Where in the World is Miami Wednesday: Ireland

girls soccer team in celebration
By Megan Schulte & Nicole Richards

In this week's, Where in the World is Miami Wednesday feature story, we are traveling to Dublin to feature junior, Madison Casey. Madison left to study abroad in Ireland in the fall, and loved it so much that she decided to stay a whole year! 


Program Name: Trinity College Dublin 

Topic of Studies: English

Why You Chose the Program You Did

My father’s side of my family is Irish, so I have always felt inclined to visit Ireland during my life. Also, as an English major, I was encouraged to study in a country where the main spoken language was English so that I would be provided with English courses that would aid me in fulfilling class requirements for my major. I have always been fascinated by the Irish culture and my family connections to it, and thanks to this opportunity, I have been able to immerse myself into that culture and form meaningful bonds with many people who have grown up here in Ireland.

Coolest Place You've Visited So Far

girl takes a selfie in front of a cliffA really cool place I’ve visited throughout my time here is Howth, an Irish village on the Howth Peninsula, east of central Dublin. The grounds of 15th-century Howth Castle are located here, where it has stayed one family’s home for over 800 years. It is the private residence of the Gaisford-St Lawrence family, and contrary to many other houses of its size in Ireland it is not a museum or a hotel. Its origins go back to medieval times when first Lord of Howth came to Ireland, and it is his descendants that currently live in the Castle. Howth also has a beautiful cliff walk with the most breathtaking views of the sea and natural cliffs of Irish greenery. This is also my favorite place to go for great seafood. 

One of my close friends here in Ireland, Claire, was kind enough to bring me to her home in County Clare where I got to meet her family and some hometown friends. She’s the oldest of four children, just like me, with two younger brothers and a sister. She showed me around her hometown and brought me to a couple local shops that her and her friends used to visit often during secondary school. Then we went to her aunt’s house, where I got to meet multiple cousins and other family members.  Coming to Ireland, I didn’t expect to be involved in a family setting like the one I found myself in with Claire’s family. I expected most of my interactions to involve other people around my age. It was a welcoming feeling to be included in her family's interactions and activities, especially with feeling a bit homesick around the holiday times. It also was an amazing experience being able to live multiple days in a country setting in Ireland, which is a big contrast to the busy city environment of Dublin.

Favorite Part About The Program

The highlight of my time in Ireland would have to be the constant series of unexpected events. I didn’t know what to expect when I traveled from the United States to Ireland, but in the time that I’ve been here, I’ve had the opportunity to represent Trinity College in multiple soccer matches, I’ve had the honor of staying at a new friend’s house in the countryside and was included in activities with not only her immediate family but her extended family as well, and I’ve met and become close friends with people not just from Ireland, but from other countries spread far across the globe. All of these amazing events have left me wanting, and committing, to extend my stay in Ireland from a single semester to a full year. I’m looking forward to even more unique experiences in Ireland, and deepening my friendships here. I’m excited for what my time in Ireland brings next!

How has the study abroad experience changed you so far?

miami student pets horseI always knew I wanted to have a career that would involve travel and meeting new people around the world, and this experience in Ireland has only intensified my desire for this type of work. I have a passion for writing and photography and the reason for this is because these are the best ways to capture stories. Everyone in this world has stories to tell and experiences to share, and this fascinates me like nothing else. I’ve been traveling since I was a little girl, and I realized that every time I traveled to a new country, my first thought was always “What would it have been like to grow up in this country instead of the US? And after wondering this time and time again, I realized that I didn’t just want to wonder, I wanted to know.

I wanted to understand the events in people’s lives that lead up to where they are now and how their personal culture impacted them. Living in Ireland for an extended period of time is allowing me to meet, interact, and befriend people living in different circumstances than I do and has given me the ability to hear and understand such stories. I’ve come to the realization that I don’t want to ever stop hearing about others’ tales and adventures. I want to continue to travel and listen to as many as I can in my life and this opportunity I’ve been given to study the year in Ireland has given me the biggest leap yet into the type of lifestyle I want to pursue. I am so thankful for this study abroad experience and for those individuals who have helped me along the way.

Catch us next time as we continue to travel around the world to feature the amazing opportunities that Miami students are taking!


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