The ILR/UCD Semester in Dublin, to me, is best described by the common mantra of one of its founders: Clete Daniel's "Smart is good, kind is better." My time in Dublin was smart—thanks in large part to my excellent UCD professors—but more importantly, it was kind. It was full of experiences that reminded me how global the values of humanity, generosity, and goodness are and I am forever indebted to ILR for such an experience. From getting lost on the streets of Dublin and being helped to the bus stop by friendly strangers to working on group projects with unfamiliar classmates who quickly turned into friends, my semester in Dublin was a constant reminder of how kind people can be. Ireland is a country of friends—past, present, and future; its history has informed its current sense of community in a profound way. It was therefore inevitable for my ILR cohort join in the tradition of our host country and become a tight-knit group of friends. Our shared classes and experiences gave me new friends to not only enjoy a semester but instead the entirety of my remaining Cornell experience with.
This program has irrevocably changed my life and my worldview: now, more than ever, I see myself as a citizen of the world and, consequently, as someone who has the responsibility to fight oppression on a global scale. Such a realization would not have been possible if not for the people I met—people in places as far as Copenhagen and as close as my neighboring apartment in Belgrove. Thank you to Ireland, and to ILR, for an experience I would happily encourage any fellow ILR-ie to go on. Sláinte!