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CCEE students explore coast of Ireland while learning valuable lessons in civil engineering

Thirteen CCEE students traveled nearly 3,600 miles from May 24 to June 29 to study abroad in the lush Emerald Isle — also known as Ireland. Headquartered in Dublin, the CCEE Summer Study Abroad Program gave students the opportunity to see infrastructure from a different perspective while exploring Ireland and broadening their cultural exposure. 

In addition to taking CCEE courses CE 301: Civil Engineering Surveying and Geomatics and CE 383: Hydrology and Urban Water Systems on the University of College Dublin campus, students had the opportunity to visit Irish hotspots including the Cliffs of Moher, the Howth Cliffs, the Giant’s Causeway, and the towns of Belfast and Derry. The trip was overseen by Professor William Rasdorf and Teaching Assistant Professor Jonathan Miller. 

“We had a wonderful group of students,” Miller said. “They were a  joy to have in class, but they were also fun to spend time with outside of class. On study abroad trips, you get to know them in a much deeper way than on campus.” 

It was the first CCEE program based in Dublin; the department most recently had an Irish study abroad program offering in Cork in 2019.

“Living in another country provides a lot of opportunities for personal growth,” Rasdorf said. “Learning how to travel, how to use local currency, and how to communicate with citizens of another country all promote personal self achievement and build confidence in what each of us can do. Learning experiences include geography, engineering, art, cuisine, and history, all in addition to the classes taken.”

Civil engineering student Brandon Tucker chose to go on the trip because he wanted to get more involved in the CCEE department while taking two upper-level civil engineering courses.

This program allows students to travel outside of their comfort zone and pursue new experiences, while gaining a global context to the engineering problems we see in our classes,” Tucker said. “Particularly in civil engineering, I especially valued living and experiencing Irish infrastructure, such as their robust bus system and historic downtown district, and comparing that to what we see in Raleigh or the U.S.”

Civil engineering student Riley Schindler said the program is important because it gives students “a deep look at a brand new place outside our little bubble at school with amazing professors that want to push you to excel while tying our classes with a whole new environment.

“It allows students the opportunity to witness other parts of the world, garnering new lessons and experiences for the future. This trip also helps students to advance in their academics with summer sessions while learning and experiencing a whole new culture.”

Civil engineering student Jaylin Fisher said she decided to study abroad because she wanted to do something out of her comfort zone. 

“I’ve always wanted to travel but never really knew how to do it by myself,” she said. “I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to start.”

Fisher explained that her experience in Ireland was one that she’ll remember forever. 

“I made some great memories with new friends that I won’t ever forget,” she said. “Although there were so many highlights to the trip, I think my favorite was getting to experience the beautiful scenery and landscapes. The Howth Cliffs were one of my favorite spots we visited. I think it’s important because getting to experience new cultures and places is very meaningful and it allows us to learn new things that wouldn’t necessarily come from a classroom.”


The students toured Dalkey Castle near Dublin, one of the two remaining (of seven) Rare, Fortified, Medieval, Townhouse Castles from the 14th century in Dalkey.


Members of the group visited Croke Park, a Gaelic games stadium in Dublin, where they watched a traditional game of hurling. “My biggest highlight from the trip had to be the time we spent in downtown Dublin — an incredibly lively, historic, and beautiful city center,” civil engineering student Brandon Tucker said.