Justin Gerstein Major: History & Government

Courses Taken: POLS112 Comparative Political Systems - European Dimension, Q311 Art, Form, Function and Language in European Perspectives, Q351 Political Satire of Johnathan Swift, Q391 European Inter-culturalism, Q444 Conquest by Plantation, Practicum: Q401 History in Today's World

In the Betterment of a Person
  As I stepped off the plane at the end of a rainy summer's day I was back in a culture that was already rather familiar to me, nearly a month previously I had returned to the United States after representing Daemen College at the University College Dublin International Summer School.
  The culture of Ireland is not very different from that in the United States and Canada, but there are subtleties that you become more aware of. I found that I had easily integrated into the culture and that I share many similar views to most Irish and Europeans.
  The Tullamore community is one that is very kind and open. I quickly made Tullamore my home and the host family that I stayed with made me part of their family. The experience of having a support group was very comforting to me.
  I joined the Offaly Historical and Archaeological Society in the opening weeks of my term in Ireland. I did this in order to become more familiar and associate with people with similar interests in history. I study British and Irish politics and history, so by joining the society the opportunity presented me the potential of networking and gaining key connections, which it did.
  Ireland is a springboard for many North Americans into Europe. Ireland is in the European Union (EU), a collection of nation-states that endeavours to unify much of Europe into a possible "United States of Europe." As a result of being in the EU, travel between nation-states is fairly straightforward. I enjoyed that luxury by travelling to the continent on occasion with ease.
  I had been very sceptical of Ireland because of its problems with the North, but living here, in Tullamore, the problems of Northern Ireland seem isolated from the lives of people here.
  Ireland has changed me. I see the world differently. I no longer see just the point-of-view of the United States, I now see it from a European perspective as well. I have found my calling as a historian and politically found my roots. I have grown as a person and learnt many valuable leadership tools and skills. Although I am still young, 20, I have found what I want to do and where I want to do it. I came to Ireland rather cynical of many things. My time in Ireland has help mend my heart and views. I have new approaches to the way I perceive the world and people and I am less cynical and more open to different approaches of creating opportunities. I have found myself.