Assistant News Editor
Whoever knows me that did not go to Dingle with me is probably rolling their eyes at this editorial. I feel like I am a broken record, because I honestly don’t know if I have gone a day without talking about how I studied abroad in Dingle, Ireland last semester and had the time of my life. So, what else would I write about for an editorial?
Ever since I was in middle school or early high school, I had always known that I eventually wanted to study abroad some day. It was at the top of my college bucket list. I decided to do so with the SHU in Dingle program for two reasons. First, I am of Irish heritage and had never been over to Ireland before last semester. I liked the fact that I had the opportunity to study abroad and experience the land and culture of my ancestors. Second, I also liked the fact that with SHU in Dingle, I was still a Sacred Heart student at a Sacred Heart campus, so I did not have to worry about applying to a different university or making sure my credits would transfer over. I was living and taking classes with fellow pioneers who have now become some of my best friends that I am still able to see and hang out with now that we are all back at school in Fairfield.
My academic and extra curricular experience in Dingle was one of a kind and something I would not have gotten in here in Connecticut. As a Communications and Media Arts student, I interned with my professor who is an Irish filmmaker. We were able to help him film for either new documentaries, advertisements for local small businesses, and we even got to help with the post production of Other Voices, which is a famous music festival that takes place every year in Dingle and is later aired on TV (Amy Winehouse performed at it once). With this same professor, I also took a class called “Introduction to Field Production.” In this class, we got to travel all around Dingle and county Kerry. For one class, we spent class time on the beach and learned how to use a drone. For my work study, I helped a tourism office develop and edit the content for their new website. Through these opportunities, I was able to meet so many interesting people and listen to their stories. I also got to see and explore so much more than beyond a college campus. I feel like I learned so much. This is just what I was in. Some of the other classes only offered in Dingle include: Surfing and Sailing, Oceanography (which takes place in the aquarium), and Irish Folklore. All of these classes are so hands on, unique and intriguing, and count for Sacred Heart credit.
Since Sacred Heart designs the curriculum and program, weekends trips to Galway and London are included in the program. Then, throughout the entire semester, many activities unique to Dingle such as horseback riding, Irish set dancing, holding baby lambs, and many other fun ones are all scheduled and provided by the school. I have not heard of many other study abroad programs that do this for their students. On my own, I got to do a lot of traveling as well. During Spring Break, my friends and I traveled to 4 different countries in Europe in a week.
Dingle is such a unique and special place. It is a beautiful small town and peninsula located on the south west coast of Ireland. Every day, I would find another gorgeous view or hidden gem. There is always so much to see and do. It was very hard to be bored. Also, the Irish do not lie, they truly experience all four seasons in one day. It can go from pure sunshine to hailing rain in a matter of minutes.
The people I met in Dingle are some of the most friendly, outgoing, and genuine people I have ever met. They genuinely wanted to get to know us. They truly welcomed us and made us feel at home. So, not only did I get to make a lot of new Sacred Heart friends, I got to form some great relationships and friendships with the local people in Dingle as well. Actually, I got very close to one of the of the girls who worked in the ice cream shop, during my last three weeks we hung out basically every day. On my last night, she gave me a jean jacket I always complimented her on to keep and remember her by (Hi Ciarda if you ever happen to read this). She was just one of the many people in Dingle that made my experience so special.
Because of the one of a kind experiences and memories I made, and the people I met, I truly had the time of my life during my semester in Dingle. It is a time I will never forget and I would do it all over again in a heart beat if I could. So, to my fellow Sacred Heart students reading this, you should consider it. Whether you’re like me and have always wanted to study abroad or had never even thought of it before, I would recommend this program to anyone. I can guarantee you that you will have the most amazing semester or two weeks, and over all experience of your life.