SACRED Heart University's academic relationship with Dingle is going from strength to strength with 33 students from the third level institution in Connecticut completing an intensive two-week study abroad programme last Friday.
The students, who arrived in Dingle on December 28, participated in five programmes of study in theology, music, marketing, education and oceanography. Four of the courses were taught by SHU faculty while the oceanography programme was facilitated in conjunction with Kevin Flannery of Mara Beo. Dr. Aoife Ní Ghrainbhéil from Sráid Eoin taught the music programme.
The two week programme encompassed class work, guest speakers and site visits and, in the case of the marine biology section, practical field work was also carried out.
The students were also in town during the recent storms and gained invaluable experience of the power of nature, according to Professor John Rapaglia of SHU, who taught the Marine Biology Programme.
This is the first time that SHU students have been in Dingle to celebrate New Year's Eve and according to Seán Pól Ó Conchúir, Director of the Dingle Campus, the students had an amazing experience watching the fireworks, following the Dingle Fife and Drum Band around the town and then taking part in the countdown on Main Street.
"They all commented on the friendlessness of the people of Dingle and on the wonderful atmosphere on the night," he said.
Seán Pól also commented on the willingness and generosity of local people who gave their time in coming into class and speaking to students on subjects such as tourism, fishing and music.
SHU students also visited a number of local schools to learn about how the Irish education system differs from the American system.
Sacred Heart University also organised a poetry night, celebrating the life and poetry of Seamus Heaney.
The event was held in the chapel in An Díseart, which provided a beautiful setting for the night of poetry and music.
Dr. John Petillo, President of Sacred Heart University, visited Dingle during the programme; also visiting were Mike Kinney, SHU's Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration, Dr. Seamus Carey, the Dean of SHU's College of Arts and Sciences, Mark Izzo, Executive Director of University Construction and Dr. Gerald Reid, Director of the Sacred Heart University Dingle programme.