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Fall 2005 - Irish

Destination Purdue > Fall 2005 - Irish

Irish studies a hole-in-one adventure

By Meggie R. Issler

When Cory St. Clair stepped off the airplane at the Dublin, Ireland, airport, he knew he was in for an adventure.

Cory St. Clair

Photo provided by Cory St. Clair

Cory St. Clair, a senior turf science major from South Whitley, Ind., kneels atop the Cliffs of Moher, located on Ireland's west coast.

To begin his journey, St. Clair, a Purdue University senior turf science major from South Whitley, Ind., spent one week with an Irish family on their dairy farm in Dublin. "The family totally accepted me into their home, and I really enjoyed helping them out in the fields picking berries," said St. Clair. "It was definitely a first-hand experience of their culture and life in an Irish home."

Little things, like eating dinner with the family of six, added to his overall experience of studying abroad, giving him a first-hand experience of Irish culture. To continue his adventure, St. Clair planned a semester study-abroad program, sponsored by Purdue's International Programs in Agriculture at University College Dublin. For his five months of study, St. Clair received 12 credit hours towards graduation.

"The dorm I stayed in with three other people was very similar to dorms at Purdue," said St. Clair. "But we had a really small kitchen and when we bought groceries it was a little different, because we could only buy small amounts of things like only a half loaf of bread or a half gallon of milk."

After studying horticulture and landscaped for five months, St. Clair spent the next two months working at a Dublin golf course. "I lived right behind the 13th hole with another guy who was working on the course," said St. Clair. "We were allowed to play as much golf as we wanted, so we went to the course almost every night and played."

After earning enough money, St. Clair took a 30-day journey across Europe. St. Clair loaded his backpack, grabbed his bike, hopped on a train and used his Eurail pass to visit seven countries in Europe. He stopped in Scotland, northern Spain, the Swiss Alps, Italy, France and Croatia.

"One of the coolest things that I did was hike seven hours through the Swiss Alps up to a hotel that overlooked the mountains," said St. Clair. According to St. Clair, the most memorable part of hiking up the Swiss Alps was a friend he met along the way. "I met a young man who suffered from cerebral palsy who hiked with me for a couple days up to the top of the Swiss Alps," said St. Clair. "We became pretty good friends, and it was so amazing to see someone makign the most out of his situation."

Another stop St. Clair remembers fondly was in a small town in northern Spain where they were celebrating an annual festival. "I wanted to do something crazy, something I would remember for the rest of my life," said St. Clair. "Even though I had no idea what they were celebrating, I just enjoyed watching the party and meeting people who knew a little bit of English."

Thirty days later with only $45 left in his pocket, St. Clair wrapped things up in Ireland, and headed back to Indiana. Only two days after his return to the United States, he found himself in class again for the fall semester at Purdue.

Evan Bradley, a senior selling and sales managment major from Chicago, said that St. Clair still talks about his trip to Europe. "Just the other day he was talking for an hour about the visit he made to Croatia with a friend of his," said Bradley. "He has told us some pretty wild stories and also about all the beautiful places and landmarks he has visited."

"It was a whirlwind trip, but I loved it and I can't wait to travel again when I finish with school," said St. Clair.