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Dublin, Derry/Londonderry, Galway, Ireland, Northern Ireland

Program Description

Students enrolled in this 6-credit program explore stories and communities of Ireland and Northern Ireland to reflect on the communication of conflict and identity in the Irish context. In weeks prior to departure, students complete reading and writing assignments made available on Canvas that introduce the social and political tensions of Northern Ireland's past and present, provide resources regarding customs of Ireland, and promote reflective discussion of conflict and identity as lived and storied experiences. While in Ireland and Northern Ireland, we will participate in class instruction and group learning activities, tour sites and meet with experts of Irish history and culture, and engage with community members involved in advocacy and healing so as to better understand the complexity of Irish conflict and identity as storied by “The Troubles,” Brexit, and borders. This presents us with engaged learning experiences for later reflecting on how complex social tensions in the U.S. can also be understood in terms of how people story culture, conflict and identity. Of equal importance, we 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, some 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.

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 the importance of personal stories and cultural narrative, from any number of perspectives including cultural and interpersonal communication, justice studies, advocacy, community building, multiculturalism and diversity, religion, and politics. While, SCOM 395 and SCOM 413 can be used to fulfill 300-400 elective requirements for students majoring or minoring in Communication Studies, you do not need to be a SCOM major or minor to appreciate or contribute to the learning experience.

Location Description

Trinity College in Dublin serves as our opening site for dorm accommodations, classroom lectures, museum tours, and discussions of conflict and identity in Ireland’s history. We then move to the ancient walled city of Derry/Londonderry, the second largest city in Northern Ireland, where we meet with local experts, artists, and educators to learn how communities attempt to remember, heal, and rebuild from tragic violence through memorials, folk traditions, and storytelling. Organized tours of Donegal and Giant's Causeway provide opportunities for us to enjoy nature’s beauty and witness how communities try to manage tensions of growing tourism industry, encroached ancient lands and beaches, and evolving changes to the social landscape brought about by Brexit. We then move on to Galway for a short stay in apartments. Class time here is used to reflect on storied conflict in our own lives, with free time to enjoy local music and fare and explore nearby sites, such as the Cliffs of Moher. We return by train to Trinity College to close out our class learning experience and enjoy local activities. Expect the daily weather to be cool and possibly wet (with highs in mid 60’s and lows in 50’s), the natural settings to be beautiful, and the people to be friendly.


Carlos G. Aleman | | SCOM

Melissa W. Aleman | | SCOM


We stay in college residence housing while at Trinity College, Dublin, and in hotel/apartment accommodations while in Derry and Galway. Students share their accommodations at all locations with 2-4 occupants, with no more than 2 persons per room. Accommodations at Trinity College and Galway include shared living space and a full kitchen. Accommodations at all sites includes free Wi-Fi internet access and private bathrooms and showers. There is on-site access to laundry facilities at Trinity and Galways, as well as commercial laundry services available at all sites for a reasonable cost. Secure public transportation to and from Dublin International Airport, and to all program locations and sites will be arranged by your program directors and is covered by your program fee. 

Students will receive modest meal stipends that will cover approximately 14 meals per week, typically lunch and dinner. There are many options for dining at all locations, but students should plan to spend their own money on light snacks and make use of kitchen accommodations. 

Additional Items to Consider

Students should plan to arrive and meet at the Dublin International Airport by 12:00 noon on May 30. From there our group will ride local airport transit directly to accommodations at Trinity College. Travel to Derry/Londonderry, Galway, and back to Dublin will be by coach bus. 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. 
A laptop computer and cell phone are required for completing assignments on-site. Wi-Fi is available at no charge at all housing accommodations. International roaming on U.S. cellular phones for Ireland can be costly, so you should see your cell phone provider for the international packages. 
We will be walking on cobblestone during many of our city tours and on some rugged terrain at Giant's Causeway and other and historic areas, so it is recommended that you bring sturdy, comfortable shoes. 

Students will be required to have proof of COVID-19 vaccination and to abide by all COVID-19 requirements for traveling to and in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland/UK at the time of travel. This may require producing a rapid negative COVID-19 test to board your airline to and from the program.
Finally, a significant portion of our program focuses on how conflict is personally experienced in social and political contexts of Ireland’s and Northern Ireland’s histories and cultures. In addition to class reading and discussion of these topics, some guest speakers will offer personal accounts of their experiences. Your instructors will help prepare you for these encounters, as these stories are often tragic and can be moving. 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 social tension than by listening to and reflecting on these first-hand accounts.

Applicant Criteria

Applicants must have a GPA minimum of 2.0

SCOM 394 and SCOM 413 can be used to fulfill 300-400 elective requirements for students majoring or minoring in Communication Studies, you do not need to be a SCOM major or minor.

Open to all majors.

Application Process

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

  • Study Abroad Online Application ($40 fee)
  • Short Essay 
  • Official transcript required for non-JMU students

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

Application Deadline


All dates are tentative and subject to change


SCOM 395: Communication Studies 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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