Not everyone has the privilege of traveling to another country, but those who do always say that the experience changes them. As someone who never thought she'd go abroad, I can attest to the fact that it truly does transform you.
When Professor Michael Streissguth first proposed a class centered on the Irish lifestyle that would culminate with a trip to Ireland, I almost cried. For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved anything and everything Irish and I have dreamed of traveling there. Suddenly a Le Moyne professor was making that dream a reality. Naturally, I jumped at the opportunity.
When most Americans think of Ireland, they picture a lush, idyllic countryside. They envision green pastures, quainte homes and cheerful faces. This was certainly my view of Ireland - and it was that picture that drew me to Ireland.
In the weeks leading up to our trip, I started to worry. What if Ireland wasn’t what I thought it was? Then we got there. It wasn’t what I was expecting. It was a million times better.
I walked through the idyllic countryside in Doolin and spent a few hours at what I am now convinced is the most breathtaking place in the world, the Cliffs of Moher. It all lived up to my expectations, yet I found even more fulfillment in the culture of Dublin. The Irish capital is full of street art, live music and food. It wasn't what I expected, but it was exactly what I needed.
In Ireland, I gained a sense of responsibility that being a phone call away from home doesn’t give you. I gained a view of the outside world that books and movies will never completely capture. And I gained a greater sense of what I wanted to do after graduation. These are all things that I would never have experienced without the help of the faculty and staff at Le Moyne who work to make sure we have programs and opportunities of this nature.
By: Brooke Merrifield '17, a communication major from Syracuse, N.Y. Merrifield's trip to Ireland was funded in part by The O’Leary International Travel Grants Program, which provides financial awards of up to $2,000 to help offset travel costs for students in Le Moyne’s College of Arts and Sciences participating in study abroad programs. This grant program is administered by the Office of the Dean of Arts and Sciences and funded by a gift from the estate of Dr. Harriet L. O’Leary, professor emerita of Foreign Languages and Literatures.