Spin-the-wheel sponsored a summer spent in Ireland
Letter from the editor:
After having an extremely eventful summer filled with many opportunities to travel abroad and away, I wanted to share my experiences with my peers and people in my community, and I thought what better way than through a series of articles.
As this semester begins, I would like to release a weekly series of columns from EKU students who have had the opportunity to study abroad or travel this summer through the school.
If any students have traveled this summer and would like to share their experiences, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I never knew how much I didn’t know about the world until I recently traveled to Ireland with the Cooperative Center for Study Abroad (CCSA).
Before, every time I have gone anywhere, it has been in the country or to Mexico, Canada or to close places like Puerto Rico. Which, despite the cultural differences, are still very close to home and involved in American affairs. Going to Europe was a completely different experience for me.
Ireland is a beautiful country that in many ways reminded me of Kentucky, from the rolling hills to the abundance of livestock, the vibrant green of the mountainous landscape and the endless amount of historic castle and cathedral ruins really sets this breathtaking place apart. As the poet W.B. Yeats famously said, “To leave here is to leave beauty behind.”
The trip consisted of 46 students and faculty mostly from schools in Kentucky and Tennessee, all working and traveling together in four separate classes; agriculture, healthcare, literature and digital storytelling.
I took part in an Irish literature class taught by EKU professor, Bill Mullen, through CCSA. In the class, we studied works from several famous authors that grew up in Ireland.
We toured around the Irish countryside, from the cities of Dublin and Galway to Belfast and Derry in the north. In each place, my class would examine the impact of works of literature in the area or of the writers themselves.
With this class, I was able to finish up my English minor and work towards my ultimate goal of graduating from Eastern Kentucky University in the spring. I am very thankful to have received the Spin-the-Wheel Scholarship from EKU, which fully- funded my class and trip expenses and without which I would not have been able to afford this educational endeavor.
Through this trip, I had the opportunity not only to learn about literature, but also delve into the history and current political issues facing the Republic of Ireland and the country of Northern Ireland; which is a separate entity and is part of the United Kingdom.
I saw first-hand the history of a nation that fought for independence and the uneasiness that still exists between Ireland and the UK today.
My main takeaway from this trip was that, as a part of the major world- power that is America, we have an astronomical effect on the rest of the world. However, many Americans, myself included, are woefully uneducated about what is going on in other countries.
That is why I believe it is so important to travel and have these experiences outside of the USA, and why I am so grateful to have had the opportunity.