Warner Robins, Ga. – Eleven students at Central Georgia Technical College (CGTC) made their journey to Ireland this June, officially bringing back Georgia’s only dual enrollment study abroad program.
Partnering with the Institute of Study Abroad Ireland (ISAI), CGTC and its Office of Global Initiatives has been planning the 2022 trip since 2020, monitoring travel guidance from the state department in response to the global pandemic.
In 2019, CGTC’s Ireland Dual Enrollment Study Abroad program sent students from its 11-county service area on its inaugural trip and made plans for annual ones.
“An official return for study abroad programs at CGTC feels like a breath of fresh air,” said JoBen Rivera-Thompson, CGTC’s coordinator for Marketing and International Outreach. “Our leadership has been in constant support of developing our students into global citizens that with each opportunity for international education return ready to impact our local workforce.”
The eleven students attending in 2022 represent high schools from Bibb County, Houston County, and Pulaski County. Dual enrollment student tuition is funded by the state, meaning students who enroll in the Humanities 1101 course for the trip are only required to fund travel and accommodation.
Zanobia Anderson and Brooklyn Phillips of Hawkinsville made the journey thanks to the generosity of the W. Mansfield Jennings Jr. Charitable Trust which gave to the CGTC Foundation for the purpose of funding study abroad scholarships for students residing in Hawkinsville-Pulaski County.
“Being from the small town of Hawkinsville, this trip, allowed me to do and experience things I thought I’d never be a part of,” said Phillips.
Anderson shared similar thoughts regarding the trip and added that if a student has an interest in studying abroad, there is only one good response.
“I think that you should do it,” Anderson said. “This meant so much to me because I never thought that I would be able to come out of the country and actually learn about the people of Ireland and different cultures.”
This trip is as much about learning the story of Ireland and its people through art, history, music, and culture, as it is about students discovering their own stories.
Whether through a team-building challenge in bog, community service in Bundoran, climbing cliffs, surfing, or walking through caves, castles, and communities, the entire experience asks students to reflect on the challenges, conflict, and decisions that surround their own life.
There to help bridge that story and connect pieces are fabulous leaders in Ireland with ISAI, and CGTC Humanities 1101 instructor, Scott Hughes.
“It took three years, but returning to Ireland felt like being home, and students who went this time fell in love with Ireland just like the last group of students,” said Hughes. “I got to see the country anew through their eyes.
Hughes will continue to lead the students as they finish their course back at their “first home” this summer.
Planning is underway for this study abroad trip in June 2023. Interested dual enrollment students, including those who will graduate in May 2023, should communicate with their High School Initiatives Coordinator regarding prerequisites and fill out the CGTC Global Initiatives Study Abroad Interest Form 2022-2023.
Community members interested in charitable contributions to the Global Initiatives Scholarship Fund can reach out to the CGTC Foundation at (478) 757-3503 or by visiting, www.centralgatech.edu/foundation.
WATCH: A Return to Ireland – CGTC Dual Enrollment Study Abroad June 2022