Saturday, July 13, 2013

Tristan's relection

On Thursday we visited the Cork Institute of Technology (CIT). It was a valuable learning experience and we were able to see  many similarities to the United States system while still having an Irish spin to it. I particularly liked learning about the student societies (clubs/organizations) on campus. This is an area of focus for myself within higher education and it was wonderful to compare and contrast the two. I was happy to see that students here have a wide range of extracurricular learning activities to gain knowledge outside of the classroom and find a way to identify with their peers. As I work with these types of groups in the U.S., I enjoyed  the fact that this is a transnational concept.

The trip to all of the institutions, but especially CIT (as it is very similar to institutions I work with) has made me see the merits in Irish higher education. It has also ignited a fire within me to begin finding a way to relocate to Cork to work for one of the institutions and make an impact with their students. I feel I can bring both an international perspective and knowledge from my previous higher education experiences and education from U of L. It won't be an easy process to secure a work visa and employment, however I will begin researching the process when I arrive home. Hopefully, I will find a solution by the time I graduate in December. This trip has truly allowed for both personal and educational growth. 

Finally, in the last two full days here in Ireland, I look forward to making the most of my time with Jennifer, Matt, and Rachel... plus Shavon and Dr. Aliaga. In the last few days we have had a ton of fun and it will be a little strange on Tuesday to no longer see them morning, noon, and night. As the train is nearing Dublin, I must end this post...Cheers! 


Killarney and the Ring of Kerry photo's

A different church in Killarney that we cane across on our walk in the town.

On the bus for the tour of the Ring of Kerry. 5 minutes in and the view is amazing!

At our first stop on the tour. Notice the two puppies, too! 

Another beautiful stop for pics

Pic from the bus. 

Queen Victoria sent ladies out to pic a spot fit for a lady. This was deemed the Ladies View.

The rolling green hills. Everything was so beautiful!

Beautiful Ring of Kerry

Yesterday we took a six hour bus tour to the ring of Kerry. Words cannot describe how beautiful the different landscapes are. I'm so glad we were able to do this tour because in my mind this is how I pictured Ireland. We were told it was kind of hazy out so we were not getting the best views but I cannot imagine it getting any better. One of my favorite moments was getting Kerry soft served ice cream (with sprinkles of course) and sitting on a stone wall over looking mother natures beauty and reflecting on how blessed I am. I want to give a special shout out to my grandparents, my mom, and Garvan for their support to make this trip possible for me. It's been amazing! Now, off to Dublin we go!!!

Happy Caturday!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Our Thursday evening in Cobh

Dr. Aliaga with his camera ready!

Our captain of the tour. He was full of knowledge, it was excellent!

8 Minutes can change you for a lifetime.........

This trip has been absolutely amazing thus far. Everyone is so kind and express interest in the conversations that they hold with you.  I have loved many things about the trip. The group on this trip is  a wonderful grouping of people and we are able to laugh and share and create wonderful memories together on our adventure here in Ireland.

As a coordinator of the trip, I have had the pleasure of going out into the city of Cork to make arrangements for our excursions.  On each bus ride (and there have been many!), I have met so many wonderful people just in passing.  I may never see them again, but they have greatly impacted my views of life and loving and respecting one another.

On one particular trip to the Kent Train station, I encountered on gentleman in particular.  He was 88 years of age and a perfectly lovely man.  We began on the 8 minute bus ride sitting in the same row, but each at the left and right windows of the bus. Maybe he just wanted someone to talk to, but he scooted into the aisle seat and said hello to me and asked me if I was enjoying Cork.  We then conversed for the remainder of the bus ride about weather and the beautiful sun; that he was in from Dublin for a holiday and that he was 88 and retired and what else could be better than walking around Cork and then Cobh (Cove). He'd also bought a coat that morning because he was getting a cough and he didn't want it to go to his chest.

We both walked into the train station and each needed to purchase tickets. He bought for himself to Cobh for the day and I bought for the group to Cobh for the evening. After that, we exchanged goodbyes and I suddenly felt this pang in my heart. All I could feel was worry for him not to get sick from his cough and sadness knowing that I would never see him again or even know how he was doing.

I never knew his name, but our encounter together will forever be engrained on my heart.  I can't tell you why it impacted me so; all I can say is that it did.

Each person on this earth has a story. They just need someone to hear it.

As always, Cheers!


Thursday, July 11, 2013

More random pics from the trip! Happy Friday!!!

This is in the blarney castle

We traveled to Cobh (pronounced cove) yesterday. It was absolutely beautiful right by the water. It was the Titanics last stop!

This is a view of the city at Cobh, followed by some of us in front of the cathedral.

It was a perfect day!

Picture at the Cork City Gaol (jail).

Today we go to the ring of Kerry which we have been told many times is absolutely beautiful! I'm so excited!

Last half of the trip! Jennifer

We are in the second half of our trip and I cannot believe time has gone by so fast! Today has been my favorite day (I got to go shopping). We went for a visit at the cork institute of technology and they had so much neat stuff. We had an in depth tour of the culinary arts department. They had an awesome bar set up for bartenders to learn how to serve bar, I used to bartend so I found it very interesting. They also had state of the art classrooms and kitchens for the chefs. The CIT was a great place to visit, I wish I could take students there for field trips.

After the CIT, Rachel and I went shopping. We were able to accomplish a lot in an hour! One of my favorite parts about cork is how nice the people are. We have met so many interesting characters here in Ireland. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


Today was FANTASTIC! We took a train to Limerick and toured the Mary Immaculate College which is a College of Education for primary teachers in Ireland.  We met with the Vice President of Academic Affairs as well as an expert in Special Education, Dr. Patsy Daly.

They were both very informative in terms of comparing the Irish and American educational systems (which is the goal of our trip).  I was very interested to learn about the teacher preparation programs of Ireland since the training of teachers is vastly different than ours.

To become an elementary teacher in Ireland, one attends a special College of Education that prepares them to teach students in grades K-8 (as in the equivalent in the US) while those wanting to teach on the secondary level will attend another year of study at the university to become an expert in a specific content (like our content areas in the US).  I really appreciate the amount of training that goes into teaching in Ireland and what a prestigious profession it is.

We had a wonderful tour around the campus where we met very lovely staff! After we toured the campus, we came back to Cork for dinner and some laundry! Tomorrow is another full day in Cork which is great because it's such a wonderful city.  Friday we are going to the Ring of Kerry which we've been told (by many, many people) is the most beautiful part of Ireland so I am very excited to experience that!

More to come!


First few days. ~Matt

   The first few days I have spent in Ireland have been nothing short of amazing.  All six of us from UofL are completely different but could not have been more perfectly matched.  We have bonded very quickly.  I have found that the people here are personable and accommodating.  The weather has been beautiful, which every local loves to reiterate.

   On Tues. I spent a large portion of the day with who seems to me now like the best possible person to have met in relation to my field.  She was extremely knowledgable and willing to give up part of her work day to make sure that I had a thorough understanding of the special education system in Ireland.  We visited a summer school program which enrolls children with Autism Spectrum disorder.  I was incredibly impressed with the program as well as all of the other information to which I have not been privy.

   The early intervention strategies practiced in Ireland are fundamental in the development of children with Autism.  The students that I observed fell within different ranges of the spectrum but yet seemed social and communicative with peers and adults. Although the special education system and it's legislation in Ireland is relatively new in comparison to that of the United States', I noticed that it is very progressive, and had many similarities.

  Time has flown since being here, but I definitely looking forward to the rest of our time in Ireland.

U of L Red Day!!

Wearing U of L gear and ready for the day. 

All smiles on the bus to breakfast!

Matt after his day with Orla Healy. He was so wonderful, that they invited him back on Thursday!

The front gate entrance to UCC on a beautiful morning.

The view of the front gate from inside campus.

The Student Center

Inside the Student Center

Inside the Student Center

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Education and Adventure!

Classes so far have been going great! We met with representatives from University College Cork yesterday, and they were gracious enough to continue answering questions after the scheduled meeting time had passed. Not only was it educational, but they made it enjoyable as well. Last night was our first discussion about our individual topics and papers. I shared my information about adult education in Ireland and the Unites States. The peer review was helpful to polish some of my ideas and am sure that my paper is on the right track (especially with the help and answers I am receiving from our colleagues here in Ireland).

 Today we devoted the day to understanding how the history of Ireland  (and the European Union) formed the current educational structure we see here today. We then did the same thing with the United States to compare and contrast the two. I was astonished by how much the history of the country played a role in the formation of their educational system. Tomorrow we are going to meet representatives from  the Mary Immaculate College of Education at the University of Limerick. 

We also took a short trip to the old Cork jail (Gaol). It was a long, hot walk but was yet another bonding experience for all of us. The strange thing was that it looked more like a castle than a jail. Soon afterwards we were famished and went to dinner, I had a staple here in Ireland: fish and chips. It was delicious! 

Keep tuning in because we will be sharing more information about our education, adventures, and fun!

Front view from the Cork Gaol

Six strangers move into a dorm in Ireland... Jennifer

Hello Everyone!

This trip to Ireland has been amazing! Cork is a beautiful city. I have to keep reminding myself that it is normally rainy and cold here or I would just move here. The weather has been beautiful, very warm and sunny every day so far. The only complaint I have is that there is no AC anywhere (they do not normally need it). When packing for the trip i was prepared for cooler weather so i do not have much summer stuff with me. This only means that there is a shopping trip in need! :)

My favorite part of the trip so far was going to the Blarney Stone. Not only the castle, but the ground were just beautiful and there was so much to see.

Everyone on the trip is great! We have had so much fun together and I have really enjoyed getting to know my other travel companions. Not only do we get to compare education in Ireland but we are all from different programs so it is interesting to learn more about different programs in education at UofL.
We have been having lots of fun together talking, playing games (the team game), and people watching.

I did have an incident yesterday evening, when I went to put my hair up, i notice that it was wet and there was a slimy blob in it. I told Rachel to check for me to see what it was and she started freaking out. Turns out a slug some how got into my hair. Tristan saved the day by getting it out! Yuck!

I cannot wait to see how the rest of the trip turns out and I am so excited to enjoy the rest of the trip!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Monday's happenings

Getting ready for our first class session!

Getting ready for dinner at SoHo

We love the transportation system! We have a weekly bus pass and can come and go easily.

The class student led discussion held by Tristan. 

Sunset over the Gaol (pronounced Jail)

Here Comes the Sun :)--Rachel

Hello everyone!

It's been only 3 days since we left Louisville, but we have already experienced so much! We have been around the city centre of Cork multiple times which I found wonderful! Cork is a beautiful city with amazing people! Everyone is so helpful and friendly with a great outlook on life.

Yesterday we visited the Blarney Castle where everyone (but me) kissed the Blarney Stone.  I am absolutely petrified of heights so climbing the staircase inside the castle was not in the cards for me.  While I waited for them, I walked around the grounds surrounding the castle and took in the absolutely gorgeous scenery.  I've found that Ireland looks remarkably like Kentucky with its greenery and rolling hills which can make you a little homesick, but I'm definitely enjoying the view!

We must have brought the Ohio Valley heat with us when we came because it has been unseasonably hot while we're here which just means you have a better excuse to eat ice cream! It also makes for a great conversation starter with Cork locals. :)

More to come later!


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Tristan - Days 1-2

After traveling all the way from California to Louisville and then to Dublin, I was ready for our trip to begin; however I was not expecting it to happen until after we arrived in Cork (or  Corcaigh in its traditional form). We hopped on the train for Cork and I was pleasantly surprised to be sitting near two local Dubliners named Jerry (Jer) and John. Over the next two hours we exchanged similarities and differences of our respective countries and shared opinions on a variety of other topics. It was a friendly and welcoming conversation which allowed for quick immersion into the Irish culture and language (Jer was very hard to understand, so John had to translate Irish-English to English a few times). We then parted ways, travelled to our accommodations at University College Cork, and begun our day of visiting the city. 

Over the next several hours, we would visit the city-center of Cork and familiarize ourselves with the city. We got to know the bus routes and schedules, receive great historical information from the taxi cab drivers, and most importantly, got to know one another on a personal level. The six of us relative strangers would bond in less than one day, and set the fantastic tone for the rest of the week.  It was amazing to get to know each one of the other people on this trip! 

Today, was our second day in Cork and even more exciting than the first! We were able to see (and kiss) the legendary Blarney Stone. Afterwards, we walked the gardens and caves and took many pictures of the group to document every part of the experience. 

Being in the Distance Education portion of the College of Education and Human Development doesn't always lend itself to integrating myself with other students. Two days changed that and I feel like a campus-based University of Louisville student. I have been able to learn about our own institution, bond with other students, and enjoy even more pride that the university instills. Tomorrow class begins and I cannot wait to learn about the higher education system in this country to consider other similarities and differences between Ireland and the United States. 


Blarney Castle