The Dublin undergraduate programmes foster an atmosphere in which every Notre Dame student can flourish and reach their fullest intellectual potential. Since their inception in 1998, over 2,000 students have participated in our various undergraduate programmes. The Dublin Global Gateway welcomes students across all undergraduate disciplines. While in Dublin, students can study at Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and University College Dublin (UCD), while other specialist options are also available. Working with their advisers at Notre Dame and in the Dublin Global Gateway, students curate their timetables to best complement their programme curriculum.
The programmes are immersive ones, allowing students to plunge independently into Irish life through Irish universities and culture, while still retaining the nurturing support typical of Notre Dame. Dublin’s Global Gateway programmes are some of the most competitive programmes among Notre Dame’s many international offerings. As international students, undergrads integrate themselves into their new universities, living and studying with Irish and international classmates, while also taking courses exploring Ireland’s history, culture and literature at O’Connell House. We emphasize learning ‘through the soles of your feet’ on program trips north, south, east and west on the island.
At our partner institutions, TCD and UCD, students study at universities with global reputations. The Quinn School of Business at UCD allows students to study the international economy in one of the most globalized countries in the world. The Schools of History, English, and Archaeology at TCD and UCD offer courses on major themes in Irish and world history, close to the Hill of Tara, Dublin Castle and Kilmainham Gaol. Students are on the doorstep of Europe as well, allowing them to learn about a topic in class, and then experience it in reality. Beyond the classroom, our students immerse themselves in clubs and societies at TCD and UCD, playing on sports teams, joining debate societies and musical groups. We encourage them to become actively involved in their host universities, city, and country.
We design our cultural enrichment to dovetail with our courses: attending the Abbey Theatre, fieldtrips, experiencing Gaelic sports in Croke Park, Irish music, and Irish film. We schedule a fortnightly expert speaker in our Dublin Your Knowledge sessions, and furnish our students with the necessary contexts beforehand so that they can maximize the educational benefits. Our guiding principle is to avoid tourist stuff, instead engaging our students only in activities in which Irish people themselves are actively interested. The Notre Dame brand, our web of connections, and our intimately-scaled programme allow us unprecedented access.
The course content and the cultural experiences then support each other in a complementary and cumulative manner. Irish culture suddenly becomes more real and more startling when it is experienced directly. Our guiding principle is to explore, exhibit, and interpret the real Ireland, all of Ireland, and to ensure that our students feel that they have truly lived here, and not just visited Ireland as a casual tourist.
The city of Dublin and the country of Ireland are our classroom, and we prioritize T-Shaped Learning — immersed and experiential. We engage constantly with our students, nurturing their intellectual passions and encouraging them to pursue them in every way possible. We offer a community-based learning programme, embedded in the ‘Introduction to Ireland’ course. Students can incorporate their service work into their research on contemporary Ireland.
Each semester, students can participate in service projects in the city. These projects generally occur on a designated weekend and incorporate the efforts of Notre Dame students, staff, alumni, and friends. One recent project involved the construction and painting of murals in the garden of a homeless shelter. Students can also volunteer in other activities around Dublin on a more sustained basis, such as coaching weekly basketball lessons at a nearby elementary school. These service projects afford our students the chance to assist and engage with the Irish community.