The National University of Ireland, Galway is located on the banks of the river Corrib in Western Ireland. Galway is a modern urban center of 80,000 people that is known to many as a cultural center of Ireland. A Willamette professor teaches one course to the program students and accompanies the excursions with a local guide. Excursions may include Dublin, Northern Ireland, and Cork. Minimum GPA required by host program: 3.0 GPA, or 2.8 GPA with letter from faculty advisor. 

The spring 2022 Program Faculty Leader will be Professor Robert Brewer-Wallin, Costume Design | Theatre.



This course is designed to entice and engage the study of material culture including written records, art, architecture, clothing and personal artifacts to understand storytelling. The art of storytelling will be explored on multiple platforms, including how we curate our own lives and how we perform our identity, gender, and politics, along with the oral and written narratives of time and place. What better way to explore Ireland than to look closely at the things around us and follow a thread to narrate this new experience together. We will explore events in our collective lives and the multiple ways the objects we hold dear tell stories about our life’s journey and are embedded with meaning and memory. We will investigate questions about how personal artifacts, clothing, art, and architecture communicate an individual and collective identity. We will consider how we read or interpret the material culture and performance of ourselves and others by the objects we deem important. We will focus on how scholarly based inquiry and creative expression can help us answer our questions and inform current discussions about place-based learning and the role of material culture in storytelling.



While at NUIG, students take an Irish Studies course (1.0 WU credit) that provides an introduction to Irish culture through four lenses: Literature in Irish, Irish Literature in English, Irish History, and Irish Society. Students take a second course (1.0 WU credit) taught by a WU professor and two or three additional courses from NUIG (credit varies).



The university has approximately 17,000 students and offers a large variety of courses to choose from. This program offers the best fit for humanities and social science majors due to course scheduling of NUI classes with the WU program classes and excursion schedules. All participants should have a good deal of flexibility about the local classes they can take from NUIG.


Students live in nearby student housing, sharing a bedroom with American or Irish students. Bathrooms and kitchen facilities are shared with six or more students.


Available spring semester only. Early January start. Final exams conclude by mid-May. Students will have a specific arrival schedule to facilitate group pick up. 


Please see the Willamette Sponsored Programs Cost Matrix for detailed explanation of the cost of each program. Students should plan on paying their police registration fee upon arrival to Galway - the registration fee is 300 Euros (2017). A sample budget for meals, books and transportation can be found on the International Affairs Office website.

Pre-departure Resources


Past Faculty Leaders for this program include Rebecca Dobkins (2021, Anthropology, cancelled due to covid), Karen Arabas (2020, Environmental Science), Jonneke Koomen (2019, Sociology), Courtney Stevens (2018, Psychology), David Craig (2017, Biology), Scott Pike (2016, Environmental Science), Richard Ellis (2015, Politics), Ann Nicgorski (2014, Art History), David Gutterman (2013, Politics), Seth Cotlar (2012, History), Wendy Petersen Boring (2011, History), Todd Silverstein (Chemistry, 2010), Ortwin Knorr (Classical Studies, 2009), Mike Strelow (English, 2008), Mark Conliffe (Russian, 2007), Charlie Wallace (Religious Studies, 2006), Steve Hey (Sociology, 2005), Lane McGaughy (Religious Studies, 2004), Ken Nolley (English, 2003), Myles Jackson (Science Studies, 2002), James Thompson (Art, 2001), and Bill Braden (English, 2000).

Willamette University

Office of International Education

Global Learning Center
Willamette University
900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.

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