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Students

Liberal Arts student spends a year studying in Ireland, travels through Europe

January 5, 2010

Michelle Garcia, a senior with a double major in anthropology and French, spent a year studying in Ireland and traveling through Europe.

Michelle Garcia, a senior from Pueblo, in Ireland.

Michelle Garcia - In her own words

“I am the daughter of a single mother and a dead father, the sister of three brothers and one sister, and most importantly, a Garcia. My first name has played an insignificant role in my life so far; a Garcia is who I am and who I will always be. As Papa frequently reminded me, ‘You’re a Garcia, mi hija, and you should be proud.’

“Mama graduated from high school, and Papa dropped out during middle school. I attend college for them; they never had the opportunity to go. I am going to college for the Garcia name and for the smile it puts on Mama’s face.

Ireland is Mama's heritage

“Ireland was my final study abroad destination because of Mama’s and Grandma’s heritage. I was raised in Pueblo, Colo., which has a large population of Hispanics, and Papa’s culture has always been represented in my life.

“My study abroad experience in Ireland is nothing like my American life. I am the only Garcia in each of my classes – culture shock! And the food … I have been living off chicken my entire stay in Ireland. There is a limited selection of Mexican food in Cork, Ireland.

Grand language, nice people

“But Ireland is ‘good craic.’ The island is beautiful, the people are extremely nice, and the Irish language is grand.

“I was a Garcia before I left to Ireland, and now, I am a García, with the i fada (the fada is a diacritical mark found frequently in the Irish written language). I have lived, studied, and spoken like the Irish. I have taken Irish language courses at the University College of Cork, learned a simple Irish jig, and appreciated the days when it hasn’t rained. I have registered with the Irish Immigration Officials and am Irish (until September). Is maith liom Eireann; I love Ireland.

Discover your hidden qualities

“Traveling gives a person independence, a chance to explore your limitations, and an opportunity to discover your hidden qualities. I will continue to travel after I have finished college. Madagascar is my dream destination. My two majors can be used there; I can speak French and use my anthropology major to hang out with the lemurs.”

Originally published in the College of Liberal Arts Newsletter, Fall 2009.