Four-week study term in Ireland checks key boxes for rising senior Teagan McCaffrey

July 13, 2023
By Elizabeth Syverson '23

Teagan McCaffrey, far left, with fellow members of her study program in Ireland. The photo behind the headline shows a dramatically beautiful scene that Teagan captured in her Ireland travels and study.

Earlier this summer Teagan McCaffrey ‘24 embarked on a four-week long study abroad trip to Ireland. A criminology and psychology double major with a minor in sociology, McCaffrey studied the Crime, Terrorism, and Justice module at the University of Limerick. During her time abroad she learned about everything from music and dance to prisons and law.

“I have wanted to travel to Ireland for a while,” she said, “plus I wanted to go to an English-speaking country where it would be easy for me to communicate with the locals. I have also Irish danced for 12 years, so I wanted to be able to go to the place where it started.”

Beyond the simple desire to go, McCaffrey had many other factors to consider before crossing the ocean. After missing the application deadline for the spring study abroad session, McCaffrey reevaluated her options and decided that a four-week summer program was the best way to be able to see a new country while still having time to enjoy a summer full of family and friends, work, and preparation for the upcoming academic year.

“Cost was also a big contributing factor for me,” she said. “So being able to study abroad for a four-week term was cheaper than a full semester.”


The Cliffs of Maher.

To make her decision, McCaffrey looked at the list of pre-approved programs offered by the Study Abroad Office and attended many of the virtual open houses to ask questions about the programs in which she was most interested. “Then I got my list down to my top three choices and created an Excel sheet to see the benefits and costs of each program,” she said.

Ultimately deciding on Ireland, McCaffrey took full advantage of both the academic and cultural lessons that Ireland had to offer during her short stint abroad. At the University of Limerick, McCaffrey said she had the opportunity to meet with an array of professors in the field. “[The Crime, Terrorism, and Justice module] was a broad module giving information about different sections of law from different professors each day, sometimes twice a day,” she said.


Teagan makes friends with Irish cows.

Outside of the classroom, the study abroad leaders guided the students around Ireland, visiting Galway, Dublin, the Ring of Kerry, and the Cliffs of Moher. As part of the course module, McCaffrey also had the opportunity to visit Spike Island, an island prison which closed in 2004. On these excursions from the University, McCaffrey said she was able to learn about the language, music, and dance of Ireland.

“My favorite part was being able to travel in a country where people were very kind to each other as well as visitors. The locals were so nice to everyone and there was never a situation where I felt uncomfortable being alone,” McCaffrey said.

“[The four-week study abroad trips] are also a good option if you haven’t traveled outside the country before or have had limited exposure to traveling,” she said. “You don’t get homesick like you may get studying abroad for a full semester.”

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