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Katherine Baker: Dublin, Ireland
What is your major?
Political Science and International Studies
Where did you study abroad, through what program/course, and how long were you there?
I studied in Dublin, Ireland through a school called the Marino Institute of Education. This is the first year they’ve run this program, so it’s quite new to UMD. My classmates and I have been here for one month.
What did your course consist of doing?
We are taking two courses (worth 6 credits), one is on Irish language and heritage. In this class we’ve been learning some Gaelic and other things like how to play the tin whistle and step dance (both have proven to be quite difficult!). Our other course is about the political history of Ireland, which is my favorite (surprising that a Political Science major would love the history course!). Here we look at Ireland’s struggle to break ties with England starting in the late nineteenth century working up to the present.
What is your favorite memory from your study abroad experience?
We took a trip to the west coast of Ireland (in Clare and Galway mostly). We got to see some of the most beautiful landscape I have ever seen in my life. Our leader even took us to her house to cook us a traditional Irish Sunday lunch and she showed us how to make a REAL Irish coffee!
What would you say to someone considering studying abroad?
Just do it. I had so many roadblocks come up when trying to get to Ireland (including a horrendous ordeal at the airport), but I worked my way through them and I could not be happier I did. It can be hard to study abroad but there’s a program out there for everyone. I couldn’t give up an entire semester because my two majors keep me pretty busy, but even one month away has showed me how wonderful this world really is.
Has study abroad influenced your academic/career path?
In a way, yes. I have always wanted to work internationally and I would say this experience has only reinforced that idea. I have learned some things in my course that I think will influence me academically, and I have found a whole area I want to research more in the realm of peacemaking.
Photos: Katherine signing the Peace Wall in Belfast.
Katherine and two classmates on the "Sky Road" in Galway.
The whole group and history teacher in Kilmainham Jail in Dublin.