pic   students
Gougane Barra,
West Co. Cork Tour, 2013


Program Objectives

The Study Abroad in Ireland program has been designed to attract undergraduate and graduate students wanting an international experience that focuses on the delivery of educational and social services to individuals with developmental disabilities and their families in Ireland. Specifically, students from a wide range of disciplines (special education, speech and communication disorders, psychology, social work, child and family development, gerontology, occupational and physical therapy, nursing, recreation/leisure studies, adaptive P.E., music therapy etc.) with an interest in social, educational, vocational, recreational and/or health services for persons with developmental disabilities will be recruited to participate in this “service-learning” program. Prior experience with person with developmental disabilities is required; applicants with direct contact experience with adolescents and/or adults with disabilities are preferred. The program has two primary objectives:

  1. To provide participants with a cross-cultural experience in Cork, Ireland, where they will have the opportunity to work with Irish professionals as they volunteer their services to individuals with developmental disabilities.

  2. To provide participants with the opportunity to learn about Irish history, culture and traditions through in-country travel and attendance at social and cultural events.

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Program Requirements
castle pic

In addition, students will participate in several special events, including the COPE Foundation Performing Arts Festival, a visit to other COPE Foundation facilities in towns of West County Cork, and will have the opportunity to join in on some client and family-oriented social events.  During the 6th and final week of the program, students will visit another service organization in Ireland. These opportunities will accrue an additional 12 contact hours, thus accumulating a total of 132 contact hours with clients.  (see further description below).

The service component will be arranged by the Director and Co-Director of the Study Abroad in Ireland program, in cooperation with the COPE Foundation. The COPE Foundation is a non-profit organization that provides comprehensive services to over 1600 children and adults with special needs, and their families through its vocational education, sheltered employment, early intervention education, residential facilities, information dissemination, and recreation/leisure programs at over 60 locations throughout Cork city and county. The COPE Foundation also provides support to 3 schools serving children with special needs in Cork city.

Students will be required to enroll in a minimum of 6 semester hours during summer semester (“Thru Session”) that will include 3 semester hours of practicum (SPED 4440 or SPED 7440) requiring 120 contact hours with persons with special needs, their families, and/or persons who serve them. In addition, all participating students will enroll in a 3 semester hour didactic course titled “Cross Cultural Perspectives in Developmental Disabilities: Ireland” (SPED 4800 or SPED 6800). This seminar course will address Irish laws, policies, and models that pertain to the delivery of educational, therapeutic, and social services for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. Irish professionals from various disciplines will be invited to present at these weekly seminar meetings.  These courses have been approved as a “split level” courses, permitting enrollment by undergraduate and graduate study abroad participants.

The two required courses (SPED 4440/7440 and SPED 4800/6800) will comply with UGA course contact guidelines. Both 3 semester hour courses will be taught over a 6 week period in Ireland. Specifically, the practicum will require “contact hours” in the field over the 6 weeks period (132 hours total). The didactic course, “Cross Cultural Perspectives in Developmental Disabilities: Ireland” will meet in seminar twice a week across the 6 weeks (for a total of 28 seminar hours).  The practicum and seminar will be co-taught by the study abroad director and co-director.

The University of Georgia Study Abroad in Ireland: Developmental Disabilities program is committed to providing reasonable access and accommodations for people with disabilities upon request.  If you are selected to participate in this program and have a disability, and if you require reasonable classroom accommodations, please notify in writing prior to departure for the program in Ireland on or before May 10th.    

If you plan to request accommodations for a disability, please register with the Disability Resource Center as well:

Disability Resource Center
Division of Student Affairs

The University of Georgia

114 Clark Howell Hall

Athens, GA 30602-3338

(706)542-8719 (voice)

(706)542-7719 (fax)

(706)542-8778 (tty)


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Optional Coursework

As an option, participating students may request to enroll in a directed study with the study abroad director (SPED 4000, SPED 6000, SPED 8000) or with their academic advisor and facilitated by the study abroad director.

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Free Time

Cork Hurling Match

Students learn Ceili
(Irish Dance)      

Touring Blarney Castle

Clock Tower, Youghal, County Cork

traditional irish dancing castle clock tower

It should be noted that the study abroad program was intentionally designed as a 4 days/week program to allow students the opportunity to travel on their own while in Ireland. Ireland has a rich history and culture that students will be encouraged to investigate. To encourage their participation in Irish culture, the study abroad director and co-director will plan optional cultural activities for students during the six week period.  Activities may include a theatrical performance, traditional Irish dance and music festival, sporting event (hurling, Gaelic football), city tour, or visit to a local museum.  It should be noted that Cork was designated “European Capital of Culture” for 2005 because of its extensive program of events each year, particularly in summer months. In addition to these activities, depending upon participants’ interest, optional weekend day trips to villages in and around Cork city (Kinsale, Cobh, Skibbereen, Bearra Pennisula, Killarney, Ring of Kerry, etc.) can be scheduled. Students can also plan weekend excursions at their own expense to the other British Isles or continental Europe.

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