COM 535 in Ireland

Eleven communication majors from the University of Kentucky traveled to Ireland this summer to partake in a two-week travel study program on risk and crisis communication. The COM 535 class visited crisis communication consulting agencies, the Dublin Fire Brigade, Croke Park Stadium, international corporations like Guinness and Waterford Crystal, and dozens of historic sites near Dublin, Kilkenny, Cork, Limerick, Galway, and the Aran Islands. Taught by Associate Professor Dr. Shari Veil, the class never met in a classroom but stayed connected through discussion posts via Facebook and short debrief sessions in between site visits. Students learned about and wrote papers on specific crises facing Ireland, including the 2013 horse meat scandal, the Garth Brooks concert series debacle, and the continued political discontent over Northern Ireland not being part of the larger Republic. Students also learned a great deal about the Irish culture and themselves on the trip. Megan Bowles, a communication major in the digital and mass media track, commented, “This study abroad program in Ireland was the first time for me traveling abroad. It was a safe environment to step out of my comfort zone and try something new. This is a whole new way to take a course because we really get to immerse ourselves in the culture and history while touring and talking with local people.”