Dublin Semester

Fáilte go hÉirinn! (Welcome to Ireland!)

Open to students from any school and nation, the Emory & Henry College partnership in Dublin, Ireland offers students totally unique opportunities to explore what it means to assume the responsibilities of global citizenship from the lived experience of a specific place, rooted and grounded in the very foundations of the earth. This engagement asks participants to push beyond stereotypes and all manner of preconceived ideas about Ireland and the Irish to dwell and to serve within the contradictions of a country shaped in the crucible of colonialism and centuries of resistance to that power, years of grinding poverty, the sudden expansion and wealth of an economy built on attracting international investments, and the equally sudden collapse of that economy.

Living in Dublin, studying at Dublin City University, volunteering for a community-based group and organization in the city, participants have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the rich and varied cultural heritage of this country and to explore the ways this heritage gives voice to centuries of struggles, conflicts, and contradictions.

The Emory & Henry partnership builds from the understanding that the work of service learning is multi-layered, just as any place is, just as are Dublin and Ireland. At one level, this is one means for students to use who they are and the gifts they bring to the good work of making a difference in the lives of others. At another level, service-learning is part of an educational process in which all persons are co-educators and co-learners together—we teach and we learn through serving with and for others. 

By living and serving with the people of Dublin, Ireland, we come to better understand what it means to take up our global citizenship from this place, or from any place. As the Irish writer Sebastian Barry has written: “…one on top of the other like layers of shell and sand in a piece of limestone, so that they both have become the same element, and I cannot distinguish one from the other with any ease, unless it is from close, close looking…”


Homestays with a local Irish family are arranged. Partial board (breakfast and dinner Monday - Friday and three meals per day on the weekends) is included. An integral part of the program, the homestay offers you the opportunity to make life-long friends, gain higher proficiency in the language, and experience the culture from "the inside." All host families are carefully selected and experienced with hosting students.  Living with local residents is part of the immersion experience. Instead of being a tourist, an student gets to know what it's like to be part of a different culture. Another option (ONLY if homestay is not availabe) may be shared apartments with locals or in Shanowen Square, a full service self-catering (no meals provided) student apartment building across from the campus, which is located 3 miles from the city center. Students share an apartment with another student but have their own private bedroom and bath. Modern facilities include full wi-fi, laundry, convenience store, gym and sports facilities, and a common outdoor courtyard.

Program Director: Tal Stanley


The program welcomes students of any nation who have a high school diploma or equivalent credential. TOEFL equivalent 550.

Irish Coastline


ll classes are held at the IBAT College Temple Bar campus, a brand new high tech facility in Dublin’s trendy Temple Bar district in the heart of the city center.  Each course augments classroom learning with visits to relevant sites and locations in the city center. Courses are typically taught on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Wednesday is a required excursion day for course field trips. Friday is typically off except for excursion weekends and is usually reserved for volunteer service.

Required Courses

Service-Learning Institutions in Irish Society

Linked to your service experience, this course will explore service-learning cross-culturally by seeking to address some of the social problems facing Ireland, and examine responses from the Irish public sector and members of civil society, including NGOs and religious institutions. Visits to local NGOs, guest speakers, and discussion of articles and Irish social problems are the format for this course.

The purpose of this class is to introduce students to Irish social problems, social institutions and social change through a combination of academic study and practical service. Through engaging in service students will gain a better academic understanding of these issues. At the same time, the academic understanding will provide a fundamental background for successful completion of the service.

This course will explore service-learning cross-culturally by seeking to address some of the social problems facing Irekand, and examine responses from the Irishpublic sector and members of civil society, including NGOs and religious institutions. Students will also examine the nature of and the practical dimensions and challenges of effecting social change from outside of a society, and will examine the nature and impact of non-Irish social institutions. A number of visits to local NGOs and guest speakers are part of this course.

Throughout the course, students will engage in service through placement in a local agency. A key component of service-learning is action and reflection. Through the use of journals and class discussions, students will analyze and reflect critically on their service and attempt to integrate it with the learning they have gained from readings and in class.

Following the completion of this course, students will have gained the following:

(1) understanding and experiential application of service-learning; (2) knowledge of how to work cross-culturally in the Irish context; (3) awareness of major Irish social problems and examination of the challenges NGOs face working on these social issues; (4) practical experience addressing a specific Irish social problem through working in an Irish social service agency; and (5) analysis and firsthand practice/participant observation leading to enhanced understanding of Irish culture, social problems, social institutions and solutions.

Evaluation is based on active participation, maintaining a service-journal log and journal reflections, a midterm reflection, and a final reflection.

Contact Hours: 90
Recommended U.S. Credits: 6

Reflections / SL Practicum Seminar (ONLINE)

This course is delivered virtually and begins before departure and completes after returning. The content includes both pre-departure and post departure information, discussion and reflection and serves to compliment the Institutions in Society Course. The course explores the theories and practical realities of intercultural service-learning to help make sense of the international experience and to develop intercultural competence. One credit will be awarded for 15 hours of academic relections work and 2 credits for the  hands-on service-learning volunteering.

Contact Hours: 45
Recommended U.S. Credits: 3


Up to three additional (3 credit) courses can be chosen form the DCU and/or St. Patrick's course catalog. we encourage you to review the course offerings at this link http://www4.dcu.ie/international/study_abroadmodules.shtml and select 8-10 possible courses that you are interested in and get approval form your college and /or advisor for these courses BEFORE you arrive. Should some of these courses turn out to not be offered or if you have a scheduling conflict with some of your selected courses, you can fall back on the other ones that you chose in advance. Your final course registration will be completed during orientation.

Castle in Ireland


The service-learning program in Dublin, Ireland offers students the opportunity to experience international volunteer service in a large urban metropolis with many pressing environmental social problems that effect the entire population. Students may support non-proifts, NGOs and community development agencies working with:
  • at-risk youth
  • refugees and immigrants
  • the elderly and other marginalized and vulnerable populations
  • the homeless
  • people struggling with addiction
  • people with physical and mental disabilities
  • children and youth    (tutoring, sports and recreation, etc) 

Volunteer Service Examples

Following are examples of agencies where students have served in the past or may be able to serve. Other service placements may be available. Your placement will be determined by community and agency needs, as well as your interests, goals, and skills.

After-School Clubhouse for At-Risk Youth

This organization is part of a global network of 105 clubhouses, and is based in a disadvantaged area of inner city Dublin. The clubhouse provides educational and personal support to a range of young people, and students participate in these activities, including art, music, film/TV, theater and technology.

Public Health NGO

Founded in 1996 as a patient support organization, this NGO is dedicated to reducing incidences of a preventable disease by promoting healthy behaviors, and provides support for sufferers and their families.

International Non-Profit for Sustainable Development Projects

Working in 26 of the world’s poorest countries, this NGO works with local people to make major and sustainable improvements in their lives. Interns help research and collate information on the organization’s ongoing projects, contribute to the organization’s newsletter, and participate in ongoing work on social and behavioral change.

Non-Profit Dedicated to Racial Understanding through Sports

This organization is dedicated to creating opportunities for people to participate in social integration projects both in Ireland and abroad with a view to promoting intercultural dialog and harmony. Students assist with a variety of tasks including event planning and promotion, fundraising and research.

International Human Rights NGO

This international organization is dedicated to the protection of fundamental human rights across the globe. Students work in the dynamic fundraising unit, contributing to a variety of projects, events and campaigns.

Community Based Youth Resource Center

Based at a purpose-built community youth center, students work a variety of programs and events in support of professional Youth Workers. The work includes the day-to-day work of the drop-in center to special initiatives targeting certain minority youth groups.

Services for the Unemployed

Unemployment is the most pressing social issue in present-day Ireland. Founded in 1994, this non-profit has come to play an increasingly important role in Dublin. Volunteers work on different programs, but always with the intention of supporting their search and helping them regain their confidence and dignity.

"This organization became more to me than just my service site. It became a comfortable environment filled with support and encouragement, as well as a place to receive constructive criticism. I've seen how the organization works, and volunteers are essential to helping complete the day-to-day tasks that the staff have push aside. We all work hard, and I hope I contribute to the environment and cause I respect so much.” Gentry H., Psychology Major, Emory & Henry College, 2013

Animal Shelter and Placement Organization

Established by a group of women over 25 years ago, this community-based and entirely self-funded charity houses over 70 animals that have been abandoned or rescued from situations of abuse. Volunteers mainly work closely with the animals, helping to feed, clean, groom and exercise them.

“The chance to combine service, real service, with something that I love is not an opportunity that I am presented with often.  This place is more than an animal shelter, it's a sanctuary.  We can learn much and more from animals, if we bother to pay attention.”  Will P., Biology Major, Emory & Henry College, 2013

Dublin Street

Things to do

Travel is an essential part of studying abroad. Taking knowledge from the classroom and applying it through direct observation allows for greater classroom comprehensions and cultural understandings. The Dublin program offers multiple academic excursions designed to enhance your learning.

  • Dublin City Bus Tour (orientation)
  • Weekend excursionNW Ireland
  • Two full day excursions to Belfast and New Grange

Other possible excurisons in or near Dublin may include:

  • Dublin Castle
  • Kilmanhaim Gaol
  • Trinity College
  • GAA museum

Visits to these sites are incorporated into the relevant courses, providing onsite learning opportunities for students. Students in Dublin may also work with program staff to arrange for independent travel around Ireland, the UK and Europe.

  • Bru na Boinne - Not a single sight, but a historic landscape on the banks of the Boyne, dotted with prehistoric monuments, the largest being Newgrange.

  • The Burren - Wedged between the rough beauty of the Aran Islands and the bustling university city of Galway, the near featureless desolation of this limestone plateau has often been likened to a moonscape. Ancient monuments and bizarre rock formations abound.

  • The Giant’s Causeway - If you want to experience one of nature's true wonders in Ireland make sure to visit the Giant's Causeway. Strangely regular basalt columns dominate the landscape and seem to lead across to Scotland.

  • Cliffs of Moher - An undulating landscape suddenly ends in a sheer drop of more than 650 feet, straight down to the Atlantic. One of the most spectacular coastal areas in Europe.

As with all travel, weather and other travel hindrances can affect the exact destinations of excursions. In such cases, program staff make every effort to find suitable replacement itineraries. Building
AFSNext seal of approval

This program is implemented by a trusted organization within the AFSNext partnership community and has our full endorsement. While not managed or operated by AFS, it maintains the same exceptional quality standards, which are set by a network of experienced international non-profits operating within the international education field.