International Connections

Brenna Russell

Major: Kinesiology and Health

Minor/option/emphasis: Pre-PA option

Year: Junior
Hometown, State: WI

Type of experience: Faculty-Led Program
Experience: Experience Kinesiology in Ireland
Experience website:
Destination: Ireland

Overall experience..
Overall, this experience was amazing! I enjoyed every second of it and learned so much. It was a very packed trip with very little free time, but we got to explore and do so much. It was the perfect balance of school work and time to travel the country. All of the school work we did was directly related to kinesiology, and it was all so interesting to me. I met some really great friends, and got to know my professor.

I learned...
My kinesiology advisor told me about the program.

An impact to my life...
I am interested in sports medicine. Although this program was highly directed at physical therapy, I think it is still important to understand the role physical therapy has on sports injuries. This trip was also very sports based. So the physical therapists we did talk to were all for hurling and rugby teams. This experience impacted my life in ways I never thought it would. I learned so much about the Irish culture, and especially sport culture. It will be important for me to understand that there is a difference in sport culture across the world.

A surprising discovery...
One thing I learned that I didn't expect was that all of the Irish hurling and gaelic football teams are amateur sports. So many people play them and it seems like everyone is interested in them, but no one can play professionally. In the US, professional sports is what everyone strives to achieve as an athlete, but in Ireland, these people do it simply for the love of the sport. There is no politics or money involved for the players. Every player must play for their home county. Players aren't traded and they don't have contracts. They play when they want to, and at what level they choose to. As someone interested in sports medicine, this will help me take a new perspective on athletes with difficult injuries. I think it will help me connect to the athletes and figure out why they love their sport so much.

Advice for others...
My advice to other students on this trip would be to make the most out of it. There were some days when our itinerary had to change, and we had the option to reschedule an educational trip to a physical therapy clinic. I am so glad we did. It ended up being one of the best days I had in Ireland. There was another time when we had to choose between sleeping in or going earlier to an oceanside village. We chose to sleep in, but when we arrived, we all wish we had went earlier. You are only there once, so make the most of all of the time you are given there. You can sleep when you get back!!

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