Saddleback’s theater program taking trip abroad to Ireland

Lariat (photo from Nick Garabedian)

Saddleback College showcased a three-week-long study abroad program to Ireland for students coming in summer 2020. Saddleback’s own theatre arts program will be diving into the Irish theater and film culture from Jun. 27 until Jul. 18.

“This trip changed my whole perception of the world,” said Nick Garabedian, a current theater major who attended the study abroad program in 2018. “Going into Ireland, I was trying to find a sense of identity, which is a theme in Ireland. The culture has a rich history when it comes to identity.”

Students who are looking to join the program will travel across the world to immerse themselves in an entirely different culture and take away the main aspects of the Irish arts and lifestyle.

The program is approximately $3,295 including: shared student apartments, two weeks in Galway, theater performances and film screenings, film and art festival admission in Galway, backstage tour of Abbey Theatre, Ferry trip to the Aran Islands, entrance fees to Dublin museums, one week in Dublin with lunch and two Irish breakfasts, a welcome dinner in Dublin with a city tour and a farewell dinner. Air travel for the trip not included.

Many former people involved with the trip can seek financial aid by applying for scholarships or fundraising themselves.

“The trip is expensive but many students of mine have raised money through fundraisers to be able to go,” said Professor William McGuire, chair of the theater department.

Professor McGuire is Irish himself. For over 20 years, he has spent his summers with his wife and kids in Ireland, and for the last 12, he oversaw the study abroad program. The trip for McGuire has an emphasis on culture and identity.

“For me, it’s starting to know the culture,” McGuire said. “They are all about the craic. The craic in Ireland is fun and that is really what Ireland is all about.”

Students will immerse in cultural experiences like a Dublin literary pub crawl and a hurling match, along with tours of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the Guinness factory, and Dublin Castle and they will also stay in Ireland’s oldest university Trinity College.

McGuire compares Trinity library to ones depicted in “Harry Potter” films and novels. He says anywhere from six to 25 people attend the trip each year.

The students’ schedule for Dublin will consist of class and guest seminars in the mornings and cultural events, screenings and performances in the afternoons and evenings. While at Trinity, students will have some free time in the evenings.

Accommodation in Galway will be apartments with a personal bedroom and kitchen. Attendees will be walking to all events and classes while they are in Galway, with exception to some full-day field trips.

“I am interested, this is definitely better than other trips they offer,” said business major attendee Jonathan Flores in regards to other trips abroad that Saddleback has offered.

He talked about the importance of how long the trip is saying that this trip is a week longer than the Costa Rica trip he was looking into going. He says he wants to experience being outside of the country.

“I want to go [to Ireland] to drink, that is a fun reason and a cool experience,” Flores said. While some may go for the culture and art, others may look towards the simpler things for a reason to go abroad to Ireland for the summer.