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Georgia Southern offers study abroad program in Ireland

On a recent trip to Ireland, Jane Hudak, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, and Howard Keeley, director of the Center for Irish Studies, opened doors for a study abroad program at the University of Limerick. Beginning this fall, Georgia Southern University students will be able to cross the Atlantic and take classes in what is often referred to as ‘Earth’s most global country.”

‘The University of Limerick is one of the newest universities in Ireland, formed by joining a teachers’ college and a technical school,” said Keeley. ‘Located on the campus of the 650-acre National Technology Park, it is home to the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, and it has an Olympic-grade sports complex. It’s an ideal location for study abroad, offering programs that interface well with offerings at Georgia Southern.”

Keeley did extensive research on higher education in Ireland before proposing a program with the University of Limerick.

‘My goal for the Center for Irish Studies is to develop a sustainable study abroad program that results in long-term relationships,” said Keeley. “The program will be a greater benefit to our students if they have a classroom and research experience that integrates well with their education at Georgia Southern. The University of Limerick offers that type of experience.”

Keeley emphasized the student-centeredness of the University of Limerick, a facet that mirrors Georgia Southern.

‘Students who study there will feel challenged, but comfortable in the environment,” Hudak noted. ‘Limerick is a regional university and somewhat rural, but it has excellent student accommodations. There’s transportation into the city of Limerick, and it’s close the Shannon International Airport. There’s also a high-speed train to Dublin and Cork.”

Because the University of Limerick follows the semester calendar, students can go there for a full semester of study, taking four courses and earning credits that will transfer to Georgia Southern. Students in the program can register here and use HOPE scholarship funds.

Keeley also noted the recent endowment of the Eddie Ivie Scholarship for Study in Ireland. The scholarship was created by family and friends to honor the memory a Savannah restaurateur, and concerts are held in Savannah and Statesboro each year to build the endowment and make funds available for Georgia Southern students to study in Ireland.

‘Learning from Irish faculty while living among Irish students offers a whole new perspective for students from the U.S.,” said Keeley. ‘They get a clearer picture of the European Union and a real understanding of how the U.S. is viewed in Europe.”

Hudak believes this trip and the exchange of students is just the launching point for growing ties between the Georgia Southern and Ireland.

‘Georgia not only shares a strong historical bond with the Irish,” said Hudak. ‘we share contemporary bonds as well. In the future we expect to strengthen those bonds through educational films, Web sites, and publications that will build on our relationship with Ireland. The study abroad program is a wonderful beginning.”

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