3 Biggest Takeaways of Service-Learning in Ireland

Kayla Timmins is a student at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst, and an ISA Featured Blogger. She studied abroad with ISA Service Learning in Galway, Ireland.

1. The Beautiful Land I Got to Explore

Heading to Ireland I expected to see a lot of green landscapes and a lot of sheep, but what I actually got to experience was so much more. Staying in Galway, which is on the west coast of Ireland, offered a constant sea breeze and a beautiful coastline that I could get to in under a 15-minute walk. I saw the magnificent Cliffs of Moher, which I deem to be one of the wonders of the world that is a must see.

This is a photo of me of a great day at the Cliffs! I am taking in all the beauty!

I saw cows, horses, donkeys, and sheep, all while experiencing the beautiful mountains and rivers throughout Connemara. I got to ride a bike through the largest of the Aran Islands and see the beaches and the cliffs. Walking the streets of Galway vs the streets of Dublin, I felt as though I was in a whole different country. I saw various cities and got to experience them all on different scales. What I learned from this experience is Ireland is more than just rolling green hills and sheep, don’t get me wrong there is a lot of that, but so much more to explore.

2. The Amazing Friends I Met

I was worried that going to a different country with a lot of people that I did not know, that I was not going to make any friends or enjoy the social aspect of being abroad. However, on the first the day of being in Ireland I met some friends that I truly feel I will be friends with for a long time to come. We became closer through the excursions we went on and living in the same apartment or next to each other.

My Service-Learning girls taking on the Aran Islands!

Living in an apartment area, where locals lived, also allowed for me to meet some people from Ireland who help us with our Irish knowledge and helped us to get to know the area. There are many memories we made through our service-learning experiences and our adjusting/living abroad together that I will never forget. I am very thankful for this experience for bringing me together with a great group of girls.

Kenzie and I at Kylemore Abbey taking in the view from this sculpture!

3. The Skills and Knowledge I Gained Through my Service-Learning Placement

I got to do my Service-Learning at a college, community run radio station, Flirt FM, in which I was able to help the station with what they needed help with. My fellow service learner, Olivia and I got to have our own radio show. Through this service I was able to gain skills in broadcasting, which is an area I am interested in for my future career, through our show we put out each week. I was also able to learn how to find/search for things that can be done to help the organization without necessarily being asked or appointed the specific task. I gained helpful life lessons and was able to connect with my supervisors and other volunteers about the goal of the station and how we can approach achieving that goal each and every day.

Catch our show First Impressions!

All in all I would never change this experience for anything (except for maybe staying there for a longer program). I loved my placement, the friends I made, the beautiful land of Ireland, and of course my lovely ISA supervisors and staff that helped.

The world awaits…discover it.

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