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Notes from students: Wild Ireland: Literature and the Performing Arts

Filed in Blog, Ireland by on November 7, 2018

Green landscape of Ireland coastInterested in studying abroad in Ireland? Check out what students who recently studied on the Wild Ireland: Literature and the Performing Arts program had to say:

Lukas Fryer, 2020, Film Studies

“A Fantastic and Unforgettable Opportunity”

As a film studies major, or as anyone with an appreciation for great art and culture, this study abroad program is a perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in film, literature, and theater, all while having terrific chances to explore the culture and landscapes of Ireland. This program blends the classic with the contemporary, combining Yeats and other great Irish writers with the best that recent Irish cinema has to offer to create an engaging prism through which to observe modern Irish society. The excursions are a blast, ranging from the Cliffs of Moher, to the bogs of Connemara, to the island of Inishmore. And then there’s Galway: a beautiful, coastal Irish town with great pubs and great festivals that you’ll attend during this semester. This program is a fantastic and unforgettable opportunity.

Zan Cappetta, 2019, English

“I Traveled the World to Meet Myself: Galway’s Places, Faces, Stories and How They Changed Me”

I think people are at their best when they’re full of excitement and wonder, and I think on our first night out as a group, when we laughed and strolled the Galway streets together under the rows of flags above us, we were each at our best. . . You might be thinking that learning to embrace my authentic self isn’t something I needed to travel across the world for. That may be true, but I’m not going to say it didn’t help. As I met people with lifestyles, views, ideas, and a culture so estranged from my own, I had to decide who I was in a place that was entirely new. . . When we travel, we’re like sponges; we expand little by little as we soak in a new culture, the accents, the streets and sounds. I’ve decided that you won’t expand farther than you travel and for anything to grow it needs to be maintained. If this spirit of adventure is being oxygenated, the version of myself that I found and liked doesn’t have to suffocate when I’m not on the go. . .
I wish it didn’t sound so conceited or narrow-minded but the fact is, until I spent a month living in Galway, I’m not sure I really understood that there was a world beyond me. Of course, I always knew it was there, but seeing it and choosing it for myself made it real. I had to experience Galway to see a bigger picture. . . Yeats writes about one of his characters in a section of his prose: “He had to take the plunge into the world beyond himself, that first plunge away from oneself that is always pure technique, delight in doing, not because one would or should, but merely because he can” (Bloom, 243). Exploring Galway, its people, the light-strung streets and sounds of guitars and washboards was the technique I delighted in. It was the first step beyond the world and the version of me I had previously known. In order to see myself clearly and know myself more closely, I had to go far; it had to be this city and this experience. It wasn’t a process I could ease into and whatever water I was diving head first into wasn’t clear. Either way, Galway was coming up for air. Maybe for me, this was the first plunge into the world beyond myself that Yeats was talking about.

Eamon O’Connell, 2020, Economics

“How Much I Loved Galway”

Come to Galway to experience a culture with enough similarities to America to make it familiar but with plenty of unique qualities to thrill. You’ll get to read and experience the history and literature that made the place what it is during the day and navigate the incredibly accessible streets of Galway (which you will get to know very well) at night. The profundity of the reading material becomes even more apparent and resounding while you’re living in the place it was conceived. Ireland will amaze, and even surprise, you in its variety of landscapes and weather that can be observed in just a month in the summer. The result of staying in one place for three weeks is an authentic feel of Galway, a city unlike any in America. A feel for its streets, pubs and people that you will not want to leave, that I still think of frequently.

Abigail Flanders, 2019, Biology

“Accessible to Any Major”

As a Biology major, I began to recognize the importance of precise communication through writing. I added an English minor to hone my focus on this goal and signed up for this trip! I had a blast and was able to get a few of my credits finished as well. Ireland is a stunning location and Dr. Kerwin is the best professor I could have asked for abroad. The program is multifaceted and easily accessible to any major, so don’t let yours stop you from signing up! I hope you choose to go on this trip and enjoy doing life in Ireland as much as I did.

Haley Blase, 2019, English

“An Amazing Chance”

Studying in Ireland with Dr. Kerwin has to be one of the most exciting and inspiring opportunities I’ve been afforded throughout my time at Mizzou. Whether we walked to the beach to perform plays for each other; spent our evenings at films, concerts, art installations or performances; jumped off cliffs into the freezing Atlantic; or just hung around NUIG campus enjoying some of Ireland’s finest Benedictine-monk-brewed tonic wine; each day we spent in Galway was exhilarating and memorable in its own right. Not only is Wild Ireland a great way to earn some credit—even honors!— over the summer, it’s an amazing chance to see a new and enticingly green part of the world, and I would recommend the trip to anyone in a heartbeat.

Melody Harty, 2020, Elementary Education

“To Expand My Perspective”

As an elementary education major, I decided to study abroad in Ireland to expand my perspective of the world, explore different cultures, and have an adventure of a lifetime while still getting credits towards my degree!

Olivia Jacobson, 2019, Journalism/Documentary Studies

“Professional Experience”

As a documentary journalism student, I found this trip to be amazingly valuable! Having the chance to attend an international film festival and interact with filmmakers from across the globe while studying abroad was incredible. I feel this trip not only made me a more well-rounded student and individual, but provided professional experience I could not have gotten anywhere else.

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