Romantic Ireland: Studying Abroad with the Purdue English Department

Study Abroad at Purdue

Purdue University offers a large selection of study abroad opportunities, ranking nineteenth in domestic student participation in study abroad. Of the multitude of possibilities, “Locations that attracted 100 or more students in 2016-17 were Australia, China, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom” (Oates). For a long time, study abroad seemed oriented primarily to foreign language majors, but, in actuality, “students in most academic backgrounds can find programs that meet their academic and career goals” (Mohajeri 382-383). These experiences are highly recommended. Studying abroad allows students to develop new skills, oftentimes influencing their future professional aspirations, as “the more international experiences one has, the more likely one is to develop a globally-oriented career” (388).

Romantic Ireland

Trinity College, Dublin

During the summer of 2019, Professor Maren Linett led an incredible study abroad entitled “Romantic Ireland,” one of the English department’s annual summer programs in Dublin. It boasted the opportunity for students to gain a more global understanding of Irish literature, offering six credits of coursework over the span of three weeks. During the program, students resided at Ireland’s most distinguished university, Trinity College Dublin. With 17 nights in Dublin, 2 nights in Galway, and 1 day spent exploring Sligo, the program allowed students to immerse themselves in another culture, visiting “key Dublin literary and historical sites such as the Dublin Writers Museum, the Parnell Monument, The James Joyce Centre, Trinity College Library, and the Abbey Theater.” These daytrips, as well as evenings in local pubs, allowed for engrossing experiences upon which the students would later reflect, turning in self-reflection essays on their time abroad.

Crystal Webb

After learning about this study abroad through her academic advisor, Crystal Webb, an English Literature major participating in Purdue’s Degree in 3 Program, realized that it would be a convenient way to travel while still progressing towards graduation. Webb also highlights how her experience in Ireland enhanced her understanding of Irish authors and literature by “bringing these stories to life.” Webb similarly credits it with helping her better understand how important a global perspectives is to any future career plan. Seeing her own culture through the eyes of another was an eye-opening experience, teaching her how often we, as American citizens, tend to assume that we know enough about the world, when we don’t. Basically, Webb claims that her experience was “globalization in action.”

Malahide Castle and Gardens, Near Dublin

Nyke Bounket, a double major in English Literature and Anthropology, also spoke highly of his experience. First, he mentions the workload; participants were expected “to read probably 30 poems, a couple dozen short stories, several plays and even a novel. All within three weeks.” Bounket humorously quips, “I’m not sure I even remember as much of U.S. history as I do Ireland’s.” He also stresses that exposure to such a different culture would be difficult, if not impossible, to simulate in a classroom setting. Bounket mentions meeting various types of people during his time in Ireland, including “a French philosophy professor, a woman from D.C. who used to serve as a Senator, a group of friends from Russia who were biking the country.” This eclectic group, along with the immersive nature of the trip, allowed him “to reflect on [his] own culture, behaviors, and values.” Finally, Bounkett identifies the natural beauty of Ireland as his favorite part of the experience; the group took a 40-minute train ride to Howth, a town “rugged with history.” He’d “never seen ocean water so clear. It was brimming with brightly colored sailboats, and in the distance were massive, jutting cliffs.” This idyllic scenery must be experienced in person!

Both Webb and Bounkett emphasize communication skills as a major aspect of study abroad. They recommend that other undergraduate students participate in either this particular opportunity, or some study abroad experience during their time at Purdue to develop their communication skills in a global context. Both also express their appreciation for Dr. Linett, who in Webb’s words is one of Purdue’s “hidden gem professors.” Her program class helped Webb to communicate her exact ideas, emphasizing precise writing as key to disseminating knowledge and connecting with other people. Bounkett agrees, identifying Dr. Linnet as “a powerhouse of knowledge and the most intelligent person [he’s] ever met.”

Other Benefits of Study Abroad

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) stating that “over the past three decades, the number of students enrolled outside their country of citizenship has risen dramatically, from 0.8 million worldwide in 1975 to 4.3 million in 2011, a more than fivefold increase.” As technology continues to advance, the world becomes more interconnected and workers with the ability to understand global perspectives increase in demand. Employers desire students who can travel beyond their comfort zones—students who readily embark to new frontiers. Although possibly daunting, study abroad experiences quantifiably assist student’s job prospects and improve their overall empathy and perspective-taking abilities. Ultimately, such opportunities “offer unique experiences to students by providing life-long personal and professional benefits such as personal growth, cultural awareness, employability, new language skills, creativity, communication skills, social network development and other benefits” (Tamilla, 63).

Nyke Bounket (bottom row, from left), Prof. Linett (third from bottom right), and the rest of “Romantic Ireland” crew

Globally, interest in study abroad programs has grown exponentially, as the personal and economic benefits have become more apparent. Purdue has certainly taken note, and now offers over 200 experiences in more than 45 countries. Romantic Ireland represents one of many opportunities designed to stretch and grow undergraduate students. As Bounket says, “go for the experience and allow yourself to digest everything, slowly and appreciatively.”

Works Cited

Mohajeri Norris, Emily, and Joan Gillespie. “How Study Abroad Shapes Global Careers: Evidence From the United States.” Journal of Studies in International Education, vol. 13, no. 3, Sept. 2009, pp. 382–397, doi:10.1177/1028315308319740.

Oates, Matthew. “Purdue Ranks 19th in the Nation for Study Abroad.” Purdue University News, Purdue, 9 Nov. 2018,

OECD (2013), Education at a Glance 2013: Highlights, OECD Publishing, Paris,

Tamilla, Curtis, and John R. Ledgerwood. “Students’ Motivations, Perceived Benefits and Constraints Towards Study Abroad and Other International Education Opportunities.” Journal of International Education in Business, vol. 11, no. 1, 2018, pp. 63-78. ProQuest,, doi:

Ally Geoffray is a junior majoring in English Literature and Professional Writing at Purdue.




Located in Purdue’s Elliott Hall of Music, the award-winning WBAA public radio station has made a name for itself nationally. It was licensed in April 1922 as an AM station by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Still going strong after 97 years, WBAA is now the longest continuously operating radio station in Indiana. Over the years, WBAA has offered internship opportunities to hundreds of local students, ranging from high schoolers to undergraduates and graduate students. The public radio station’s website says, “education has always been at the heart of WBAA’s mission and that goes beyond the content you hear over our airwaves and into the very ethos of the station” (WBAA). The best part is that they’re especially interested in Purdue undergraduates majoring in English, Communications, or Political Science!


Interning at WBAA is a great experience for English majors, especially those interested in journalism. Its News department offers general news, arts, beat, education, science, and local government reporting, as well as digital reporting. At WBAA, you are not just an intern; you are a professional. “We’re going to treat you like a real, working radio station employee, whether it’s in the newsroom or whether it’s doing production work behind the scenes,” says Stan Jastrzebeski, WBAA’s News Director, “You’re not going to get coffee.”

All internships at WBAA are paid, offer real, deadline-driven experience, and allow for hands-on time with professional reporting, writing, editing, or voicing. WBAA offers experience to Purdue undergraduates of any year; the longer you stay, in fact, the better opportunities for internships and jobs after you graduate. Stan says, “It typically takes at least a semester to fully train somebody to get used to the job. Then, the second semester they can hit the ground running.”

Interns at WBAA typically come in one day a week. The goal is to have one intern every day to go and report on moment’s notice, according to Stan. This allows each intern to give a little bit to the internship program and contribute to the whole of the newsroom over a week. Depending on your schedule, WBAA will give you ample time to work without too much pressure.

Stan says, “We make a difference in the community, we pay better than any other broadcasting internship in town, and we turn students into award-winning reporters.”


One of WBAA’s newest hires is Marissa Tilden, a third-year student studying English Literature and Comparative Literature. At the station, her title is “Public Service Announcement Coordinator.” Along with writing PSAs for upcoming community events, Marissa also does other small organizational tasks, such as creating a calendar of events for various musical organizations in the community. Her PSAs are aired on the station often. Here is an example of her work:

“Purdue’s Disability Resource Center presents comedian Ryan Niemiller (NEE-miller),  the self-proclaimed ‘Cripple Threat of Comedy,’ whose stand-up draws from his experiences with physical disability. Open to the public but tickets are required. More  information is  available at Purdue dot E-D-U slash D-R-C.”

This is a great example of a PSA because it demonstrates how Marissa has to be “conscious of the fact it will be read aloud.” She adds, “It’s necessary to provide phonetic pronunciations of names that could pose a challenge (and therefore a lull or stutter), as well as clarify things like the URL.” Otherwise, a story or PSA could be read wrong on-air. Greg Kostraba, WBAA’s content director, told Marissa that once at another radio station, “Malcolm X” had been read on-air as “Malcolm the tenth.” “It’s crucial to keep both the audience and the reader in mind when I write,” says Marissa.

“WBAA has provided me the opportunity to practice some of the skills I learn as an English major—things like precise writing, research, and organization—in a career setting,” Marissa also says. This internship has also enabled her to learn a little more about how a radio station operates and what kinds of positions exist in this setting. Marissa has found that there are lots of opportunities for English majors in radio.


A sophomore studying mass communication, Carly Rosenberger has always been interested in a career in news media. She has been working at WBAA since September 2018 and has written a total of eight stories as an arts and culture intern. Carly produces features, which are pre-recorded stories that are typically no longer than five minutes on-air. “Creating a feature is a complicated process…. I’ve learned more from [it] than I could have ever imagined,” says Carly.

WBAA has entrusted Carly with many responsibilities, including setting up and conducting interviews, writing a draft of a script, recording the script, and sharing the final product on WBAA’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. Carly says, “When I first began working at WBAA last fall, I was honestly surprised with the amount of trust and responsibility the staff places in their interns. I’ve since realized that the large amount of responsibility is affirming and even rewarding. I’d much rather have an internship that allows me to produce meaningful work than one that forces me to do menial tasks.”


Stan has also provided us with descriptions for several other WBAA internships:

If you are interested in classical music, WBAA has another great internship for you. With 101.3 FM, WBAA Classical, students aid in the station’s programming as well as taping interviews. This internship is a great opportunity for those interested in learning about media management.

If you are tech-savvy, on the other hand, WBAA offers internships covering board shifts, allowing them to practice one of the essential functions of a broadcaster. WBAA will train you in both the technical duties and how to use your voice effectively for an audience.

WBAA also has internships in promotions, marketing, and development. To keep the radio station going strong, WBAA needs young, talented people to help it reaching new audiences.

Finally, WBAA just hired its first social media intern, and so internship opportunities at the station just keep growing. “Anytime anyone wants to send me a resume, they are more than welcome to do so,” says Stan. His email is

Works Cited:

“Student Engagement.” WBAA,

“WBAA History.” RSS,

Libby Joson is a sophomore majoring in Professional Writing at Purdue.