the world really is.
This course also gave my classmates and I taste of the greater world around us. Living in the complex global world that we do today, it is important to experience and embrace different cultures from the world. This course not only exposed us to a culture that is both similar and different to our own, most importantly, it gave us some perspective on how we as global citizens must interact with each other.
Traveling to Ireland really enhanced my educational experience because it made the experience real for me and my classmates. Walking the Walls of Derry, visiting the Ulster American Folk Park, and adventuring down Temple Bar in Dublin made everything we had read about and learned about in class prior to leaving, come to life. This was so much more than just a class. This was exciting. This was an adventure. This was a life changing experience.