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May the Road Rise Up to Meet You: CSI Students go to Ireland and Back Again

July 30, 2015

CSI faculty and students pose at Glendalough in County Wicklow. Glendalough, home to one of the most important monastic sites in Ireland, is an early Christian monastic settlement founded by St. Kevin in the 6th century.

For more than ten years, the College of Staten Island has partnered with the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) to give students from both schools the opportunity to study overseas and take advantage of a significant cultural exchange that effects students long after they graduate and pursue their careers.

This year, 23 students, 21 from the School of Business, recently returned from a 10-day-trip to Ireland as a part of the short-term summer program in Dublin. The number of students on the trip is a great example of the rising popularity and success of CSI’s partnership with DIT which balances studying with cultural activities and touring the Irish countryside.

The importance of studying overseas has grown as the world has shrunk, thanks in part to inexpensive travel costs and the internet.  With the DIT study abroad program, CSI students can stay one step ahead in their respective and very competitive fields of study.

The condensed, 10-day-session aims to pack as much in as possible combining several tours of Ireland such as a visit to Belfast and a tour of the Glendalough Monastery with lectures from DIT professors and the CEO of Adlens, Michael C. Ferrara. They took part in a tour of Intel’s large Irish facility and also visited the European corporate headquarters of Oracle where they spoke with key corporate representatives who shared candid insights about worldwide operations, career paths, and corporate culture. While staying at Trinity College in Dublin, the students were able to experience the history of the campus and visit the impressive library that houses the Book of Kells.

The CSI students prepared for the experience by studying the business climate in Ireland and selecting a topic for a research project. They were then able to continue and finalize their research through first-hand opportunities to engage with DIT faculty, businesses and a wealth of resources in Ireland.

“There is no substitute for this type of immersive learning experience,” said Dr. Susan Holak, Founding Dean of the School of Business at CSI, who accompanied the CSI students to Dublin—her first trip to Ireland—and was delighted by the level of immersion the students experienced, adding, “The students were exposed to information about Irish society, history, literature, and economic trends. Student accommodations were on the campus of Trinity College, Dublin—what an experience to live in a setting established in 1592!”

Professor Alan Zimmerman, who helped create this three credit summer session course, is encouraged by not only the rising number of students taking advantage of the partnership but by the diversity of the students. The 23 students were made up of 15 undergraduates and eight graduates, a number of whom were Professor Zimmerman’s students as undergraduates–Some as long as 12 years ago.

It is not just International Business majors who attended the trip, but business majors from several focuses were represented, as well as Engineering and Political Science.

Professor Zimmerman emphasized this diversity, saying, “It is important that we spread this experience to as many students as possible.” He went on to discuss the convenience of having a shorter, summer session to Dublin since “most CSI students are too busy to spend a full semester away; this trip allows students from all backgrounds to have the experience of studying overseas.”

CSI President Dr. William J. Fritz agrees that travelling overseas is an important  component of a student’s growth. “Every time you go overseas,” said President Fritz, “it changes you forever.”

 

 

 

 

By Carlo Alaimo


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