Creating a Charitable Fund To Improve the Lives Of Townspeople In Ireland
Department of Social Work Chair Terry Keller and Department of History, Political Science & Geography Chair Mary Robinson, Ph.D., led a diverse group of 15 Lourdes students to Tullycross, Ireland in 2013 in the inaugural installment of The Ireland Program. More students will return to the Emerald Isle in 2014.
“The experience was overwhelming. When we arrived, we found that the entire community had come together to throw us a welcoming party. This was my first time traveling abroad, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. They made us feel at home immediately!” says student Tiffany Scott.
The business administration major discovered learning about the country’s history from the residents was the most rewarding aspect of the study abroad course. “While they were sharing their history, I kept thinking that our U.S. residents might not be as open about their thoughts on such difficult subjects and that made me appreciate their candor even more.”
Today, the lives of the Lourdes group and the Irish residents have been changed forever and for the better. The experience impacted the students so much that they decided to use monies set aside for a closing celebration to establish a charitable fund for Tullycross. “I’m a big proponent of giving back and making programs like this sustainable and purposeful for both sides. Our students benefit from being able to learn about a different culture and experience a new area of the world but we want to make sure it also benefits the local population,” says Professor Keller.