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Program Overview

Fáilte go hÉirinn! (Welcome to Ireland!)

Open to students from all schools and nations, the Emory & Henry College partnership in Dublin, Ireland offers the unique opportunity to explore the power of global citizenship throughout Europe and the wider world. This engagement asks participants to push beyond stereotypes about Ireland and the Irish people to understand a country shaped by colonialism and centuries of resistance to that power, years of poverty, the sudden expansion and wealth of an economy built on attracting international investments, and the equally sudden collapse of that economy.

Living in Dublin, studying at Dublin City University, and volunteering for a community-based organization, you’ll have the chance to immerse yourself in the rich and varied heritage of this country and explore the ways Irish culture gives voice to centuries of struggle, conflict, and contradictions.

Ireland’s capital of Dublin has transformed itself over the last 20 years from a quiet, rather old-fashioned place into a modern, thriving and youthful European city. (Ireland was the first country in the world to approve same-sex marriage by popular vote!) Universities abound and create a youthful energy as about 35% of Dublin’s population is under 25. Lively urban areas with historic pubs, live music and restaurants mingle with churches and libraries, ancient ruins and lush green spaces. The Liffey river (spanned by numerous beautiful bridges) divides the city into two distinct areas. You’ll find Dubliners to be welcoming people who are excited to share the best of what their city has to offer.

Where you’ll stay in Dublin

During your time in Ireland, you’ll live with a local family. Partial board (breakfast and dinner Monday – Sunday) is included. An integral part of the program, the homestay offers you the opportunity to make life-long friends and experience the culture from the inside. All host families are carefully selected and experienced with hosting students. Instead of being a tourist, you’ll get to know what it’s like to be a true part of Irish culture. Families live in the South County Dublin area with convenient access to Dublin’s public transportation system. Students may have either a single or double room.

Program Director: David Kilroy


The program welcomes students of any nation who have a high school diploma or equivalent credential. TOEFL equivalent 550.

Coastal ridge in Ireland



All classes are held at the IBAT College Temple Bar campus, a brand new high tech facility in Dublin’s trendy Temple Bar district in the heart of the city center.  Each course augments classroom learning with visits to relevant sites and locations in the city center. Courses are typically taught on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Wednesday is a required excursion day for course field trips. Friday is typically off except for excursion weekends and is usually reserved for volunteer service.

Required Course

Service-Learning Institutions in Irish Society

Linked to your service experience, this course will explore service-learning cross-culturally by seeking to address some of the social problems facing Ireland, and examine responses from the Irish public sector and members of civil society, including NGOs and religious institutions. Visits to local NGOs, guest speakers, and discussion of articles and Irish social problems are the format for this course. The purpose of this class is to introduce students to Irish social problems, social institutions and social change through a combination of academic study and practical service.

Through engaging in service students will gain a better academic understanding of these issues. At the same time, the academic understanding will provide a fundamental background for successful completion of the service.

This course will explore service-learning cross-culturally by seeking to address some of the social problems facing Irekand, and examine responses from the Irish public sector and members of civil society, including NGOs and religious institutions. Students will also examine the nature of and the practical dimensions and challenges of effecting social change from outside of a society, and will examine the nature and impact of non-Irish social institutions. A number of visits to local NGOs and guest speakers are part of this course. Throughout the course, students will engage in service through placement in a local agency. A key component of service-learning is action and reflection.

Through the use of journals and class discussions, students will analyze and reflect critically on their service and attempt to integrate it with the learning they have gained from readings and in class. Following the completion of this course, students will have gained the following:

  1. understanding and experiential application of service-learning;
  2. knowledge of how to work cross-culturally in the Irish context;
  3. awareness of major Irish social problems and examination of the challenges NGOs face working on these social issues;
  4. practical experience addressing a specific Irish social problem through working in an Irish social service agency;
  5. analysis and firsthand practice/participant observation leading to enhanced understanding of Irish culture, social problems, social institutions and solutions.
Evaluation is based on active participation, maintaining a service-journal log and journal reflections, a midterm reflection, and a final reflection.

Contact Hours: 90

Recommended U.S. Credits: 6


You may choose one additional course from the following three choices:

Screening Ireland: Irish Film into the 21st Century

Charting changes in recent Irish history, understanding the emergence of the Irish Film Industry in the 1970’s and analyzing some of Ireland’s most prolific and critically acclaimed film directors, are just some of the key elements of this course. This course introduces students to the cultural, social, and political contexts of Irish cinema. We will examine key themes and issues in films made about and in Ireland and how they have constructed notions of Irishness. Specifically, the course will address: Historical cinematic representations of Ireland and the Irish by US and British film makers The emergence of an Irish Film industry in the 1970s Ireland’s most prolific and critically acclaimed film directors Contemporary Irish cinema.

Contact Hours: 45

Recommended U.S. Credits: 3

Transatlantic Currents: Ireland and America in the Modern Era

This course offers an examination of the historical connections between the U.S. and Ireland over the past two hundred years.  In readings, discussions, and lectures we will explore the impact of Irish emigration to America for both the United States and Ireland, from the early Scots-Irish settlers through the exodus of the Great Famine and the generations of emigrants who followed down to the end of the twentieth century.

Contact Hours: 45

Recommended U.S. Credits: 3

Myth Legend and Folklore Exploring Early Irish Literature

Explore Early Irish Literature from the murky twilight of The Mythological Cycle to the fierce warriors of The Ulster Cycle and the Finn Cycle. This course examines how overtime the mythology and pagan beliefs of early Ireland transformed into modern day fairy tales, folklore and superstitions. Ireland holds the position of being one of the first literary nations in Western Europe.

Legends recounting the deeds of Ireland’s mythological heroes were shared orally for hundreds of years before being preserved in writing during the medieval period.  These mystical tales, originally written in the Irish language and now widely available in translation, tell of a long lost world of Celtic gods and goddesses, of early Irish heroes and heroines, and the interaction between the land of mortals and the fairy other world.

This course will also examine how, over time, the mythology and pagan beliefs of early Ireland transformed into modern day fairy tales, folklore and superstitions.

Contact Hours: 45

Recommended U.S. Credits: 3

Bridge in Dublin, Ireland

Volunteer Service

The service-learning program in Dublin, Ireland offers students the opportunity to experience international volunteer service in a large urban metropolis with many pressing environmental social problems that effect the entire population. Students may support non-proifts, NGOs and community development agencies working with:
  • at-risk youth
  • refugees and immigrants
  • the elderly and other marginalized and vulnerable populations
  • the homeless
  • people struggling with addiction
  • people with physical and mental disabilities
  • children and youth    (tutoring, sports and recreation, etc)

Volunteer Service Examples

Following are examples of agencies where students have served in the past or may be able to serve. Other service placements may be available. Your placement will be determined by community and agency needs, as well as your interests, goals, and skills.

After-School Clubhouse for At-Risk Youth

This organization is part of a global network of 105 clubhouses, and is based in a disadvantaged area of inner city Dublin. The clubhouse provides educational and personal support to a range of young people, and students participate in these activities, including art, music, film/TV, theater and technology.

Public Health NGO

Founded in 1996 as a patient support organization, this NGO is dedicated to reducing incidences of a preventable disease by promoting healthy behaviors, and provides support for sufferers and their families.

International Non-Profit for Sustainable Development Projects

Working in 26 of the world’s poorest countries, this NGO works with local people to make major and sustainable improvements in their lives. Interns help research and collate information on the organization’s ongoing projects, contribute to the organization’s newsletter, and participate in ongoing work on social and behavioral change.

Non-Profit Dedicated to Racial Understanding through Sports

This organization is dedicated to creating opportunities for people to participate in social integration projects both in Ireland and abroad with a view to promoting intercultural dialog and harmony. Students assist with a variety of tasks including event planning and promotion, fundraising and research.

International Human Rights NGO

This international organization is dedicated to the protection of fundamental human rights across the globe. Students work in the dynamic fundraising unit, contributing to a variety of projects, events and campaigns.

Community Based Youth Resource Center

Based at a purpose-built community youth center, students work a variety of programs and events in support of professional Youth Workers. The work includes the day-to-day work of the drop-in center to special initiatives targeting certain minority youth groups.

Services for the Unemployed

Unemployment is the most pressing social issue in present-day Ireland. Founded in 1994, this non-profit has come to play an increasingly important role in Dublin. Volunteers work on different programs, but always with the intention of supporting their search and helping them regain their confidence and dignity. "This organization became more to me than just my service site. It became a comfortable environment filled with support and encouragement, as well as a place to receive constructive criticism. I've seen how the organization works, and volunteers are essential to helping complete the day-to-day tasks that the staff have push aside. We all work hard, and I hope I contribute to the environment and cause I respect so much.” Gentry H., Psychology Major, Emory & Henry College, 2013

Animal Shelter and Placement Organization

Established by a group of women over 25 years ago, this community-based and entirely self-funded charity houses over 70 animals that have been abandoned or rescued from situations of abuse. Volunteers mainly work closely with the animals, helping to feed, clean, groom and exercise them. “The chance to combine service, real service, with something that I love is not an opportunity that I am presented with often.  This place is more than an animal shelter, it's a sanctuary.  We can learn much and more from animals, if we bother to pay attention.”  Will P., Biology Major, Emory & Henry College, 2013 Students studying abroad in Dublin

Things to Do

Travel is an essential part of studying abroad. Taking knowledge from the classroom and applying it through direct observation allows for greater classroom comprehensions and cultural understandings. The Dublin program offers multiple academic excursions designed to enhance your learning.
  • Dublin City Bus Tour (orientation)
  • Weekend excursion NW Ireland
  • Two full day excursions to Belfast and New Grange

Other possible excursions in or near Dublin may include:

  • Dublin Castle
  • Kilmanhaim Gaol
  • Trinity College
  • GAA museum
Visits to these sites are incorporated into the relevant courses, providing onsite learning opportunities for students. Students in Dublin may also work with program staff to arrange for independent travel around Ireland, the UK and Europe.
  • Bru na Boinne - Not a single sight, but a historic landscape on the banks of the Boyne, dotted with prehistoric monuments, the largest being Newgrange.
  • The Burren - Wedged between the rough beauty of the Aran Islands and the bustling university city of Galway, the near featureless desolation of this limestone plateau has often been likened to a moonscape. Ancient monuments and bizarre rock formations abound.
  • The Giant’s Causeway - If you want to experience one of nature's true wonders in Ireland make sure to visit the Giant's Causeway. Strangely regular basalt columns dominate the landscape and seem to lead across to Scotland.
  • Cliffs of Moher - An undulating landscape suddenly ends in a sheer drop of more than 650 feet, straight down to the Atlantic. One of the most spectacular coastal areas in Europe.
As with all travel, weather and other travel hindrances can affect the exact destinations of excursions. In such cases, program staff make every effort to find suitable replacement itineraries. Farm scene in rural Ireland