3rd October 2019



The first CCID – Community Colleges for International Development Fall Forum in Ireland took place this September 125-30, in partnership with the Institute of Study Abroad Ireland (ISAI).  This short professional development program was designed for faculty and study abroad directors who are looking to develop their academic study abroad programming to be affordable, accessible and sustainable.

We were delighted to welcome representatives from Snow College, Utah, Hastings College, Nebraska, Central Piedmont Community College, Davidson County Community College, Gaston College, Forsyth Technical Community College, North Carolina, Waukesha County Technical College, Wisconsin, Roxbury Community College, Massachusetts, & Erie Community College, New York.


The program began in Dublin, with an introductory meeting at  EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum, and a welcome from our Community Colleges for International Development CCID representatives Suzanne La Venture of Davidson County Community College, and Nadine Russell, Central Piedmont Community College,  and Institute of Study Abroad Ireland hosts, Dr. Niamh Hamill and John O’Connell.

On our second day, we travelled to the ISAI campus in Donegal, via the Boyne Valley, and Lough Crew Cairns, one of Ireland’s most ancient historic sites. On arrival to our base in Bundoran, we began the process of combining a series of sample lectures, sample field trips, and workshops on all aspects of delivering effective and sustainable study programs. Niamh and John demonstrated the effectiveness of working with direct partners on a faculty-to-faculty basis, and Nadine and Suzanne covered all of the necessary work required in preparing students and faculty for an effective study abroad experience, from logistics and liability to curriculum planning and program evaluation.

After three days on site, we concluded our CCID/ Institute of Study Abroad Ireland Fall Forum in Dublin with Dr. John Young, Honorary Consul General for North Carolina and his wife Mary Pat, who joined us for a final dinner in Dublin. The forum was agreed by all participants to be a very successful project, and we look forward to repeating the experience in Fall 2020.


We asked our participants to evaluate the Fall Forum, and here are some of the testimonials received. Many thanks to everyone who participated.

The prospect of international travel never appealed to me.  My working-class upbringing led me to believe that study abroad was only for the rich or famous.  I carried this belief into my practice as an academic administrator and I subsequently did not champion study abroad programs.  The CCID Fall Forum in Ireland has completely transformed my thinking.  The reasonable price, manageable trip length, and familiarity of language made me understand that study abroad is both accessible and practical for all students.  I cannot wait to share this experience with my students!


Torry L. Reynolds, PhD, Forsyth Tech NC.

It is hard to write a testimonial for the CCID forum. Normally you would think expressing how incredible a trip was would be an easy task, but when the level of exception is exceeded in every domain, it is hard to succinctly state your experience without sounding fake.  Niamh and John are professional, attentive, and knowledgeable.  Every detail has been well thought out with their attendees’ best interest. Their passion for study abroad is evident and they are able to weave Ireland’s past and current history, culture into fascinating and relevant narratives connecting with each participant’s area of interest.  The combination of discussion and experiential learning is seamless.  This CCID forum allowed me to grow as an individual and academic.  I generated many new friendships and collaborative working relationships with individuals who are as passionate as I am for study abroad.  I am truly thankful for this experience. 


Carla Foley, Waukesha County Technical College WI.

I had the most amazing trip attending the CCID Fall Forum with ISA Ireland.  I am a Community College instructor, and this was my first time traveling internationally.  This was the perfect first trip for me and hopefully, for my students.  The language was not a barrier, the country is very safe, and the people are welcoming to visitors. The Forum consisted of other instructors from similar colleges across the US and colleges from my home state.  Some were veteran study abroad participants and were very glad to share their knowledge and maybe even do a consortium type approach with us “newbies”. During our time in Ireland, Niamh and John introduced us to the beauty and culture of their country. The agenda was very educational in all aspects from lectures and site visits, and how to integrate these experiences into the curriculum. I cannot say enough good things and am ready to go visit again and hopefully share these experiences with my students. 


Angie Rudd, Gaston College NC.

I thoroughly enjoyed the amazing week I was able to spend with CCID & ISAI.  The connections with other faculty/administrators around the country has provided me with resources that I did not realize I would gain, but more importantly, I appreciated the learning that happened.  Whether it was discussions on the bus or lectures in the morning, I have gained a profound appreciation for the beauty of diversity and perspective in all we do.  The accommodations were superb, and my only regret is that I did not get to surf in Ireland! But I guess that means I will have to gather a new group of students to share that experience with.

Becky Adams, Snow College UT