Posted on 20th February 2020
February 2020 – and as storm Dennis moved across the Atlantic, so too did our Faculty and Administrators from the USA! Thankfully, Dennis did not impede our enjoyment and enrichment on this wonderful week on the Wild Atlantic Way!
We welcomed a team of faculty from the Peralta Colleges District in California, namely Amy, Leslie, Jane and Candy from Laney College, Merrit College and the College of Alemeda. We also welcomed Shawn from Kapiolani College, Hawaii, and Whitney from East Carolina University.
The aim of the visit was to explore opportunities for developing short, academic faculty-led trips for students, in the areas of environment and science, civil rights and social justice, landscape and identity, nursing and healthcare. We began in Dublin with a workshop and overview of the planned program, introducing ourselves and outlining the objectives of this short project. We then travelled to the Dublin Financial Services District, for a guided visit of the very high tech Epic Diaspora Museum, and the start-up businesses within the CHQ building.
We then enjoyed a group dinner at the Old Storehouse in Temple Bar, – a first opportunity to sample some delicious Irish-style food, and get a sense of all that Dublin has to offer for the visiting groups.
On day 2, we travelled to the ISAI campus in Donegal, with a stop for a guided tour of the Newgrange passage graves. This astonishing site is part of the neolithic history of Ireland, and we dodged between raindrops and rainbows to enjoy the visit.
We stopped for lunch just south of the border at the Derrygarra Inn, Belturbet, then onwards we travelled, through the lakelands of Fermanagh, before crossing the border again into County Donegal. We had just enough daylight left to visit Bundoran’s Fairy Bridges and Wishing Chair before checking into our Donegal accommodation
Day 3 began with a workshop on how to design a suitable syllabus for study abroad that works as a course component- how to ensure robust academic learning outcomes are delivered, and how Ireland’s narratives are an excellent platform for many of the shared experiences we can use as material for comparative and critical discussion. We then visited the O’Donnell Castle in Donegal Town, demonstrating how the narrative of Irish Colonization is one that will strike a chord with many narratives elsewhere- you have to see the fireplace in Donegal Castle to understand!
We then continued to the awesome cliffs at Sliabh Liag, and finished up in the fishing port of Killybegs, itself a center for culinary studies and hospitality.
Day 4’s theme was twofold- in our workshop, we discussed dealing with institutional, faculty and student ‘fear’ of study abroad, and how to address. We also talked about core themes of study abroad – social justice, environment and climate justice, civil rights, cultural competency and internationalization. We then travelled to Derry City, Northern Ireland, home of the Civil Rights movement, and we were hosted by John Kelly at the Museum of Free Derry. John kindly guided us around the museum, and spoke to us about ‘Bloody Sunday’ January 1972. We also explored the old city walls and the Guild Hall. We also visited the Derry Council Chambers, and elected Leslie (temporary) Mayor status!
We returned to base for dinner, and a final discussion about planning study abroad programs for the future. Our participants are now full of information and enthusiasm about creating quality affordable programs for their students. They have seen the location, the format of the programs, and the resources available. We also had very constructive and supportive guidance for our participants about planning, delivering and evaluating excellent study travel experiences. Our thanks and best wishes to Amy, Leslie, Shawn, Whitney, Jane and Candy for a great site visit, and we look forward to welcoming your students in the near future. The next site visit to Ireland will be September 2020, click the link below to download the information.