My 16th summer was the summer that changed my life. That was because, It was the summer that I fell in love,not with a person, but with my culture and my heritage. It was the summer that I spent a month in Ireland with some of the greatest teachers, and the greatest people I have ever met.
Through this summer study abroad program, I not only learned about the history of my culture, or about the literature, but also about the people and how they live. I was lucky enough to experience the mythical sites that I had only ever read about in books, or heard about in stories from my grandmother.
One of the things that made my time in Ireland so valuable, were the counselors and the teachers that made me eager to learn, as well as explore the quaint cities we were situated in. Taryn and Vinnie encouraged us to try new things and to learn as much as we could, while Angie thrust us into Irish culture with her sharp wit and lilting brogue that brought the stories of Ireland’s writers to life for us.
This unique study abroad program not only helped to grow in knowledge but as a person as well. I learned to be an adult, because I was treated like one. I lived with many other young adults, and at certain times during the trip, I was responsible for shopping for and cooking my own food, on a budget that had been given to us. When the time came to leave Ireland, I was crying because the time had gone way too quickly.
My time in Ireland not only instilled in me a love of my culture and the country of my ancestors but a thirst to continue seeking knowledge about Ireland and her people. This program also provided me with some of the best friends I have ever known. Although our homes span hundreds even thousands of miles, we have never let the distance stop us from staying involved in each others lives. I not only keep in touch with the students but with my teachers and counselors as well. They have remained mentors to me, long after the trip was over. I will never forget that summer, and I will always cherish it, as one of the most important experiences in my young adult life.
– Maureen McNulty, New York – Student, 2007
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