An Irish Odyssey: History and Culture of Ireland
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Natasha Nagle

Major: Geosciences, Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies, Anthropology
Minor: International Studies, History, Jewish Studies
Hometown: Perkasie, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I attended one of the tabling events for embedded study abroad programs where I met one of the professors in the AgSci department who taught and ran the course.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

This was a wonderful eight day tour around Ireland, during which we were partnered with EF Tours and a few other colleges from around the United States. We began in Dublin and had the opportunity to experience Irish culture through food and dance, see the Book of Kells, St. Patrick's Cathedral, the Storehouse, and several museum collections housed throughout the city. We then traveled further into the countryside and had the opportunity to see a bog village, the Ring of Kerry, watch a sheepdog herding demonstration, and observe the beauty and greenery of Ireland. We also stopped at Blarney Castle and the Rock of Cashel among many other cultural and historically important sites.

How did this experience impact you academically?

I had always been interested in the history and culture of Ireland and had wanted to travel there for many years. As a result of this experience, I had the opportunity to take a course during the spring semester which went through the history of the area from the first human settlements through to modern day, as well as travel to Ireland for credit during the Maymester as well.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

I have majors in geosciences, Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies, and Anthropology and as such would be very much interested in using my geochemical training on archaeological excavations throughout graduate school as well as into my professional career. I am interested in learning more about history and people, and how certain regions of the world developed as they did and what their particular cultural markers are and how the world in which they lived affected those markers. As such, this experience provided a wonderful connection to a part of the world in which I had always been interested, and yet had not had much of a chance to explore further. Learning more about the world in which we live and the people with which we share that world is never a bad idea, and having many opportunities to do so is something for which I am very grateful to the College of Liberal Arts and Penn State in general.

I would largely recommend this experience to any student who is interested in Ireland and its history and culture. 

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would largely recommend this experience to any student who is interested in Ireland and its history and culture. Whether this be because they are interested in the history, the culture, the geology, or simply because they have familial connections to the region, having the opportunity to learn so much more about the world and those connections is invaluable. There is so much one can learn through studying abroad that is not necessarily able to be taught on a college campus and experiencing different cultures and interacting with the material you are studying is something better done through study abroad and first hand experience.

How has the Paterno Fellows Program had an impact on this experience?

Through my interaction and participation within the Paterno Fellows Program I was able to garner a bit more monetary support for my study abroad experience than I may have otherwise been able. This support was necessary to help my goal of participating in this experience come to fruition and it was extremely appreciated. The Paterno Fellows' dedication to expanding their students' perceptions of the world through increased interactions with other cultures and with people from different backgrounds is something which I highly support, and I am grateful that they were able to help support me in doing so as well.


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