Purpose of the Irish Studies Program
The Irish Studies Program is a Christ – focused learning community set in Ireland promoting whole person education through Christian world view thinking that emphasizes the liberal arts and global competency while leaving behind the footprints of Grace.
The Irish Studies Program is designed to help college students expand cultural and spiritual awareness by studying and experiencing the history and culture of Ireland. With an emphasis on the integration of faith, learning, and living, the Program seeks to develop an understanding of Ireland and its people through curricular and co-curricular activities.
Goals of the Irish Studies Program
- To provide students the opportunity for experiential learning in another culture.
- To foster in the student, with a Christian perspective in mind, the need to begin to assume leadership and responsibility roles in international and cross-cultural settings.
- To create in students an awareness of the variety of peoples and cultures within Ireland while acquainting them with the historical interweaving of religion, culture, politics and social structure.
- To make a contribution to the climate of international interest and understanding.
- To provide opportunities for students to live out their faith with the Irish people.
- To provide students the opportunity for personal development within the context of another culture.
An Intentional Learning Community
A central theme in education at Taylor University is the integration of faith and learning. This theme sees application in two ways for all students in their studies at Taylor University. First, students build their Christian worldview in the context of other competing worldviews. Second, this Christian worldview challenges students to investigate and enjoy the liberal arts in their studies and college activities. These two applications of integrating faith and learning are not just mental exercises. They are stable foundations for learning for all Taylor University students, who must understand and live out their own faith in the midst of the challenges of the modern world.
The Irish Studies Program represents a unique opportunity to develop this faith and learning theme in an international setting particularly receptive to faith, study, and life in community. In this Irish context, which is both ancient and modern, faithful and secular, communal and traveled, students in the ISP engage in this faith and learning experience in the courses of Celtic Christianity, Irish History, Contemporary Ireland, Living Cross Culturally and Irish Literature. These courses are integrated with each other in content, assignments, and travel experiences.
Celtic Christianity creates a foundation of the historic Christian faith and develops the basis for understanding both Ireland and the mindset of integrating all of the other coursework. The course Irish History offers a unique opportunity to see the Irish Christian faith in its depth and in its applications to learning and society in a remarkable country’s past. The course Contemporary Ireland moves the student into the modern culture of education, music, art, economics, religion and politics. From this starting point the student is challenged with the Christian’s role in modern society, i.e., what does it mean to be a Christian. In Irish literature students study the works of the great Irish writers, and all semester they attend a variety of venues in literature, theater, and art. With these courses the ISP gives to students the groundwork for thinking from a Christian foundation, and the tools for gathering, interpreting, applying, and enjoying knowledge.
In addition to study at their Irish “campus,” Taylor’s Irish Program students travel weekly to historic and modern sites, and enjoy concerts, great books, and art museums. Faith and learning ideas are often difficult to place in context in many educational settings. But faith and learning relationships are so natural to the past and present world of Ireland. Students in the Irish Studies Program are changed by their grounding in faith as they study, but even more so in this ideal Irish setting. ISP students are active participants in an intentionally Christ-focused living and learning community. Their semester of college studies is one with an unusual depth of intellectual and spiritual engagement. The Irish Studies Program becomes for students an invitation to a conversation about faith and learning, a conversation that will continue on their return home both in college and beyond. Faith and learning flourish in this unique living Christian community – a home away from home – in the Irish Studies Program.