Location of Study: Glenn Cholm Cille, County Donegal, Ireland
Program of Study: Oideas Gael
Sponsors: Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies, the College of Arts and Letters, the Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures
A brief personal bio:
I am a junior from Centennial, Colorado, studying English, Irish Literature and Language, and Gender Studies. I love playing the piano and spending time with my family, and while at school, I have enjoyed playing recreational basketball and volleyball for my dorm. Next year I will be an RA in Badin Hall, as well as the president of ND Students Against Gun Violence. I can’t wait to spend the summer in Ireland to refine my speaking and comprehension skills in Irish!
Why this summer language abroad opportunity is important to me:
In going to the Gaeltacht via the Oideas Gael program with money from the SLA award, I am hoping to truly round out my education of the Irish language so that I may come back to campus to take my final semester of the language and be able to succeed in all aspects of it. From the friends I have talked to that have previously attended this same program, Oideas Gael truly allows students to be fully surrounded by Irish in many settings, including but not limited to the classroom. Speaking Irish with the people you are living with, in social situations, and within cultural events provides a different, more ‘real-life,’ and more conversational learning of the language. I want to achieve this sense of the language so that I may really feel as though I can speak Irish to the people of Ireland and not sound as though I am reading out of a textbook. Though I don’t know if I will necessarily have a career in Irish, the lessons I gain from learning it (such as the value of hardwork, the necessity of bringing back dying languages, and the historical and cultural implications of language) can be used in any career I go into. I am also excited about experiencing the education system in a different country, as I am planning on becoming a teacher after graduation. I think having an educational experience outside of the U.S. will only broaden my understanding of what being a teacher means.
What I hope to achieve as a result of this summer study abroad experience:
Because I have widely improved in my reading and writing, the outside recreational activities conducted in Irish at Oideas Gael will help me improve my speaking and listening, and the in-class instruction will make sure that I maintain my proficiency in grammar and more technical aspects of the language. Similarly, Oideas Gael is open to Irish learners of all languages, meaning I will be surrounded by not only other college-aged students but older learners from different backgrounds. Having been surrounded by only other college-aged learners for the past two-and-a-half years, I feel that I will greatly benefit from surrounding myself with people who are at different levels of Irish and come from different learning backgrounds and different dialects. I know that I can learn so much from them even outside the classroom. Oideas Gael also allows students to change difficulty levels each week. I feel that this is a great opportunity because hopefully I will begin to feel more confident as the weeks go on and I will move up in difficulty. I also hope to gain a greater understanding of Irish culture throughout this experience; having been to Ireland once already, I know lots about the history of the land, but I have not had the chance to interact with the people as much. This will be an opportunity for me to really delve into the culture head-on, and gain a greater appreciation of it!
My specific learning goals for language and intercultural learning this summer:
1) By the end of summer, I will feel more confident in speaking to people in Irish; I will be able to respond, no matter how simply, to every question that someone asks me in the language.
2) By the end of summer, I will also feel more confident in listening to people in Irish; I will be able to understand most questions that people ask me, and if I do not understand, I will be able to ask them to repeat it or slow down.
3) By the end of summer, I will know the rules for forming the past, future, and conditional tenses of irregular verbs without looking at my textbook.
4) By the end of summer, I will have challenged my normally shy self and reached out to every person in my program, knowing at least everyone’s name and where they are from, and hopefully getting to know multiple people one a deeper level.