Study Abroad Experience in Ireland

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When I studied at Sacred Heart University as a marketing major, one of my goals before I graduated was to experience studying abroad in another country. The business program, John F. Welch College Of Business, only offered business classes to these countries: Rome, Luxembourg, and Ireland.

sophomore and Junior year, my classes were really tough and I wanted to focus on getting good grades and making sure I had enough credits. My cousin who went to the same University, traveled to Ireland during the summer program and loved her experience. One of my friends at Sacred Heart was in the same summer program as my cousin was, and I asked her if she wanted to come with me to do the two-week SHU in Dingle Winter program. My senior year first semester, was the year I was going to study abroad with one of my good friends!! 🙂

The program was from December 27th-January 10th. Since we were going in December, the weather in Dingle was rainy and very cold due to the climate change. I made sure I packed my warm down coat and a bunch of cozy chic outfits.

When we arrived to Dingle, it was about 6am so everyone was pretty tired yet so excited to see everything. There was about 20 students and we had a really cool tour guide, a Dingle native and he gave us insight on where to eat, what to do, etc! That first day when we arrived, we got a quick tour around town and the rest were meeting everyone in the group and doing fun activities!

About Dingle: “Dingle is a place with welcoming locals and many hospitable places in which to meet them. Here you will find tremendous learning resources, magnificent relics, ruins and holy places, easy access to other areas of the country and Europe, immersive activities and opportunities to try something new, and a vast, living record of folklore, celebrations, history and authentic music and dance.”

The class that I chose for the two-week program was “Tourism & Marketing”. I’m so glad I actually chose this class because we focused on Strand House, one of Dingle’s posh retail store & cafe. Our project was to brainstorm and create a Powerpoint on how to promote the cafe. Everyone was shopping there but somehow the cafe wasn’t too popular. A cute older couple owned the shop and they had a lot on their hands so this project would be very helpful for them. After shopping and eating at Strand House, some of the things we came up as a group were:

1. Adding a sign outside the store featuring daily food specials

2. Hiring an intern to update the site, adding images, promoting shop and cafe

3. Use social media sites to post recent photos of the store, post clothing images on model, and of eating as well!

During the two-week program, we had a two-hour class every morning, we went on some fun field trips, and there was a lot of walking for sure! The townhouses we were staying at, everything was pretty much walking distance so we literally walked everywhere.

Some of the activities that I enjoyed were:

1. Visiting Town Of Killarney for a Day Of Shopping. Killarney is more city like.

2. Hiked to the top of the mountains where there were tons of lambs. (loved it)

3. Visited Dingle brewery

4. Spent New Years in Dingle, it was crazy! There was a parade on the streets and live music. The fireworks were amazing to watch.

5. Saw an Irish Tap Dancing Show

6.  Went on a boat and met Fungi, the dolphin

7. Enjoyed the beautiful Muckross House & Gardens

8. Went to a very fancy dinner at a hotel and they served us some hot spiked cider, so delicious!

Some of the things I really liked:

1. Tipping was not necessary in Ireland. People who work at Ireland are paid hourly not by tips. (this is something I didn’t know before.)

2. People are SO friendly! I had met random people at pubs and asked to hang out with them and they loved that I was from New York haha!

3. The town is very safe to walk around late at night, the crime rate is VERY low and it’s just a cute safe little town.

4. Their boutique shops are super darn cute!

5. Their Bailey’s ice cream has liquor in it :p

6. They have a place called the DINER, where they literally serve everything from burgers to pizza, and pancakes, and oh my god their food is delicious. I literally ate here almost everyday.

7. Their scones are to die for!

During our last day, we presented our ideas to the owners of Strand House, and they took everything into consideration and really liked what we came up with.

Why Study Abroad?

Up to this day, I am so happy that I took the chance to study abroad my last year of college. I went to Ireland not knowing anything about the country, and now I have learned so much from it! Without even picking up a book to read about the country, I just went to local pubs and restaurants and learned about their cultural lifestyle. Dingle is such a beautiful town, the people are super friendly, it is super safe, and overall I had an amazing experience.

If you ever visit Dingle, I hope this post comes in handy, or feel free to message me as well!

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