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September 2008 - Irish Life Experience

When strangers became friends

My trip to Ireland was an amazing experience that provided me with many memories I will cherish for the rest of my life. It opened my eyes not only to the richness of Irish culture, but also to the vastness of my own country. I became close friends with people from places like Canada, Washington, and California, as well as New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania. I still keep in touch with these friends and we have had several reunions since our time in Ireland. Though we were only together there for a month, we shared experiences that bound us together forever.

I learned and saw so much throughout the trip that it is hard to pinpoint a favorite excursion, lesson, or activity. We would spend one day playing “Simon Says” in Irish and the next trekking across the
Giant’s Causeway or signing the peace wall in Belfast. We became expert scone bakers and set dancers, connoisseurs of Irish poetry, and masters of Dublin’s public transportation system. When we weren’t in the classroom studying the conflict in Northern Ireland or the War of Independence, we were in our drama groups planning skits on the lives of famous Irish personas like Michael Collins, St. Patrick, and Finn McCool.

What truly made my experience in Ireland a special one, however, were the trip leaders. When I arrived at the airport I was greeted by Taryn, who already knew the names of every group member and made us all feel so comfortable and welcome. Both Taryn and Angie did an amazing job of exposing us to different aspects of Irish culture and fostering within us a love of Ireland as great as their own.

– Laura Travers, Eastchester, NY – Student, 2006