Name: Michaela Larson
Location of Study: Donegal, Ireland
Program of Study: Gleann Cholm Cille
Sponsors: Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures and Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies
A brief personal bio:
My name is Michaela Larson and I am a rising Junior. I am from Upland, California and have grown up very interested in the Irish culture. I have been Irish Dancing since the first grade and have continued to do so here on campus with the ND/SMC Irish Dance team. I am a History major and an Irish Language and Literature minor. I began learning Irish this past year and absolutely love the language. I have six younger siblings and I hope I will be able to convince them all to learn Irish too!
Why this summer language abroad opportunity is important to me:
The SLA grant has awarded me an incredible opportunity, and as an Irish Language and Literature minor, this program is very important to me and my academic career. It is my hope that my skills will advance enough to help me give back to the program at Notre Dame and my peers. Studying in Gleann Cholm Cille will substantially benefit my History major, as I am planning on studying Irish history as my concentration. I believe that there is no way of fully understanding a people without spending at least some time in their presence, hearing their stories and history, and studying the Irish language in Ireland would provide an invaluable perspective. In less than a year’s time, Irish has become a very important part of my life and I am incredibly excited to practice the language with the local people in Ireland.
What I hope to achieve as a result of this summer study abroad experience:
By the end of the summer, I hope to have greatly improved my listening and speaking skills in Irish. I want to be able to converse with the local people in Ireland, and others learning Irish here at Notre Dame, with a better grasp on pronunciation and be able to speak without having to translate all of my thoughts from English to Irish. I am excited to live among Irish speakers and be able to communicate in Irish as much as possible, as this will be a very unique experience. I hope that by communicating regularly in Irish I will improve my conversational skills and be able to discuss topics we come across in our every-day conversations.
My specific learning goals for language and intercultural learning this summer:
- At the end of the summer, I will be able to speak with others in Irish about daily topics with ease.
- At the end of the summer, I will be able to understand conversations about various topics about Ireland and the Gaeltacht.
- At the end of the summer, I will be able to read and understand more texts in Irish.
- At the end of the summer, I will be able to recall and use more vocabulary in Irish in my conversations.
My plan for maximizing my international language learning experience:
It is my personal goal to converse in Irish as much as possible during my time in the Gaeltacht and truly immerse myself in the Irish culture. I want to participate in as many of the community and program events as possible and do my best to only communicate in Irish at the events. I also intend to keep a journal during my time in the Gaeltacht and hope to make some of my entries in Irish to keep myself focused on using the language in every aspect of my day. I am very excited to meet new people, explore the surrounding areas, and be as involved in the community and cultural events as much as I can!