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Helpful Advice from 2013 Alumna, Kate Lanagan!

KateHey 2014 ILE’ers!

My name is Kate Lanagan from Chicago, Illinois and I went on the Irish Life Experience last summer. I just wanted to give you a few recommendations, before you leave in a few weeks.

I think the most important thing is to keep an open mind and to not be too nervous! Traveling to a different country with a bunch of strangers is an intimidating idea at first, but keep in mind that everyone else is going through the same thing, too. You’ll all be walking away with some of the best experiences of your life and 30 (Or however many) new best friends. So don’t be nervous—be excited! Always jump on opportunities to try new things. Sleep when you get back to your room at night; try to keep your eyes open on bus rides to take it all in regardless of how tired you may be. Take a ton of pictures. You’ll be so thankful that you have them later on! Be sure to pack a rain jacket and rain boots—you will need them more often than you think! I was thankful that I packed a watch, too, to keep track of time when I didn’t feel like carrying my phone on me. Being punctual helps everything run more smoothly.

Have fun on the greatest trip of your life!! I can’t wait to see photos when you guys come back:).

Introducing PK Creedon-Your 2014 Male Counselor

PK is ECSTATIC to join the ILE Team this summer! He was born just south of Chicago into a family of five. With family names from Patrick Kevin to Erin Kathleen and Sean Michael-it’s safe to say he was blessed with a true South Side Irish family! After picking up German in 2008, he traveled with his class to Germany and surrounding countries where he had been officially bit by the travel bug. In the summer of 2010 he received the Irish Society County of Will Scholarship (The IASCW is one of the ILE’s amazing partners.) that allowed him to travel with the Irish Life Experience.

After deciding to study International Business and Marketing at the University of Tampa, he quickly headed back overseas and studied abroad in London, England his first semester of college-backpacking across Europe on his breaks and weekends.

After returning back to Tampa, he was elected Student Body President and received an internship turned job opportunity with the United Way NFL Partnership. As the Project Manager of the Partnership, he’s traveled to various NFL markets around the country working closely with players, their publicists and local United Ways in an effort to leverage the players’ celebrity endorsement to increase community volunteerism. This May, he will continue his travels to South America as he volunteers at an orphanage in Peru to work with young girls struggling with self confidence in a society with a male dominant influence.

While in Ireland, PK met one of his best friends who changed his life forever. Hannah and him made a promise to apply to be counselors for the program and reunite back overseas after college. This past Thanksgiving, Hannah passed away in a terrible car accident. He could not think of anything more beautiful than to accept the position and live for two this time around!

Introducing Brigid Lundy-Your 2014 Irish Studies Teacher

Hi 2014 ILE’ers,

My name is Brigid Lundy, and I’m originally from New Jersey but residing in Boston. I have been a long-time fan of international travel & intercultural communication. My father is from Belfast, and my maternal grandfather was from County Kerry. At the ripe age of 12, my parents took me on a six-week journey around Ireland, England, Scotland, and Wales. Later I traveled to Ireland when I was 16-years-old on the Irish Life Experience, thereby meeting Taryn Harrison. This life-changing, overseas experience sparked a friendship with Taryn that has flourished immensely over a period of 20 years. As an undergraduate student at NYU, I once again studied in Ireland during a summer, this time at Trinity College Dublin. At 22, I embarked on a one-month hiking adventure to Thailand, staying with a hill tribe along the Burmese border. I also resided in County Derry in 2009. I have explored other countries such as Germany, Holland, France, Poland, Spain, Mexico, and Greece. During a visit to Turkey in 2010, I completed the İstanbul Marathon with Taryn, and in 2012 I conquered the Vancouver Marathon in British Columbia. I’m looking forward to exploring a lot more of the world. I teach English as a Second Language to adults, mostly from Asia, South America, and the Middle East. My favorite part of my job is learning about the customs of my students and being able to share their ideologies with my family and friends in order to promote cross-cultural understanding.

I’m so excited to meet all of you this summer! Let the countdown begin.