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Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Program Type: Semester Minimum GPA: 3.0
Service-Learning Programs: YES Class Eligibility: Junior, Senior, Sophomore
Academic Area/Focus: American Studies, Anthropology, Art: Art History, Arts and Education, Classics, Comparative Literature, Dance, Economics, English, Entrepreneurial Studies, Environmental Studies, European Studies, History, International Studies, Latin, Media and Society, Music, Peace Studies, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Public Policy, Religious Studies, Social Sciences, Sociology, Writing & Rhetoric Language Courses Offered: French, Spanish
Program Description:

Galway, Ireland

Galway, a university town with a vibrant artistic and cultural atmosphere, is the administrative capital of County Galway and the largest city in the West of Ireland. This area of the country is noted for its geographic and cultural distinctiveness.

With the largest concentration of Gaelic-speaking communities in Ireland, the West is widely recognized as the most typically "Irish" part of the country. The Gaelic heritage is perhaps most evident in the Aran Islands (Inishmore, Inishmaan, and Inisheer), located just off the coast at the entrance to Galway Bay. 
About the Program
Courses & Academic Focus
Money Matters
Application Information
Program Handbook


About the Program

Hobart and William Smith Colleges maintain an affiliation with the University of Galway to provide students with the opportunity to live and study among Irish students at an Irish university. Participants in the program are also encouraged to join one of the many university clubs and organizations in order to directly experience Irish student life and culture. Community service options are available and provide a unique opportunity for students to gain access to the local community.  

Courses & Academic Focus

This program consists of a combination of special courses taught for the group and regular university courses. All students will take two required courses:

Contemporary Irish Culture and Society (1 credit)
This course, an interdisciplinary survey designed to give students insight into important historical events and processes that have shaped Irish culture and society, is organized and taught by faculty from the Centre for Irish Studies at the University of Galway. A series of excursions are linked to this course and will serve to illustrate key themes and topics.

Fall 2024 Director’s Seminar: Irish Creativities (1 credit)

Creativity is everywhere in Ireland and in Galway, in particular. It is a pervasive part of history, discourse, community life, and development projects in Ireland from the local to the national level. There are also multiple types and cultural frames of creativity happening in Ireland, thus the term "creativities." There are creativities to be studied in: 1) efforts to conserve Irish national culture, crafts, and arts; 2) the aims and outcomes of Irish government initiatives, such as the Creative Ireland program and its local satellite programs; 3) myriad contemporary creative forms (food, music, fashion, street art, crafts); 4) various entrepreneurial forms emerging out of the globalizing "creative economies" movement in Europe and beyond; 5) increasingly diverse cultural threads outside the mainstream, such as in Traveler and immigrant communities; and 6) the unique power of expressive resistance in various media in Irish social movements, such as in public discourse, street art, protest posters, and music. 

This course will lead students to explore, contextualize, understand, and think critically about the various creativities happening in the lived culture of Ireland. Connections to Irish creativities will be made through readings, visiting presenters, and excursions in and around Galway and throughout Ireland.

Spring 2024 Director's Seminar: Growth, Crisis, and Change: Ireland and the World Economy (1 credit) 
Ireland has undergone a period of tumultuous economic change during the last three decades. In the early 1990s, Ireland began a transformation from one of the poorest countries in Europe to become one of the fastest-growing countries in the world. It was dubbed the “Celtic Tiger,” an allusion to the “Asian Tigers” nickname of the fast-growing East Asian countries (Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan) of the same period. This period of Irish growth and transformation coincided with a period of global growth, along with the “dot-com boom” in the US. When the dot-com bubble burst, Ireland experienced a slowdown, followed, as in the US, with renewed growth partially driven by a real estate and financial bubble.
The global bursting of that bubble hit Ireland hard as its formerly booming economy experienced in quick succession property market, financial, and fiscal crises. The result was an extended period of economic difficulty. Most recently, the COVID-19 crisis has instigated a series of major economic disruptions, both globally and within Ireland. How these crises will ultimately be resolved and the extent to which they will lead to lasting economic transformation is yet to be determined.
This course aims to explain the Irish economic experience, place it in a global context, and examine how both the gains from and harms from these tumultuous periods were distributed in Ireland. Students will be encouraged to think from the “big picture,” global-level trends, and next to how those trends are realized in individual countries and places, and, finally, how real people’s actual lives are affected.
*NOTE: This will be offered as a 100-level course, although students have the option to take it as a 300-level course by completing additional and more advanced work.

Elective Courses (2 courses/2 credits)
In addition, students will select two electives from the regular University of Galway catalogue. Following are examples of courses taken by students on previous programs. Consult the University of Galway website for further details on course offerings: 
Some sample course titles include:

Introduction to Northern Irish Politics
Feminist Thought 
Shakespearean Comedies 
Short Plays of Samuel Beckett 
Women in Irish Society Irish Art 
Drama and Theatre Studies 
Gaelic Language 
Scottish Short Stories 
Church and State in Ireland 
Contemp. Irish Poetry 
The English Language in Ireland 
Irish Famine in a European Perspective

The Galway program is accessible to students from virtually any academic discipline as participants will be able to select two courses from the University of Galway catalogue. Note that access for international students to some University of Galway courses is limited due to such factors as the duration of the course and the nature of course prerequisites. Science students with very specific course needs are advised to consult with staff at the Center for Global Education before applying to this program.


This program is open to juniors and seniors (sophomores may be considered in exceptional cases) in good academic and social standing with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Students may be required to successfully complete a Reader's College orientation course during the semester preceding the program. Due to the challenging nature of study abroad, student academic and disciplinary records will be carefully screened.


Students participating in this program will be housed alongside Irish and international students in flats in a complex called “Gort na Coiribe”, located on the Headford Road about a 10-minute walk from the University of Galway campus. Fully equipped kitchens are included in the flats and a large shopping center and a cinema complex are nearby. As you are responsible for your own meals on this program, you may choose to prepare your own at home. In addition, full meals may be purchased at the university canteen at government-subsidized prices. To view the accommodations, visit the Gort na Coiribe website at
Galway, Ireland


Several excursions linked to the Irish Culture and Society course are included as part of this program. They typically include visits to Northern Ireland, Dublin, Cork, Kerry, and the Aran Islands. Some local excursions in and around Galway may be organized as well.

Money Matters

Students will be charged standard HWS tuition and fees, room fees, and a $600 administrative fee. This will cover tuition for a four-course semester, health insurance, housing, and program-related activities and excursions. Note that no HWS board fee will be charged. Students should plan to bring their board fee to cover meal expenses throughout the program. While meal expenses will vary according to individual tastes, we estimate $2200-$2400 should be sufficient for students who prepare their own meals.

Additional expenses not covered include airfare, visa, books, and personal expenses (laundry, entertainment, ground transportation, and independent travel). We estimate airfare for this program at $900-$1100 from the East Coast, visa at $350, and books at $250. It is difficult to give an accurate estimate of personal expenses because student spending habits differ considerably. We would suggest a minimum of $1500 above and beyond meal expenses. However, students on a tight budget should be able to manage with less. If you are concerned about finances, we strongly encourage you to talk to the CGE staff who can offer information and advice based on your specific situation.

Application Information

HWS students must complete all components of the Global Education application in order to be considered for admission to this program. 

  • This program is offered every semester.
  • All components of the application must be submitted online by the published deadline. Specific deadline dates are set each semester and typically will be in late September/early October (for Fall programs) and late February/early March (for Spring programs).

Program Handbook

IMPORTANT: The handbook(s) below is/are the most recent handbook(s) to date that have been uploaded by CGE staff. Program participants receive their updated copy of the handbook 2-3 months prior to their specific program's start date.


Please DO NOT MAKE TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS for your program until you have received a notification from the CGE letting you know that the most recent version (your version) of the handbook (along with program start/finish dates) has been posted online and sent to your e-mail.

NOTE: The information above is subject to change. Please see the CGE for more information.                     

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Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Fall 2024 09/29/2023 11/03/2023 TBA TBA