JBU Irish Studies

Watch a 5 minute video about the JBU Irish Studies program.

Video Categories: International


Bill Stevenson (Director of International Programs): In 1997, as we were driving around Ireland, I remember thinking to myself “Boy, this would be a great place to hold a study program”. And so in 1998 we led 16 students on our very first John Brown University Study Program. It certainly was the first study program in Ireland. And today, in 2012, it remains a very strong program for John Brown University. Our model is “place is text”, which essentially means that the island becomes your textbook. The place becomes your textbook. The people of Ireland become your textbook.

Hadden Wilson (Site Director and Professor): On Fridays- we tend to concentrate our academic work, our in class work Monday through Thursday and leave Friday for site visitations.

Bill Stevenson (Director of International Programs): We could study Irish history, Irish art, Irish literature in a traditional classroom format here at the university and in fact you would learn a great deal. But think about going to Ireland and actually living there for a semester and seeing it, tasting it, feeling it, all of a sudden that learning is enriched.

Amanda Croft (Irish Art History Professor): I think they find it very valuable to be able to travel within a place, engage with the people that inhabit that place and then see the artifacts that have been made in the past and the present. I think it brings their experience to a vividness that they don’t get from a remote location and back at home.

Bill Stevenson (Director of International Programs): One thing that separates the Irish Studies program from all other programs is that our faculty are Irish. And that lends to the Irish Studies program being very authentic, in that we have the Irish faculty bringing the flavor, bringing the history, bringing the stories. Secondly we have the friendship family program that I really believe brings a lot of flavor, a lot of Irish flavor if you will, into the study abroad program.

Hadden Wilson (Site Director and Professor): There is a church not too far from where the students are staying. It’s the Lakeside Manor, a church called Christ Church which is a nondenominational Evangelical church. Probably, mainly we go there because of the background involvement with Derek Digham who used to teach the Irish Studies Literature program. And Derek sadly passed away, but we had already made a link with that church. And there are host families from that church that take the students home and get to know them and love them.

Rod Reed (University Chaplain): I think programs like this are one of the best things students can do in college. It’s one of the opportunities that you have that you probably won’t have another time in your life where you’ve got the opportunity to live in a different country , learn, be there with a group of people who can help you understand the culture. And students I talk to who’ve been there either for the semester or the summer program talk about it as one of the greatest learning experiences of their life.

Hadden Wilson (Site Director and Professor): These courses are not just coming through the minds of the students and on to an assignment paper, but are actually influencing the student, changing them, making them stronger in the faith and with a greater understanding of the background into which they’ve got to live out their life for Christ.

John Lenschow (Facilities Manager): I just think this is a great opportunity for students and one I would encourage you to take advantage of if at all possible for you. Either take that time to come for the summer or if you can do a fall semester, do that, because it’s just a great opportunity, I think, to grow spiritually and to develop academically and to develop in ways that would be unique from your experience there on campus at JBU.

Hadden Wilson (Site Director and Professor): The whole head, hand and heart emphasis of this university, I think, underscores that desire for education to not be simply something that gets you an examination and degree but changes your life and sends you out a better person at the end of it.

Bill Stevenson (Director of International Programs): Not only will it change your life, it will change the way you live. It will change the way you see the world. It will change the way you work as a professional in the workplace. It will change the way you parent your children. It will change the way you serve at church. There are so many benefits for a person at the university level, a college level, they receive when they travel abroad to a foreign country.

Amanda Croft (Irish Art History Professor): And I would hope that people who come here will always feel that that was something worthwhile doing.