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Dublin, Newry, Derry / Londonderry, Belfast, Ireland, Northern Ireland

Program Description

This program is open to undergraduate or graduate students pursuing teacher licensure in any subject area including art, music, theatre, or special education and serving children of any age-early childhood, elementary, middle, or secondary. This cross-cultural field experience will provide valuable opportunities for JMU students to experience a variety of approaches to teaching and learning at host schools while assisting teachers and other educators to facilitate learning in diverse settings.

Each JMU student will be placed in a public school classroom within the community of Newry, Northern Ireland. JMU students will be expected to lead students in instructional activities within small and/or large group settings as well as actively participate in academic and nonacademic activities of the host schools. JMU students will also engage in and lead cross-cultural dialogues with students at St. Colman's College. Weekly seminars are held in which students reflect on and analyze the impacts of contextual factors on the culture of the classroom and school community. JMU students will also visit several locations outside of Newry to gain a better understanding of Irish culture, mythology, and political groups.

Location Description

Newry, a small city in County Down, Northern Ireland, is a center of natural beauty and cultural intrigue. Newry presents an ideal location to take in the range of the Irish experience. With its location between Dublin and Belfast, Newry offers an ideal staging area to visit important natural and cultural sites such as Slieve Gullion and Lough Carlingford. Students also have the opportunity for weekly visits to a local pub to experience traditional music and sporting activities played by locals.

In addition, students will visit sites in Derry/Londonderry, Belfast, and Dublin that played key roles in the sectarian conflict between Protestants and Catholics in order to better understand how this rift continues to influence schools in current society. As part of these visits, students will also explore historic sites such the walls of Derry/Londonderry, the Doagh Famine Village, and the Titanic Center in Belfast in order to gain a better understanding of key events within Irish history. Extended visits to various natural sites such as the Giant’s Causeway, the Cliffs of Moher, and the Aran Islands will provide unique experiences for discovering the immense beauty of Ireland.


Reece Wilson | | Early, Elementary, and Reading Education

Robbie Higdon | | Middle, Secondary, and Mathematics Education


During the program, students will be primarily housed in the former priests’ corridor at St. Colman’s College in Newry, N. Ireland. The corridor has a full kitchen, internet access, and two common rooms. Students are housed two in a room with most rooms having an ensuite bath; some students will share bathroom facilities on the corridor. Male and female students are NOT allowed to reside on the same hall at St. Colman’s College. Therefore, some students and one director may be housed on an alternate hall in St. Colman’ with one student per room and using a shared hall bathroom. During travel to locations outside Newry, students will stay in hostel accommodations with up to six students placed into a room and sharing hall bathroom facilities.

Breakfast is provided daily either in the kitchens on the residence halls, in the canteen at St. Coleman’s, or at the weekend lodging location. Shared food items such as bread, cereal, milk, butter, jelly, coffee, tea, etc. will be provided to students. Students will be given a meal stipend in the local currency for designated lunches and suppers. Students will be given multiple opportunities to purchase food for these meals OR to eat in local restaurants in Newry or during weekend travel. Students may pack a lunch or eat a meal at their host schools. Tentatively, we plan to have two evening meals a week provided by the canteen at St. Colman’s. Periodically, the entire group will have a scheduled meal together and paid for using program funds.

Additional Items to Consider

All applicants will be required to participate in an interview with the co-directors prior to the review of their application. Interview dates and times will be emailed to applicants upon the completion of their program application.

Applicants who are accepted must hold a valid passport good through six months beyond the end date of the program AND provide a criminal background check to school officials in Northern Ireland. Students also must bring their JMU ID with them to Ireland.

There are NO visa or immunization requirements for this short-term study abroad program.

Only enthusiastic, positive-minded, culturally-aware-and-interested students need apply. We seek students who will look for the very best in every situation, especially as it relates to the demands and challenges of living, working, and traveling in a foreign country. While social opportunities will abound, this program is first and foremost an academic experience and carries along with it significant responsibilities and expectations for professional behaviors and dispositions.

Applicant Criteria

Applicants must have a GPA minimum of 2.5

Prerequisites: PSYC 160 Lifespan Human Development; EDUC 300 Foundations of Education

Students must be pursuing an initial teacher-licensure program at JMU or at another NCATE/TEAC/CAEP accredited institution. Education students from other universities/colleges are welcome to apply!

Application Process

This list serves as an application preview. To apply, students will need to complete the following:

  • Study Abroad Online Application ($25 fee)
  • Short Essay
  • Interview with Program Director
  • Official transcript required for non-JMU students

Further details and instructions about these application requirements will be available upon log-in. 

Program CLOSED.

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Application Deadline


All dates are tentative and subject to change


EDUC 490: Special Topics in Education: Exploring Diversity within a Cross-Cultural Educational Field Experience (3 credits)

EDUC 501: Special Topics in Education: Exploring Diversity within a Cross-Cultural Educational Field Experience (3)

Courses listed here are to be used as a general guideline for program curriculum. *All courses are considered pending until approved by the Academic Department, Program, and/or College.


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