Perhaps one of the most unique and cherished study abroad programs at Mercyhurst University is Mercyhurst in Ireland. Each spring semester, a limited number of students are given the opportunity to travel alongside multiple Mercyhurst professors to the small coastal town of Dungarvan, Ireland to live and study for a period of twelve weeks.
Dungarvan was a natural destination for Mercyhurst University's first overseas term. For more than twenty years, the university has maintained a special relationship with St. Augustine’s College in Dungarvan, granting scholarships to many of its graduates. One of those scholarships went to John Deasy ’90, now a town deputy for Waterford, who helped organize the Mercyhurst students' first visit to the town in 2010.
Mercyhurst in Ireland differs from any other program at the university because it allows students to spend an entire semester in a foreign country and integrate themselves fully into the culture and the community. The town of Dungarvan has warmly opened its heart to each new crop of Mercyhurst students since the beginning of the program, even giving them a special opportunity to march in the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade.
While living and studying in Dungarvan, students are also given the opportunity on weekends to travel in small groups around the rest of Ireland, as well as other European countries. These excursions allow for students to practice a great deal of independence, since students are given the freedom to arrange their own plans and itinerary for traveling, with the approval of the professors. During spring break, the entire group of students also travels to a different country with their professors. These mini excursions serve as a way for students to learn and broaden their horizons by experiencing different cultures and practicing independence.
Let us help you take the steps towards this unique and exciting opportunity. We can show what the rest of the world looks like.
Mercyhurst University's Study Abroad program exists so that its students may learn and find knowledge through travel and adventure. Each student traveler has their own experience and their own story to share. A few of these stories are featured below.
"Traveling to Dungarvan was an experience that changed me in more ways than I could have ever imagined. Every part of the trip was unexpected and incredible in some way, and I learned so much from seeing all the sights and meeting local friends. I was expecting to have a wonderful experience in Ireland, but I could never have predicted how much my world view would be changed and my entire mindset shifted. The person that I grew to be will be a part of me for the rest of my life!"
Class of 2017
"My time in Ireland changed me for the better! This experience taught me that the world is not as scary as we are taught to believe; Europe isn't constantly filled with tragedy! I believe every student that studies abroad comes back a new person. Studying abroad is about more than just studying in a different country. It's about making friendships that will last a lifetime. It's about adapting and fitting into a new culture. Finally, it's about gaining an experience that some people never have the chance to have. All of these are aspects that make me believe that every student should study abroad."
Class of 2016
"Study abroad in Ireland was one of the best experiences of my life and of my college career so far. I went into the program only knowing a few people and came back with a second family and home. The incredible places I visited along with the amazing people I met along the way will forever be embedded in my heart. I would encourage anyone and everyone to study abroad at Mercyhurst. The feeling I got from the
three months in Ireland along with the valuable knowledge from the different cultures is something that I will forever be grateful for."
Class of 2017
"I'd heard from many friends who went to Ireland how incredible their experience was, but I didn't fully understand until I saw it for myself. My semester in Dungarvan was the time in my college career when I learned the most, both in the classroom and out. My experience abroad changed me for the better, and now, Dungarvan will always be my second home."
Class of 2017
"I've met so many incredible people and seen so many incredible things that I wouldn't have had the opportunity to see if I hadn't spent that semester abroad. It was enriching to immerse myself in a new culture and explore aspects of how other people live. Ireland will forever hold a special place in my heart."
Class of 2017
"When I went to Ireland in Spring 2014, it was everything that I could have ever hoped for out of a study abroad opportunity. Ireland was incredible in its own right, but I also loved the spring break trip to Paris and my side trip to an island in Spain off of the Mediterranean. Ireland was more beautiful than anything I had ever seen before. When the Irish folk stopped me in the middle of the street or in the library, or anywhere really, it was amazing talk to them. The Irish LOVE the Hurst groups. They loved telling us where to shop, where to eat, or where to travel. They loved giving recommendations. They loved learning about us. The people of Dungarvan made the trip so much better because they included us. Paris changed my life; being immersed in the history and architecture while I roamed the streets was an amazing experience. Myself and some friends went to Spain after finals before we flew back to the US, and although it wasn't a full group trip, it was nice to end our three months of non-academic responsibility before going home to work and experience the "real world" again.
I still appreciate that we had the chance to go explore Europe while we were in Ireland, and that as long as we were attending class and turning in assignments, we had the freedom to roam. I certainly tried to experience as much as I could in three months, but on a grander scale, that trip was the trip of a lifetime and the fuel to my desire to explore our world (and even those bucket list items right in our country). I honestly encourage
everyone to experience studying abroad, whether it be through a full semester or even a mini trip. Your life truly changes for the better while studying abroad."
Class of 2014
Preparing to live abroad for twelve weeks can be stressful, which is why a list of FAQs can often help to settle the most anxious of travelers. The following FAQs have been compiled from past students that completed a semester in Dungarvan, Ireland. Their experiences, their triumphs, and their laments can now be used as knowledge for future student travelers awaiting their own adventure in the land of Éire.
Are there scholarships available for Mercyhurst in Ireland?
Yes. Each fall semester, students are notified via email of scholarships that Mercyhurst offers, with help from several generous donors. The scholarship amounts vary from one to the other. The following fall term, each recipient of the scholarships must make a presentation to fellow students that include information, event details, and photographs from their study abroad experience.
Am I allowed to use Tuition Management Systems (TMS) to assist with my Ireland fees?
No. Unfortunately, TMS must be cancelled before the travel period, and each student must have paid in full before they are permitted to leave. TMS may be reinstated once the student has returned from their study abroad trip.
What classes will I take?
Students often take the opportunity to complete many of their core requirements while in Ireland, including literature, philosophy, and history. The list of classes offered for Ireland vary from year to year. Online classes are also available to choose from.
What should I bring with me from home?
Most students feel pressured to bring more items from home with them than are necessary. Many who have completed a semester in Ireland will gladly pass on the advice that "less is more." Dungarvan is indeed a small town, but there are several stores and places to buy clothing, toiletries, groceries, and anything else one may need. Living abroad is a great opportunity to learn how to live with the essentials, but no matter what, each student can be sure that by the end of their semester abroad, they will be an expert packer!
P.S. Peanut butter is one of the only products from home that is difficult to find in Ireland, so most past travelers suggest that students who love their peanut butter pack a jar of their favorite spread in checked luggage.
You can also stop in to get more information during office hours.