Page created by: Angela Fronzaglio
So much to do, and only one semester to do it!
So you want to see the world, but you only speak (imperfect) English? You have more opportunities than you might think -- W&J offers several Study-Abroad programs to English-speaking countries, one of them being the trip to Dublin, Ireland. While in Dublin, expect to be busy! Not only will you spend time in classes, but there is also plenty to see and do outside of the classroom as well. Dublin is a cultural center that is internationally renowned for its arts -- with theater, art, and dance among them. Moreover, seeing the sights in Dublin and its surrounding areas is a pleasant way to pass the time -- and don't forget that you'll be meeting other University students, as well as other international students. You definitely will not be alone in a city of a million and a half people.
Once in Dublin, you will most likely live with a host family, and you will attend classes in the city at the School of International Training, which is based in Vermont and has satellite schools all over the globe (wherever its study-abroad programs reach). Your day's schedule of classes will most likely be comparable in length to a workday, and your commute into the city will be at least an hour each way and typically during rush hour -- so you will experience daily life in the same way as other students and employees do in Dublin.
Despite how the system of classes and their respective workload are the same in Dublin as they are here at W&J, you are still doing what you would be doing here -- in Washington, Pennsylvania -- in an entirely different country. Don't forget to look around and take in the culture, because you will have plenty of opportunities to do so. Your trip to Dublin will take you from the traditional college campus setting and open the 'campus' to include the entire country! Also, there is absolutely no need to feel like your classes in Dublin are as boring as they are here: you may never be in the same classroom for more than two weeks out of your entire trip (guest lecturers and in-depth studies of current events will take you all over the place!), which should help to alleviate any dullness, as well as allow you to see different parts of the city.
Plan your sight-seeing around homework, and take baby steps until you're acquainted with your new territory!
...And the classes, how bad are they?
One very important part of the study-abroad trip to Ireland is the SIT Program: it stands for School of International Training, and it serves as the theme/curriculum for the Ireland trip. The theme for the Dublin, Ireland SIT program is Ireland: Peace and Conflict Studies, and it examines very closely the changes made within Ireland due to its internal political conflicts between Northern Ireland and the southern Republic. Students are not taught 'lectures' by a set professor, but instead hear from the 'movers and shakers' involved in Ireland's political scene. As a student in the Peace and Conflict Studies program, your schedule for the semester is based upon this theme, and your 'capstone'-type of class takes the form of an independent study that you design and carry out yourself.
This project is entirely done on the student's own time, and is based upon the student's contact interview and research. Once decided upon a subject and thesis, a student picks an Advisor, and searches for contacts in Ireland to interview and research to support the thesis. Students are urged to keep their W&J Advisors up-to-date with their progress with the SIT program, especially with their projects, to ensure that credits earned abroad will apply to their majors when they return to the states.
And don't worry - classes are NOT that bad!
From Dub-Jay to Dublin
-- quoted from Chris Walker, class of 2009, spending Spring 2007 in Dublin, Ireland
I think I had this notion of going abroad before I even left for my freshman year of college. I have always wanted to travel outside western Pennsylvania - I think the world has much more to offer. There have been many people who have helped me to jump at this chance, and I am really grateful that they have been so willing to help. But if I had to guess my exact motivation, it would be self-interest. I want to travel to places which some people could only dream of seeing. I want to be a person who can say that they have been to the four corners of the Earth.
I think the biggest shock for me was finding out that as prepared as you expect you are (for what might be your most challenging and life-changing experience you'll have), there is no way to ready yourself mentally, emotionally, or even physically. I didn't think this trip would change who I am as a person, but really what it did was to help define who I am, where I come from, and I realize all the things about my life that I might have taken for granted before. I did not expect that to happen at all.
I think I have moved beyond the tourist stage. The other day I was extremely annoyed by a group of "tourists" as I was trying to walk to a class. They were ahead of me by twenty feet, stopping and taking pictures, causing an entire back-up of people. This was frustrating for me and it tells me that I have, in a sense, become sort of a native. But there are still some things that make me feel like a tourist, like when I see something new and I automatically take a camera out and start shooting. I guess in a sense I've become a crossbreed between tourist and native.
Want To Go To Dublin?
Once you've decided to study-abroad in Dublin, get moving. It involves a lot of planning and takes a good bit of time, so prepare at least two semesters before your trip is set.
Contact Viet Ha at the Study-Abroad Department and he will give you the information you need to plan a semester away from W&J. Remember that studying abroad is a BIG DEAL so be prepared to put some time and effort into the preliminary 'homework' that goes into planning your trip.
Don't forget the time line and deadlines for your paperwork and other stuff...if those lapse, you may miss the boat to your far-off destination!