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Study Opportunities in Ireland

by Samantha McGuigan

This year’s spring break trip is set to take place in Belfast, Ireland from Friday, March 3 to Saturday, March 12. The program will focus on the the major conflict known as The Troubles that took place in Northern Ireland during the late 20th century.

“Studying abroad is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I believe every student should consider,” Study Abroad Coordinator, Brad Miner said. “The spring break program will provide students with a chance to travel and experience a new culture they may not otherwise have.”

Along with Miner, the trip will be led by Dr. Paul Adams, Associate Professor of Political Science, and Dr. William Pamerleau, Associate Professor of Philosophy. The program will include a one credit course with a choice between a basis in either political science or philosophy.

Adams, who has been planning this trip ever since he took students to Berlin and Prague back in 2008, will focus on how peace was reached in 1990 after more than 30 years of conflict and violence between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland. Students on this track will explore how the new model of governance was created and will study both the history of The Troubles as well as how reconciliation can take place.

Students will also get a chance to meet with and talk to individuals who were directly involved on both sides of the conflict, including the mayor of Belfast. It will be “eye-opening and engaging,” Adams said.

Pamerleau will be leading the other track, which focuses on the social justice and ethics of The Troubles. He and his students will explore questions of appropriate retaliation, conflict resolution and justification for terrorism from an ethical standpoint.

Photo by Gretchen Uhrinek

Photo by Gretchen Uhrinek

“This is a location where we can really study the effects firsthand on the people who went through it,” Pamerleau said. “It allows us to address the same issues in a short period of time and in a contained space that are happening all over the world.”

While all majors are encouraged to pursue this trip, one student, senior Nichole Johnson, who is a double major in Criminal Justice and Psychology, is particularly interested in this opportunity.

“I really believe that everyone should study abroad and take advantage of the opportunities to do so at Pitt-Greensburg,” Johnson said. “I think any time you travel and experience the world, you learn about people and human interactions. These things are important to all fields of study, but I will especially benefit from it as a psychology major.”

The trip will include excursions in and around Belfast including tours of the Peace Wall, Schomberg House Museum, Stormont Parliament Buildings, Giant’s Causeway and Dunluce Castle. The trip will allow for time in Dublin as well.

The deadline to apply is Nov. 4 and, once finalized, the application will be available at the Pitt Study Abroad website. Students will need to have completed 24 Pitt credits and have a cumulative GPA of 2.75 or higher to be eligible for the trip. Early application is encouraged as the program is limited to 24 students.

“If students are interested they should definitely come speak with me about the opportunity and to start the application,” Miner said.

Miner’s office is located in 202 Millstein Library.

A cost has not yet been determined but flight and hotel accommodations will be included in the price as the group will be traveling together. Furthermore, scholarship opportunities will be available to make the trip more affordable.

Photo by Gretchen Uhrinek

Photo by Gretchen Uhrinek

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