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Sophomores Immersed in Irish Culture as Inaugural Villanova Nursing Students with “SHU in Dingle”

students on pier
Sophomore nuring students Hadleigh Heller and Chloe Berry (far right) are studying abroad in Dingle, Ireland. They visited Dunquin Pier on the Dingle Peninsula with other students in the "SHU in Dingle" program.

In August, two sophomore nursing students traveled to Dingle, Ireland to gain an immersive and unforgettable study abroad experience in their fall semester. Hadleigh Heller from Portland, Ore. and Chloe Berry from Fairfield, Conn. took this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and joined a Sacred Heart University (SHU) program, “SHU in Dingle.”

This particular semester in the Villanova Nursing curriculum allows the students to have a study abroad experience while staying aligned with their peers in Driscoll Hall.

Hadleigh wanted to take advantage of this opportunity because “Dingle looked like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I just couldn't miss out on.” For Chloe, she knew “how hard it can be for nursing students to study abroad, therefore when I heard about ‘SHU in Dingle,’ I knew I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity.”

Their student life consists of Irish living and a variety of classes that are traditional nursing classes as well as classes that help them learn more about Irish culture. All the students in the program live with each other in Irish cottages, called Glor na hAbhann cottages. Their program allows them to take in-person classes as well as virtual classes through Villanova.

Dingle students c

Hadleigh and Chloe take classes such as Introduction to Irish Music and Celtic Religious Traditions to help further expand their knowledge of the Irish culture. Hadleigh says of her Irish classes, “I am learning a lot about Irish music and pub culture in my music class, and we even learned how to play a few traditional tunes on the Irish whistle. In my Celtic Religions class, we are learning all about Irish history and we even took a field trip to an ancient tomb site near Dingle.”

Additionally, they take nursing classes that help them fill Villanova Nursing requirements such as Anatomy and Physiology, Health Psychology, Elementary Statistics, Fundamentals of Nutrition, and Health Assessment. Hadleigh and Chloe also take virtual Villanova classes. Chloe commends SHU as they have “been amazing with allowing us to take our health assessment lab in one of our classrooms, as well as letting us use the nursing equipment we need for lab.”

Classes are Monday to Thursday, leaving weekends for exploring and trips.

When asked about how their program further immerses them in Irish culture, Chloe explains that they have been able to go on various excursions such as “kayaking in Dingle Bay, a sea safari where we saw Dingle’s beautiful landscapes and sea life, holding a baby lamb, a scenic tour through Slea Head, and a hike up to Eask Tower to see a beautiful view looking over Dingle.” In addition, they were able to explore more of Ireland by taking a trip to Galway where they explored the city. Hadleigh explains the benefits of living in a small town. She loves to interact and create friendships with locals and eat traditional Irish food at the restaurants and pubs.

Although the students are only halfway through their semester in Dingle, they already have gained valuable experience. Hadleigh sees this semester as the “highlight of my college experience so far,” and highly recommends that nursing students study abroad if they have the opportunity. Chloe appreciates her time so far and all the new friends she has made. She also emphasizes that “anyone who is on the fence of going, GO! You will not regret it I promise.”