CSA group explores Ireland’s rich history of higher education

Ireland Study Abroad

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The prestigious Trinity College Dublin, founded in 1592, was on the list of eight schools students from the College Student Affairs (M.Ed.) graduate program visited during their two-week stay in Ireland. The group also explored Belfast, Limerick and Dublin.

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As one of the seven ancient universities of Britain and Ireland, Trinity College Dublin is considered among the most elite in Europe and best in the world. This month, a group of future college student affairs professionals from Bloomsburg University will see it firsthand.

The prestigious university, founded in 1592, is on the list of eight colleges students from the College Student Affairs (M.Ed.) graduate program will visit during their two-week stay in Ireland. Led by Mindy Andino, assistant professor of teaching and leader, the group will also explore Belfast, Limerick and other parts of Dublin.

“Ireland’s higher education system and universities are very well-established and are known all over the world for their quality of education,” Jonathan Gowin, CSA graduate student. “With this being the first graduate-level study abroad done by Bloomsburg University, we definitely wanted to make sure it was going to be successful, personally and professionally impactful, and of course, very educational.

" With that in mind, Ireland seemed like a natural choice.”

Gowin said a key objective of this experience is to develop an understanding of the structure and practice of college student affairs in Ireland and gain insight into international issues. To tie in the pre-trip meetings before the end of the spring semester involving a review of Ireland’s higher education system, Gowin said the group will met regularly during their abroad trip to discuss their observations and relate it back to their work in American higher education.

“I hope to be able to gain a global perspective on student affairs,” Kimberly Plaza, CSA graduate student. “It would be great to bring back ideas that are working for Ireland’s universities in all aspects of college life. Retention, academic success, mental health and sociability of students are all important factors we as CSA pros can learn more about to aid in student success.”

Plaza added, “I think it will also be a great experience to share with students about the benefits of study abroad programs.”

Ireland’s schooling system shares a large amount of similarities to the U.S. education system, according to Gowin, regarding both public and private higher education and various areas of study.

“I have fallen in love with higher education here in the states and am extremely curious to learn about how it functions internationally,” Gowin said. “Additionally, higher education in America is facing several challenges we in student affairs need to think creatively about in order to overcome them and continue to provide a quality education and life-changing developmental opportunities for our students.

"I’m hoping to come back to the U.S. with some innovative thoughts or ideas I can take with me as I head off into my first full-time role.”