Canadian students' visit to Ireland

Date: 01 May 2019


By Matthew Jeong (Grade 11)


This past March break, twelve students and three teachers embarked on a journey to Ireland and I was one of these lucky few. The students included seven from Brebeuf, three from Loretto Abbey, one from St Joseph Morrow Park and one from Neil McNeil. When I joined this leadership and service group, the only goal I had was to create memories with my friends. But why Ireland? The school trips being offered at the time were Paris, Rome, and Ireland however my friend and I chose Ireland because out of all the countries English was most commonly used in Ireland.

Things did not go expected when I learned that there were multiple classes that I had to go to before the trip (Grade 11 Leadership and Grade 12 Interdisciplinary Studies). At first, the classes felt like a chore when I saw the multiple assignments I had to do; however, as time went on and I went to more classes, it started to feel more like a group of friends meeting up and I started to be excited about the upcoming classes.

After all the classes were done, it was finally time for the big trip and it sure did not disappoint! The trip had numerous memorable moments that I couldn't possibly fit into this article, therefore I'll include the moments that meant the most to me.

To start off, one memorable moment was when we went to Presentation Brothers' high schools in Bray and Cork. I had the opportunity to meet new people, create new friends and learn so much more about Ireland from those who have lived all their lives in Ireland. In Cork, we were able to interact with grade 8 Irish students by running an Olympics Day for them and teaching in their classes about Canada.  This taught us about certain character traits the Irish have compared to us in Canada.

Another meaningful moment was also in Cork, where we went to the Presentation Brothers' Retirement Home. The Brothers gave us a warm welcome with tea and snacks, and then they illustrated through thoughtful conversation the true meaning of brotherhood. They truly displayed our motto "Men for Others".

Despite all the experiences the most meaningful for me were the bus rides and spending time in the hotel rooms with my friends. When I joined this journey, I signed up with two of my friends but what I learned is that after spending days nonstop with people you're used to seeing for a only a few hours on weekdays, you discover many things you haven't before. Through the journey, I learned more about my friends and more about myself with them. This whole experience has been a once in a lifetime opportunity and through it, I have grown spiritually and personally.​