Thank you for your interest in the class to Ireland. This class is well established and is anticipating visiting the West Coast of Ireland!
This is a two-week experiential course that requires travel to Ireland. During the two-week class you will learn about the social, economic, and political welfare of this country. You will learn about Ireland and the Irish systems through a combination of several methods including: lectures from Irish social work experts
agency visits interactions/interviews with Irish citizens classes with Irish MSW students lectures and discussions with GVSU professor and class members travel to famous Irish landscapes assigned readings journal writing After flying in to the Shannon airport, you will spend the first three days in the Dingle Peninsula area. While recovering from jetlag, you will stay in a local hotel or hostel. While visiting communities on the peninsula, you will begin to take in the differences in culture and landscape, and meet with citizens to discuss their access to health care. Leaving Dingle, you will head north to live and study in the city of Galway while residing in an international student hostel. You will meet social work professionals and Irish social work students, listen and respond to lectures, and visit social work agencies. Experts in the areas of social services from the Health Service Executive present information to our class on a variety of social issues including: family support, substance abuse, minorities, racism, domestic violence, asylum seekers, and the administration of the Health Service Executive. You will have opportunities to take day trips using a variety of travel methods to the Aran Island of Inishmoore, Doolin, the Cliffs of Moher, and Dublin.
The class culminates with a brief stay in Lisdoonvarna, a rural community south of Galway. There, you will recuperate and reflect during a two-day debriefing at the hostel. The goals of this class include: improving your knowledge of Ireland, improving your knowledge of the European Union, and considering the effect of the strong economy on this rural culture. You will learn that diversity is not simply about the obvious, like race and gender but also about ethnicity and history. You will learn about the struggle for civil rights between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. In addition, we will learn about the social services in Galway and the role of social workers and other health professionals.  

All students, bachelor and master level, are welcome to this class. The class will be composed of 12 students who will submit complete application, offer the best writing/thinking sample, and submit the best references.  It is important to remember that we travel on budget, live in hostels that are often inhabited by youthful world travelers. You should plan on giving up the comforts of home and be prepared to live simply and with joy for the travel opportunity!

Approximate cost $2400+ food and 3 credit hours.

Course Credit:
SW 354: International Service (Undergraduate) or SW 630: Global Service Learning (Graduate)

Please contact me if you have any questions at my email address,

Joan Borst, Ph.D., LMSW
Ireland International class School of Social Work Grand Valley State University

Page last modified October 27, 2015