2008-09-05 / Letters

A Once In A Lifetime Experience

Dear Editor,

This summer I was granted the opportunity to attend a Celtics Course in order to obtain 3 college credits concerning Ireland history. After numerous classes this course concluded with a weeklong trip to Ireland. I cannot thank Dr. Cashin, Mr. O'Connell, our teachers, chaperones, and tour guides enough for this wonderful opportunity. The knowledge and support they provided have enabled all to create their own personal connections and realizations throughout the trip.

This journey started as the 10 students from Channel View met with the 10 students from Scholars' Academy. It took a couple of classes to become familiar with one another, but in time the ice was broken. By the time Ireland came around, everyone felt comfortable sitting and talking as if we had known each other for years; and as the trip endured, so did the close bond between us. We all shared the same new responsibilities, excitements, and wonders of a new environment. I specifically remember sitting in a conference room, mid-way into our trip as everyone reflected upon what they had seen. Our instructors guided us in many directions, which resulted in everyone coming to numerous conclusions about Ireland and the role it played in our history. Eventually everyone was building off each other's ideas, as a powerful rare conversation across the room had developed.

In America, many people often forget that we weren't the only ones who fought for our freedom, struggled through stereotypes, and had domestic issues. It's surprising how even countries across an ocean have similar problems; knowing this allows me to further explore the idea that all people share certain traits regardless of time and place.

Initially there were many of us who didn't understand the significance behind visiting a thousand year old rock, tree or castle. However after fully understanding the history of Irish culture, we were able to put things into perspective. These rocks, trees and castles were symbols of past years fight to freedom and a better life. It was in those very rooms in castles and on carvings in rocks that certain individuals were present, such as Oscar Wilde and Queen Victoria who would change the course of history for all Irish mankind.

I would like to tell you what the ultimate highlight of this trip was however, that would be impossible to pinpoint. Looking out the window on our tour bus, from Shannon to Dublin, was alone remarkable. All the greenery, and well preserved history going back thousands of years still amazes me when thinking about it. Other excitements such as kissing the Blarney stone, I will remember forever, while watching River Dance enabled me to truly see the beauty in Irish arts, and their strong culture.

The Irish literature we read, history learned, and reports that we wrote have taught me a significant amount about our world, and where we stand. Knowing that Ireland holds such an intense past further encourages me to visit and explore other parts of the world. I know this trip has kept my summer productive, and will help me in the long run when applying to colleges. The personal insight and connections I was able to make has enabled me to grow and mature as a more intellectual being.

I can go on explaining events and things learned day by day, however reading about Ireland is not half as amazing as actually being there. I will carry this experience with me for my entire lifetime, and for that I cannot thank everyone enough.


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