International Programs  

About the Ireland Program

Ireland is a small island country with a rich and varied history. While it is a "Western" and English-speaking nation with some of the historical factors, traditions, and values shared with other Western nations, ours included, there are significant differences. The Ireland Program provides students with the opportunity to live and travel abroad in order to experience these differences, while at the same time earning a full semester's academic credit. The program has always focused on the goal of in-depth experience of another culture, a culture as rich and varied as its countryside. To achieve the cultural immersion objective, we have designed the academics, excursions, housing, and community engagement opportunities to interrelate and intensify the immersion experience.

Since the program was established in 1972, hundreds of students have taken advantage of this unique program, and many feel it has been the highlight of their college experience.

>Student blog

AQ in the Irish News
The RTE (Irish National Radio) broadcast on July 21, 2014 highlighted Connemara West (AQ's main Irish partner for the Ireland Program), its successes in community engagement, and Aquinas' influential role in that success. Connemara West owns and manages the cottages which serve as the campus for our Ireland Program. Connemara West also spearheads many rural community development organizations in the areas of Tully Cross and Letterfrack. Many of these organizations host Aquinas students as interns during the Ireland Program semester. The program aired on 'Today with Sean O'Rourke.' This is RTE's most popular mid-morning radio show with 312,000 people tuning in.
>Listen Now (The segment featuring AQ starts at 1:30:46.)


The curriculum is centered on several aspects of Irish studies. Three core courses of four semester hours each are required of all participants. Core courses include Irish History, Irish Culture, and Irish Literary Heritage. Elective classes include the Teachers’ Aides in National Schools course, the Ireland Community Aides Internship course, and a Hiking course.


Students may also choose up to 18 semester hours, including electives. A maximum of 15 semester hours is recommended, however, to allow for travel, community living experiences, and cultural assimilation. Under certain conditions, students with special needs in their majors may study independently. Arrangements should be made with the resident faculty directors and the student’s faculty advisor. The arrangements must conform to the standards set for independent study on campus.


Teachers’ Aides in National Schools Elective Course

This course affords a unique opportunity for future teachers to work weekly in Irish schools in cooperation with Irish teachers and the Aquinas faculty. Due to new restrictions, it is required for the students to be part of the Aquinas College Education Program in order to participate in this elective.

There are four National Schools (preschool through elementary) within a three-mile radius of the Aquinas College Study Center in Tully Cross. These are two-room schools with one room for the upper levels (grades 4-6), and one for the lower (grades K-3).  Past Aquinas students have found the experience as an excellent way to obtain international classroom experience and a great way to get to know people -- teachers, students, and their families - in the community.


Ireland Community Aides Internship Elective Course

This course aims to offer participants an internship experience within the local community of Tully Cross. This course will be coordinated by one or both of the Ireland faculty in partnership with Connemara West, a community owned and managed rural development non-profit organization that manages the cottages which serve as our Aquinas Ireland Study Center in Tully Cross. The organization has myriad programs in the Tully Cross area including conservation efforts; library; community radio; cultural center and events; and educational, research and recreation programs. Connemara West has been a key partner in our Ireland Program since 1973.

The Ireland Community Aides Internship course will provide students the opportunity to learn and gain meaningful experiences in a hands-on environment. The internships will occur during the Spring semester schedule (typically mid-January through early May) of the Aquinas College Ireland Program. Students participating in the internships will not receive payment for their efforts. However, they will receive three credits issued by Aquinas College for the successfully completed internship work through the Ireland Community Aides Internship elective course.




Each year approximately 20-25 students and two Aquinas faculty members live in thatched-roof cottages that serve as our Ireland Program Study Center in Tully Cross, Ireland.

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