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Inch Island, Derry, Dublin, Galway, Ireland, Northern Ireland

Program Description

Students enrolled in this 6-credit program explore the culture and communities of Ireland and Northern Ireland in order to reflect on the communication of conflict and identity in the Irish context. In weeks prior to departure, students receive reading assignments and on-line instruction that introduce the social and political tensions of Northern Ireland's past and present, provide resources of cultural norms, communication style, and customs of Ireland, and promote reflective discussion of conflict from a communication perspective. While in Ireland and Northern Ireland, students receive class instruction, tour sites, and meet with professors and experts of Irish history and culture, media and business professionals, and members of local communities so as to learn more about the social and political conflict often referred to as "The Troubles." Students are thus presented with enriched and on-site learning experiences for reflecting on how social tensions can be understood in terms of how people communicate about conflict. Of equal importance, students will have opportunities to explore the beautiful geographies of ancient lands, enjoy folk traditions and local fare, and interact with members of communities so as to dispel common American stereotypes of Irish culture and conflict, and come to a greater understanding of the histories and diversity of cultures in Ireland. Because of the short duration of the visit while in Ireland, writing assignments necessary for the fulfillment of both courses will be submitted on-line at a prescribed due date after return to the United States.

Location Description

For over 12 years, the Inch House Irish Studies Center has served as our primary home and host in Northern Ireland for accommodations, guest lectures, and thoughtful discussions reflecting on excursions to nearby sites. Built in the 1600's and set in green fields overlooking a bay, the quaint and historic Inch House is a 15-minute drive from Derry, the second largest city in Northern Ireland. Within this ancient, walled city, we will take guided tours of historic sites, churches and museums, and will enjoy local fare and entertainment. Day visits to nearby cities offer additional opportunities to learn how communities attempt to remember, heal, and rebuild from tragic violence through memorials, folk traditions, and storytelling. Visits to Inishowen, County Donegal, Giant's Causeway, and a brief stay in Galway allow us to witness how communities try to manage tensions of disappearing manufacturing industries, the growing tourism industry, encroached ancient lands and beaches, and evolving changes to the social landscape brought about by Brexit. We begin and conclude the program in Dublin where we will stay in local university dorms. There we will have classroom opportunities to prepare for and reflect on our experiences and encounters in Northern Ireland, and enjoy guided tours, museums, and free time. Expect the daily weather to be cool and possibly wet (with highs in low to mid 60s/lows in the 40s and 50s), the natural settings to be beautiful, and the people to be friendly.


Carlos G. Aleman | | SCOM

Melissa W. Aleman | | SCOM


Accommodations in Northern Ireland will be at the Inch House Irish Studies Center. We will stay at college residence housing or a hotel while in Dublin and Galway. Students will be in shared rooms of 2-4 occupants in all instances.Transportation to and from sites in Northern Ireland is arranged by Inch House and covered by your program fee. Secure transportation to and from Dublin International Airport at your arrival and departure is arranged by your program directors via direct public transit, and is included with your program fee. Accommodations include free Wi-Fi internet access. Commercial laundry facilities are available in Dublin and Galway for a reasonable cost.

Our stay at Inch House includes access to kitchen, with daily breakfast and most dinners provided. Daily meal stipends will be provided while at Dublin and Galway, and at Inch House for any meals not provided during our stay. Students should plan to spend their own money on snacks.

Additional Items to Consider

Students should plan to arrive and meet at the Dublin International Airport by 12:00pm, June 1. From there our group will take direct public transportation to our accommodations in Dublin. Travel to Inch Island, within Northern Ireland, and to Galway will be by coach or bus provided by the Inch House. The currency in Northern Ireland is the British pound; the currency of the Republic of Ireland (Dublin, Galway) is the euro. Meal stipends will be allocated in pounds or euros, depending on location.

Wi-Fi is free at the Inch House, and typically available at most other locations. It is possible to get international roaming on U.S. cellular phones for Ireland, but can be costly. You should see your cell phone provider for more details.

We will be walking on cobblestone during many of our city tours and some rugged terrain during excursions to Inishowen and Giant's Causeway and other historic areas, so it is recommended that you bring sturdy, comfortable shoes.

There are no required immunizations.

Finally, a large portion of our program at the Inch House focuses on how conflict is experienced in social and political contexts of Northern Ireland histories and cultures. In addition to academic discussion on these topics, some guest speakers will offer first hand accounts of their personal experiences. These personal stories are often tragic and can be quite moving. Your instructors and the Inch House staff will help prepare you for these encounters. While some students may find some stories to be unsettling, there is probably no better way to truly understand the implications and lived experiences of conflict, and the complexities of conflict resolution than by listening to and reflecting on these first-hand accounts.

Applicant Criteria

Applicants must have a GPA minimum of 2.0

This program is ideal for anyone interested in learning more about the culture and history of Ireland. It is also very well suited for students with an interest in studying the communication dynamics of conflict and conflict resolution, and the importance of personal and cultural narrative, from any number of perspectives including cultural and interpersonal communication, justice studies, advocacy, community building, multiculturalism and diversity, religion, and politics.

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 
  • 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


SCOM 395: Study Abroad Seminar (3 credits)

SCOM 413: Advanced Topics in Communication Studies: Communication, Conflict, and Identity (3 credits)

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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