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IES Abroad Dublin Study Abroad Programs
Mindy Shull is from Fort Wayne, IN and went to school at Purdue University. She was a double major in Anthropology and Law & Society with a minor in Forensic Science. She also received a DiversiKey certificate through her participation in diversity awareness programs on Purdue's campus. Mindy also loves to travel, and even became a Study Abroad Ambassador for both IES Abroad and Purdue University so that she could promote the study abroad experience.
When: Spring of 2011
Highlights: As stereotypical as it sounds, the best part about my study abroad trip was meeting some of the greatest people in the world. I made some lifelong friends through this program, and my time abroad would not have been the same without them. I also got to work with some of the most amazing Irish people during my time at the Abbey Theatre archives. I feel like I got so much more out of the cultural experience through my internship, and it is something I will never forget!
I also loved all of the trips I got to take. Traveling was so easy there, and groups of us were able to go on some amazing weekend trips. The IES-sponsored trips were absolutely amazing! We got to see so much, and it was nice not to have to plan it ourselves. Plus, the Dublin staff were so fun to travel with! You cannot go wrong studying with IES Dublin! It was the best semester of my life, and I miss it every single day.
Morning: During my semester abroad, I took classes at the IES-Dublin Centre and participated in an internship. On Monday and Thursday mornings, I would walk to the IES Centre for classes. I had 3 on Monday and 2 on Thursday, so I would be in class most of the day. Because classes only met once a week, each one was about 2 hours long. We would get breaks for food which would let us get out of the building for a little bit. The teachers were all amazing, and the classes were pretty fun! The professors incorporated a lot of walking tours, field trips, and cultural activities into the semester, so that made learning much more hands-on and interactive.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I went to work at the Abbey Theatre archives. I absolutely loved every minute of my internship because I got to work directly with the local Irish people, who are the friendliest folks I have ever met! I felt like I learned so much during those 2 days each week, and I couldn't wait to go into work.
Afternoon: My afternoons consisted of classes or the rest of the work day. After that, I would take my time walking home through the city. Often, I would meet a friend to do some shopping, exploring, or food. I would often run errands on the way home (i.e. grocery shopping). Because we had very tiny refrigerators, we had to buy groceries quite frequently. Usually, the afternoon was just spent getting things done before going out for the night.
One of my favorite parts about studying abroad was that we never had classes on Fridays, so we always had an extended weekend to travel and explore. We got to see so many places because we had extra time. Fridays and weekends were always fun for the group to get together!
Evening: In the evenings, we would often make dinner at the apartment while finishing up any homework we had for the next few days or Skyping with friends/family. Then, we would usually meet up with other people from the program at a local pub to enjoy a pint, live music, and some conversation. Some nights we stayed out later to enjoy Irish nightlife. However, some of the most memorable moments were the nights we watched the SuperBowl with the locals and the night we sang karaoke with a bunch of Scottish men in kilts. There was never a dull evening in Ireland.
Rich Venezia is from Hillsborough, NJ, and studied Acting at Point Park University in Pittsburgh. He is amidst a worldwide adventure, and is currently living back in Dublin and working as Assistant Box Office Manager at Smock Alley Theatre, which now houses The Gaiety School of Acting (where he studied abroad).
When: Fall of 2010
Highlights: The highlight of my trip was everything - honestly. It was the best 4 months of my life - I met amazing people, trained hard, took trips to places I'd only dreamed about ever going to, and enjoyed every minute. If I had to choose a "highlight," it would probably be Paris, as I completely fell in love with The City of Light. That said, I am hesitant to pick a favorite, because every experience was different and each place and experience had their own uniqueness and wonder associated. Dublin is a brilliant city, and I wouldn't have changed my experience for the world. In fact, I loved it so much that I am back living here for a year, and couldn't be happier. Studying abroad completely changed my life, and I would recommend it to anyone.
Morning: The Gaiety School course started quite early in the morning, so I was generally up between 6:30 and 7:30 daily. We started the day with a warm-up, and often went right into Acting or Voice class. We were in class until our lunch break. Besides Acting and Voice, other morning classes (depending on the day/week) included Mime, Singing, or Movement. My favorite of these was probably Singing, but they were all great (and challenging) classes. Oftentimes, the acting class would be 3 hours with no break - it seemed dreadful at the time, but looking back, I learned so much from that particular class and teacher.
Afternoon: After our lunch break (often only about 1/2 hour), we would continue on with classes for the day. Afternoon classes included Voice, Acting, Dance, Stagecraft, Text Analysis, Stage Combat, and Theatre History. I really enjoyed the academic-based classes in Theatre History and Text Analysis, as I've always been interested in the dramaturgical side of theatre. But it was also great to get on your feet after a bit of this for some stage combat and dance.
Evening: Generally, evenings were spent doing homework. We were required to keep a journal for each class, and often there would be scenes/monologues to work on and memorize, plays to read, songs to learn, etc. Of course, living in Dublin, we'd go for a pint every so often, but generally weekdays were reserved for work (at least for the study nerds like me). The weekends gave us a chance to go out and let off some steam, which we did quite often. I also used the weekends to travel a bit, as well.
GO: Why did you decide to study abroad with IES Abroad at Dublin City University?
Sarah: Well I wasn't sure at first that this was the program I wanted to do, I was considering going to Rome because my school has a campus there. But my good friend wanted to go to Ireland and had researched the IES program and told me about it. I took interest in the program because I had done Irish dancing for a long time when I was younger and had always wanted to travel to Ireland. I ultimately decided to go there because I had a lot of anxiety about going abroad and decided that going to an English speaking country where one of my friends was going would be better for me. I didn't really know what to expect, it wasn't until I got there that I really came to love it.
GO: What made this study abroad experience unique and special?
Sarah: What really made my experience special were the good friends I made. I became really close with every person in the IES program at DCU. I would now consider every single one of them one of my closest friends. There were about 11 of us and we all just clicked so well together in a way that I have not experienced before. I don't know if it was the bonding experience of being abroad together or that we were all just really compatible but those friendships were what really enhanced my time abroad. I also got pretty close with some of the IES staff even though we were not at the IES center with them. They would come to DCU a couple times a month for lunch and coffee and talk to us about our adventures traveling and give us advice on places to go and how to travel and such. So I guess the best thing about my experience was getting to know new people and feeling so at home with them in a new place.
GO: How has this experience impacted your future?
Sarah: Academically, my experience has sparked interest in new topics of study. As a history major, I have concentrated more of my classes on studying Irish and English history since returning which was an interest I acquired abroad. I have also become more active with international organizations on campus because of the many good friends I made from various countries while abroad. I would definitely be more open to living abroad at some point in the future than I would have been before. I feel that my experience traveling to new places where I didn't know where I was going or didn't speak the language made me more independent and more able to handle difficult situations which are, in general, good skills to have for the future.
About IES Abroad
Their Roots: IES Abroad was co-founded by Paul Koutny, an Austrian student who had moved to the US on a Fulbright scholarship in 1950. While there, he envisioned a future built on a peace that grew from the lessons learned while studying abroad. He rallied 21 other friends and the crew hopped on the SS Volendam headed for a year of studies in Vienna. Feeling inspired by their own experience in Austria, IES Abroad alums Clarence and Alberta Giese immediately began helping send future groups of students abroad. Before they knew it, 60 years had passed, and IES Abroad remains a longstanding and exemplary study abroad option for students today.
Their Quest: "IES Abroad strives to provide premier study abroad programs for U.S. students that deliver the highest quality education while simultaneously promoting development of intercultural competence."