5 Reasons Every Sacred Heart Student Should Consider SHU in Dingle

For the spring semester of my sophomore year, I am currently studying abroad with the SHU in Dingle program in Dingle, Ireland. I can honestly say that doing this was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life and here are 5 reasons why:

 

1. You are still a Sacred Heart student

Since my early years in middle and high school, I’ve always known I wanted to study abroad once I was in college. It has always been very high on my bucket list. One of the main reasons I decided to come to Dingle to do so is because it is a Sacred Heart program. Personally, I love this because I didn’t have to worry about applying to a different school or about my credits transferring over, etc... Since Sacred Heart designs the curriculum and program, weekends trips to Galway and London are included in the program. Then, throughout the entire semester, many activities in Dingle such as horseback riding or holding baby lambs are scheduled and provided by the school. Not to be biased but I have not heard of many other study abroad programs that do this for their students. Also, all of my housemates and classmates are fellow SHU students who I’ve either gotten to know better or meet for the first time. Either Way, I know that I’ve made some of my greatest college friends here who I can continue to see and hang out with once we get back to SHU in August.

 

 

2. You get to meet people who you most likely would not meet otherwise

Like I’ve mentioned, I have met so many different people from SHU I would have never met if we all didn’t come to Dingle together. The group of students varies in diferent majors, involvments on campus, etc. We all barely or did not know each other at all when we arrived here in January. I came not really knowing anyone. Now it is April and I can confidently say that I have made some of my college best friends here in Dingle. Also, Sean Pol and Grace who are the directors and administration equivalent of SHU in Dingle are hands down two of the best faculty members Sacred Heart has. They make us feel so welcome and make sure we have the best experience here. I cannot thank them enough for all that they do for us.  Also, we’ve become very friendly with some of the locals here in Dingle. Most of the locals love having us and are excited to see us when we come to their resteraunt, cafe, or pub. We have even become close friends with some of them and have hung out with them outside of their workplace. So, not only have I made many new Sacred Heart friends but I have also made many Irish friends as well.

 

 

3. You get to live in such a unique place

Whenever we meet other Irish people from somewhere else or local people from another country in Europe, they have either never heard of Dingle or are SHOOK that we are studying abroad here. I always find this funny because Dingle is such a great place. Another reason I chose to come to Dingle is because I am of Irish Heritage and I have never been to Ireland before this semester but I have always wanted to come here to see where my ancestors come from. Now, not only have I been to Ireland but I am living here for five months and truly experiencng it. Dingle is a beauitful and aunthentic small town on the southwest coast of Ireland. It is right on the water and has a beautiful marina and penisula to explore with many activites. It is also so rural with many beautiful animals such as lambs, sheep, and cows hanging around on the all gorgeous green land you see. Also, Dingle has been voted one of the top pubtowns in all of Ireland so a night out in Dingle is “great craic” which any college student can appreciate. We take our classes in an old nunnery called “An Diseart” which has so much interesting murals and history inside. We get to live in gorgeous and fully equiped town houses that are a 10 minute walk from the center of town. Also, we do not have a dining hall in Dingle, our meal plan is taken by most of the local resteraunts, cafes, and grocery stores. So, the entire town of Dingle is our campus and home. Personally, being so far from home, I love this feeling and I have honestly been less homesick here than in Connecticut.

 

4. Not only do you live in a unique place, you get so many unique opportunites

I literally cannot wait to give my resume a makeover with all I’ve done in Dingle. As a Communications student, I am currently doing an internship with my professor who is an Irish filmmaker. We’ve gotten to help him film for either new documentaries, ads for local small businesses, and we’ve even gottent to help with the post production of Other Voices which is a famous music festival that takes place every year in Dingle and is later aired on TV (Amy Winehouse performed at it once, NBD). For my work study, I am helping a tourism office develop and edit the content for their new website. Through these opportunites, I have gotten to meet so many interesting people and listen to their stories. I have learned so much. This is just what I am in. Some of the other classes only offered in Dingle include: Surfing and Sailing, Oceanography (which takes place in the aquarium), and Irish Folklore. All of these classes are so hands on, one of a kind, and like I’ve said, count for your Sacred Heart credit. Outside of school, we have participated in many scheduled activites such as horseback riding, Irish set dancing, kayaking, and many others that are unique to Dingle. With SHU in Dingle, I also got to travel to London and Galway. On my own, I’ve done a lot of traveling as well. During Spring Break, my friends and I traveled to 4 different coutnries in Europe in a week. I’ve gotten to experience so many things that I would not even come close to back home.

 

5. You will literally live your best life

I remember being at JFK airport in January. I was scared, nervous, and balling my eyes out to my parents. The last few days leading up to leaving, I felt like I did not know what I had gotten myself into and I kept questioning if I had made the right choice. In the words of Harry Styles’ Sign of The Times, “Just stop your crying, Have the time of your life.” That is exactly what I did. Once I was adjusted aka the first two weeks or so, I have genuinely enjoyed every day I have been here. I would not trade this experience for anything and if I could, I would do it again in a heartbeat. These five months have defnitely been some of if not the greatest in my life and I will always look back at them (thanks to my travel journal which I also highly recomend doing while studying abroad) in the future. I am writing this article a month exactly before I leave and I am dreading that moment because I do not want it to come. Doing a semester with SHU in Dingle was 100% one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and if you have the chance, I think you should do the same.