International program adds Irish exchange partner

After about 16 months of planning, FMU added Carlow College, St. Patrick’s, in Carlow, in the Republic of Ireland as a new exchange partner for the international exchange programs.

The program will begin this fall with FMU students traveling to Ireland.

The new partner will offer FMU students opportunities to study English literature, history, the humanities and Irish studies.

Christopher Kennedy, associate provost for academic affairs, said the partnership came about through assessing the students’ needs in studying abroad, as well as finding a university which students would be interested in studying abroad.

Last summer, Kennedy and the Director of International Programs Mark Blackwell traveled to Ireland to seek out potential universities for a partnership. From that trip, Kennedy and Blackwell decided on two possible candidates.

FMU President Fred Carter met with the president of Carlow College in January to sign the memorandum of understanding that the partnership would begin next school year.

Kennedy said he is currently working out how classes will transfer back to FMU courses. He also said the classes will offer general education credits, as well as some elective courses with an Irish focus.

Carlow College offers international students a program called the Irish Experience, where students can travel around Ireland to various historical and culturally significant sites.

Blackwell said through this program he hopes to enhance the educational experiences and cross-cultural understandings of faculty and students at both institutions.

During spring break, the FMU 2018 honors ambassadors traveled to Ireland and also visited the Carlow College.

Ashley Krause, sophomore psychology major, traveled with the group and said the university was very hospitable and spent a day touring the town and the university.

“I really liked it because of how small it is,” Krause said. “I do better at small universities.”

Krause plans on studying abroad and hopes to return to Carlow College.

According to Blackwell, FMU is in advanced discussions with the University College Cork, Ireland, for a university-wide exchange that could begin as early as the spring of 2019.