|Study Abroad in Ireland and Northern Ireland|
Twelve UST students with a keen interest in the political, cultural and historical dynamics that have shaped modern Ireland took part in the 2011 William J. Flynn Center for Irish Studies study abroad program. Beginning with two weeks of intensive classes in Houston, this year’s study abroad program focused on all aspects of modern Ireland, both south and north of the border. In Northern Ireland, the students met with and interviewed more than 50 people involved in building peace.
“Our strong relations with the Irish and Northern Irish Governments and our many Northern Ireland faith-based mentors, such as Rev. Harold Good, former President of the Methodist Church of Ireland, opened many doors for our students to a world they had never witnessed before,” said Lori Gallagher, J.D., Director of the Center for Irish Studies. “They personally interviewed people from the highest officials in the Northern Ireland and Irish governments and cross-community grass-roots leaders making the journey of peace in the streets every day.”
Rachael Havranek, an MLA student concentrating in Irish Studies, said it was a whirlwind three and a half weeks. “We met with governmental officials, religious leaders of all faiths and other people engaged in the Northern Ireland Peace Process, as well as traveled to places such as the Aran Islands and sites throughout Dublin, Belfast and Galway,” Havranek said. “I came away with experiences that have made me look at my life differently. I learned the value of not giving up on personal relationships, the necessity of dialogue and the benefit of seeking reconciliation.”
The William J. Flynn Center for Irish Studies study abroad program imbues the students with an enlightened understanding of the effort and give-and-take involved in the pursuit of peace. This global outlook will serve the students well as they build their careers and contribute to the society in which they live.