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February  19, 2010

Students and faculty to study in Republic of Ireland

Ireland is the destination for a group of Augustana professors and students in early March. The 10-week experience will focus on looking at the European island from the historical, scientific and cultural perspectives, working as volunteers and visiting many of the well-known sites that shape the country. 

The 34 students and three professors will visit and study in the Republic of Ireland cities including Dublin, Cork, Killarney, Westport, Sligo, Derry and Navan, taking classes and field trips that focus on Irish literature, history, science and culture. Students will hike and volunteer at the Killarney National Park, collect historical data from the Glasneiven Cemetery, interview local residents and read the works of Irish authors and poets.           

Each student will experience something distinctive, according to assistant biology professor Dr. Jason Koontz. "I think the students will get to experience Ireland in an academic way," said Koontz. "Yes, they'll be tourists to a degree, but we'll be learning about the Irish from a variety of perspectives and disciplines that can only be done by being...in Ireland."

Senior Danielle Knaizer is prepared to study a different culture up close, and expects a change in her perspective. "I hope this adds to my Augustana experience in that it puts me in situations to learn new things...I couldn't learn in a classroom," said Knaizer, a math education major from Lake in the Hills, Illinois.

Senior biology major Kaitlyn Babicz of Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, sees this final term as a perfect culmination to her college education. "I've been exposed to far-reaching ideas and world views, giving me a wider perspective of the world that I live in. I know that I will walk across that stage a more fully rounded individual after this trip than if I had chosen to remain within the U.S." 

All three professors-Professor of English Dr. Joe McDowell, Professor of Psychology Dr. S.A. Fenwick, and Koontz-will teach a class during the term, and each has traveled to Ireland and various other international locations. The students and professors will return to the United States in mid-May. 

Keri Rursch
Director of Public Relations
(309) 794-7721
kerirursch@augustana.edu