Week 4:
Finding My Place

International Fellow in Elementary Education

Holy Family Junior School | Ennis, Ireland

November 17, 2018

Last week was loads of fun and having my family in Ireland has been nothing less than extraordinary. This week, week four, many things made a difference in my experience abroad:

1. Traveling around County Clare–Bunratty Historical Village: A beautiful quaint village just a twenty-five-minute drive from Ennis.

Bunratty Castle- with my younger brother and dad

2. Teaching–In another first-year classroom (which compares to first grade in America) we identified living and non-living objects. Students were then asked to draw their own example of a living and non-living object. With Christmas around the corner, students naturally, were drawing Christmas characters such as The Grinch. Students drew the Grinch in both “non-living” and “living” categories. After discussing, we came to the conclusion that both could be considered correct, as the Grinch is living in the movie, but he is a fictional character, making him non-living.

My family picture with Ms. Dilger, Holy Family Junior School Principal

3. Being a mini tour guide for Ennis– Having my family in Ennis was an excellent way to show my knowledge and understanding of the town. I amazed myself with the advice and suggestions I could give after being here just four weeks.

4. Finding comfort abroad–Active Ennis Fitness Center: being able to work out and take time to have a mental release of long days is very helpful for both my physical and mental well being.

5. Food: beef lasagna, at the Preacher’s Pub within the Temple Gate Hotel, I have found my most beloved meal here in Ireland. They serve the lasagna with chips, a salad, and a piece of garlic bread.

Beef Lasagna from Preacher’s Pub

Overall, week four has been absolutely amazing and I am very grateful that my family was able to visit me. As the weeks continue, I grow more and more as an individual, deepening my values and beliefs and morals both in the classroom and out. My thought processes have shifted, and I have been making more connections subconsciously. I connect back to the lessons I taught at Garner and incorporate the knowledge I gained from that experience to best serve the students at Holy Family. I also connect to similarities and differences within the culture of Ireland, and also the daily interactions I encounter.

Two differences that I am mentioning between the United States and Ireland are slang terms and driving. One language difference that I have noticed between Irish and American culture, for instance, using the word craic pronounced “crack” in Ireland means fun or entertaining. Hearing students and staff say “this is craic” still catches my attention in a big way! Another thing I am still working on getting a hang of after four weeks is remembering that people drive on the left side in Ireland. When navigating through town, I am always quickly reminded that the driver is on the right side of the car, instead of the left. Maybe by the end of my experience, I will figure this out.

A couple of similarities between the United States and Ireland are the style of clothing and the main language being English. Clothing in Ireland is a bit less casual than in the United States, but overall my everyday wardrobe choices are very similar in both the school setting as well as outside the school. Although in both the United States and Ireland, people are speaking multiple different languages, both country’s main language is English. This has made my travel and teaching experience much easier.

Check back for week five updates on a trip to the Cliffs of Mohr with fellow Cornellian, Emelie Ahrendsen who is coming to visit for Fall Break.

Tegan Shelton '19

Tegan is an elementary education major from Spring Grove, Illinois.