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MFTs in Ireland

February 13, 2013

I feel blessed that I was able to travel abroad with my cohort for an international learning experience. During Spring Break of 2012, 20 of my classmates, and 2 professors went to Ireland for 10 days. Over the 10 days, we had conferences with two universities in Dublin. We met with faculty and students who were studying family therapy and discussed some of the common problems families in our respective countries are facing and how to best treat these issues. We also had plenty of free time and were encouraged to explore Dublin with our classmates and professors.

I was lucky to have studied abroad as an undergraduate in France. Following that experience I was determined to travel more and did not know when I would have the opportunity again. One of the many reasons that I choose USD for graduate studies was because of the international leaning component. I see great value in learning about other cultures through travel. It is one thing to read about another culture but it is quite different to stay in a country, talk with the people, eat the food, and walk the same streets.

I enjoyed the exchanges with University College Dublin and Archways because I felt a sense of community; for the first time, I felt I was really part of the family therapy profession. I was eager to learn how family therapy works in Ireland.  One of the things I enjoyed the most during that UCD exchange was having lunch with the Irish students; we talked a lot about our program’s differences and similarities. It was great because we shared a common language of family therapy. It was so fun to talk to people in a different country about what I have been learning over the past six months.

One of the the themes I noticed through our school conferences, as well as just talking to people in pubs, was that the economy is having a large impact on people and families in Ireland, just as it is in the United States. I think this is an important reminder; often it is easy to forget in times of hardship that millions of people around the world are dealing with similar issues. After discussions about this topic with the UCD Systemic Psychotherapy students I realize that this is a universal issue and also something I will be facing with my clients in the future. From a historical perspective, economic climates are always changing. I want to remind my clients and my family that things will get better with time.

In addition, Dr. Edwards put a lot of effort into making sure that we had a lot of activities planned for us throughout the trip. We did two day trips to Newgrange and Belfast; it was great to get out of the city and see other parts of the country. Newgrange was incredible, it is a passage tomb that was built over 5,000 years ago (which makes it older than Stonhenge). I was in awe inside the tomb; it was an experience that I will never forget. I also did two optional activities: a  Musical Pub Crawl and the Rebellion Walking Tour.

Overall it was an incredible experience and I am so glad I got to experience it with an amazing group of people!

Marital and Family Therapy students in Dublin, Ireland SP2012

Marital and Family Therapy students in Dublin, Ireland SP2012

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