5.22.12 Back to Ireland: A Twice in a Lifetime Experience

Here I go again…study abroad two years in a row and to Ireland no less! When I first heard about this trip last fall, I knew I had to do it despite the fact that I had done a three week study abroad trip last summer. As a student, I feel that it is important to learn not only in the classroom or on campus, but also through experiencing another culture in order to have an understanding of how other people in different countries and cultures live.
As someone who has traveled to Ireland before, I have an idea of what I will be seeing and experiencing, but because this time I will be staying in the same town for a week, I feel that I will become more connected to the land and the people since I will be seeing the same places everyday and not just staying for a day or two.

Me In Ireland Last Year (Photo Credit: Dr. Erin Sadlack/Marywood Uni.)

Even though I see this as a wonderful and enriching experience, I am also a little nervous because one of the requirements for my Journalism class involves getting to know the residents not just for a fun, personal connection, but to find someone to do a Human Interest Profile. While I enjoy talking and getting to know people, getting to know someone and asking them if you could do a story on them is stepping way out of my comfort zone.
I mean, how would I feel if a perfect (or near perfect stranger) asked me if they could do a story about my life? I am naturally a shy person, and I don’t know if I can say that my life is/has been so extraordinary that it is worth doing a story on to be published in a newspaper. However daunting this task may seem to me now, I do hope – and know that I will accomplish it and do it well.
Here is the verse of Scripture I am adopting for my assignments: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 (New King James Version).
Even though these tasks are doable and are minor in comparison to what other people face on a daily basis, thinking about my trepidation at what is ahead of me makes me think of Christy Brown in My Left Foot. When I think of his numerous challenges — being the 10th of 22 children born to a struggling, working class family and having cerebral palsy, and yet still managing to be a successful person makes me realize even more that I can and I will do this!
Thinking of Brown’s story also reminds me of all the great stories I have learned thus far about the Irish experience through such films as Michael Collins, The Wind That Shakes the Barley, Hunger, and Five Minutes of Heaven. These and other films demonstrate just how strong and resilient the Irish are. They have overcome 800 years of British oppression, the Famine, Civil War, and the Troubles. Knowing all this, I am confident that whichever person I find for my Profile will have a story just as moving as any told in a book or movie.

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