The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is exactly 4053.95 miles away from Trinity College Dublin. I distinctly remember the excitement and giddiness that coursed through my veins at the time of my acceptance because I had dreamed of studying abroad at Trinity College since the beginning of my college experience. Trinity is a world-renowned institution and I knew I wanted to challenge my own views and grow as a global citizen here. Throughout the application process, I repeatedly read and heard about how different the American educational system is to Ireland, however, I did not fully grasp how different it would be until I was sitting in an auditorium at orientation thousands of miles away from home.
Before coming to Trinity for a semester abroad, Irish history was mostly a mystery to me.
Attending public school in the Midwestern United States, Irish history was only touched on in a minor way, classes such as AP European History, where a subtle mention of British battles to expand their occupation of Ireland were entwined with Scottish rebellions and other British-colonial expeditions. Meanwhile, the Irish community in my town was virtually non-existent, or at least as blind to their history as I am of my genealogical predecessors. Thus, events liked “The Troubles” and people like Michael Collins were treated more as answers to Jeopardy questions than consequential historical figures.