Reflections on Ireland Study Abroad Trip

Reflections from Ireland

            It has been a little over a week since I have returned from Ireland. I am very content with my experience. I don’t think there is anything else I would have wanted to do this summer. Overall, I have learned that I do not want to jump right into graduate school, I do not want to become an expert like the scholars at the Yeats Summer School, I do not want to be that deep of a critic as a profession, however, I have realized that I want to travel as much as possible, I want to learn as much as I can about culture through experience as opposed to just reading, I want to meet as many locals and travelers as possible all around the world, I have a passion for motion and I will not stop moving until I am burned out and have nothing left to do but settle down.

As far as studying Irish history and literature, specifically Yeats goes, I enjoyed the fact that everyone was so well informed, however, I could have done with all of the information being delivered through a whole semester instead of in just two weeks. It was a bit overwhelming and I honestly started to zone out and miss lots because it was all coming so quickly. I did really enjoy the lectures, I found them extremely informative and at times thought provoking. I loved my seminars. I almost wish I had two seminars a day in lieu of lecture. The discussions were comfortable and educational, both instructors were very good at facilitating discussions which allowed everyone to chip in.

As far as my interactions with students, from Geneseo and around the world, at the Yeats Summer School and with locals, I found that I really enjoyed the stories told by the locals. I found that they had a natural ability for telling me about their lives endearingly. I found the locals of Sligo to be the most talkative. However, I also met a very nice couple in Dublin who I spoke to for a few hours, as well as a few Americans in Temple Bar. I found a majority of people I spoke with were very friendly. I met people from all around the whole world. I definitely want to go back to Ireland. I would love to go see the places that we missed on this trip.

I think my biggest take away was that I will never critique poetry professionally. It wasn’t just scholarship in general that I was turned off of, but particularly the study of poetry. I do not really enjoy the analysis of it. There are a lot more elements which are often harder to grasp on that conceptual level of criticism. I find that prose, especially prose in historical documents, is my wheel house of analysis. I really enjoy reading older works, and I really prefer a straightforward narrative style. I really enjoy reading poems, but analyzing them to the tiniest details is so draining in my opinion. I find the abstractions are too abstract to really read into them fully.

All in all, it was one of the greatest experiences of my entire life. I will never forget the memories from this trip. I will always look fondly upon all the people I met, and I will attempt to stay friends with as many of the students as possible.  There are too many stories to recount in a reflection, but I would say that the weekend in Clifden, when I got to climb two mountains, see a beautiful beach, and drive on the Wild Atlantic Way, and watch a blues guitarist for a couple hours was my favorite place. I really enjoyed Knocknarea, Dublin nightlife, and Derry’s history as provided by the Bogside Artist as well.  I would do it again ten out of ten and would definitely recommend to any and all students who ask me about it.

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