Students Visit Ireland for Study Abroad Program in Social Justice

June 14, 2017 - Ten University of Memphis students visited Ireland for a week in May 2017 as part of a course offered through the College of Education entitled "Social Justice and Intellectual Disability in Ireland." The students included four undergraduate, one master's level, and five doctoral students. Additionally, one TigerLIFE student and parent and four "Friends of TigerLIFE" participated in the experience, sponsored by the University of Memphis Institute on Disability (UMID) in conjunction with the Study Abroad office.

The purpose of the course was to examine issues of social justice for people with intellectual disabilities by visiting various Irish institutions of higher education (Trinity College, Maynooth University, University College Cork, and Limerick Institute of Technology) and learning about their Inclusive Post Secondary Education (IPSE) programs. Students compared and contrasted American IPSE programs—such as TigerLIFE at the University of Memphis—with the Irish models.

Larissa Boyd, a Master's degree student in Educational Psychology, was impressed by the inclusive nature of Irish universities with regard to students with intellectual disabilities. "They are in the same classes, societies (fraternities and sororities), and participate in graduations with their classmates." Larissa added that visiting the IPSE programs in Ireland helped her see the potential American colleges and universities have to accommodate young people with intellectual disabilities and integrate these students into all aspects of college life. "It made me realize that we can do this; we just have to set some things in motion!" She said that in the future, she hopes more TigerLIFE students can accompany university students on study abroad trips.

Dr. Chrisann Schiro-Geist, Director of UMID, stated that this pilot experience went very well and hopes to continue study abroad classes that focus on IPSE programs at least every other academic year. For more information about the University of Memphis TigerLIFE program, visit https://www.memphis.edu/tigerlife

Social Justice Study Abroad

Contact: Dr. Chrisann Schiro-Geist