Hello again!  It’s been awhile since I have tuned all the friends, family, faculty, and supporters into what our group has been doing. In two words:  Diligently Working. Students have been putting their heads down and hands on the keyboard writing up their final 2500 word photo essays to accompany their triptych representation of their 5-week intensive qualitative research. These students have had to produce at lightning speed throughout this course.  Many students have shared their surprise at how much work they have completed in 5 weeks. As an instructor, I am proud to say these students have upheld the world-class quality exemplified at UIC here, at our “home away from home”, UCD.  Our students are humble, so I’ll do the boasting for them… this group is top notch quality and it was an honor to work closely with them. There were some learning curves along the way, but they have taken what they have learned, adjusted, redrafted, re-examined, and produced.

Yesterday, we had an opportunity to come together one more time, before the gallery exhibition of their final work, to commune with Irish nature and connect with each other.

This trip was to Glendalough (“The valley of the two lakes”), with our UCD ambassador Lisa as our hiking guide. We laughed. We reflected. We ate scones and chips. And then we laughed some more. All the students have spent the last 5 weeks in class and with their host sites, this will be the last time we will be together sharing in the beauty of Ireland. While pausing to take in the lush greenry and rolling mountains (Click here to see a clip of our hike)(Click here to see a clip of a mountain stream), a sense of bittersweet satisfaction could be felt.

Cheers to Ireland! Hello to the USA!

Cheers to Ireland! Hello to the USA!

On one hand there is a pull to be back with our loved ones. On the other hand, there have been strong bonds and camaraderie formed with our Irish hosts. So, as the hours count down to the gallery exhibition and flights back home, we look toward familiar faces waiting at O’Hare as we say to our Irish friends, “This isn’t goodbye, just see you later…”

And until next time, stay lucky my friends.