Location of Study: Gleann Cholm Cille, County Donegal, Ireland
Program of Study: Oideas Gael
Sponsors: The Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies, the College of Arts and Letters, and the Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures
A brief personal bio:
Why this summer language abroad opportunity is important to me:
Since I started learning Irish rather late compared to French and Spanish, it is important to me to gain as much fluency in the language as possible before I graduate. I applied to study with the Oideas Gael program in Donegal because I have heard that it places a particularly strong emphasis on developing students’ speaking abilities. As a language enthusiast, I have learned that my most significant struggle in mastering a new language is speaking. Therefore, the experience of living in an environment where Irish is used as a daily vernacular will be invaluable to my language studies. I hope to work with literature and translation in some capacity after I graduate, perhaps in academia or in publishing, and so studying Irish this summer will help me reach that goal.
What I hope to achieve as a result of this summer study abroad experience:
Above all, I hope to increase my comfort with communicating verbally in the Irish language. I often feel nervous about speaking Irish with others since I am still a relative beginner, so I plan to really push myself this summer to speak the language until it becomes more natural to me. In my experience, plunging right into activities that seem difficult at first is the best way to master a new skill! I also hope to learn more about the Donegal Gaeltacht culture from first-hand experience. I have dreamt of speaking Irish ever since I first attempted to do so by studying Irish online as a high schooler, and I have loved learning about the language and culture more intensively in a classroom setting at Notre Dame. I hope to experience the language in its “real-world” context now that I have spent so much time studying it in the classroom.
My specific learning goals for language and intercultural learning this summer:
1. By the end of the summer, I will be able to communicate with Irish speakers in everyday, practical situations, without pausing for long amounts of time to translate from English in my head.
2. By the end of the summer, I will be able to understand more than half of what is said on the Irish-language channel TG4.
3. By the end of the summer, I will have learned a significant amount about the culture of the Donegal Gaeltacht and pushed myself to participate in this culture using the language.
4. By the end of the summer, I will have read my first book in the Irish language.