Last weekend, I finally got to do something I’ve been looking forward to for almost a year: spend time with my fellow Mitchell scholars.

Adam, Sarang, Shane, Jon, and Michael

After months and months of preparation, emails, and waiting, we finally got to just hang out and get to know one another better. Well, that, and hear from a variety of speakers on topics relating to contemporary Irish life, experience a couple of Dublin tourist must-dos, and spend some time in the American Ambassador’s residence in lovely Phoenix Park. We were busy!

Let me start with the obvious highlight: the other scholars. Mostly, I’m just impressed with how complex, intelligent, and kind I found everyone in the group to be. I discovered that I’m not the only one with an interesting family background. And everyone seems to be so well-rounded and active! I’m excited for what the year will bring in terms of what I can learn from these 11 amazing people…

The weekend was scheduled to the brim. We started it all off with a visit to the American Ambassador’s residence in Phoenix Park for a reception. This building is widely known amongst the Irish – many say it is even nicer than the Irish president’s residence! Indeed, the building proved to be an architectural gem inside.

During the following two days, we met with Irish experts in the fields of journalism, theater, and economics. We visited Kilmainham Gaol and learned about the Irish struggle for independence from the British. We saw a devastating, occasionally funny play by Irish playwright Enda Walsh called The New Electric Ballroom. And we got to visit one of the most incredible museum exhibits I’ve ever seen – an exhibit on W.B. Yeats at the National Library of Ireland. If you’re interested, check out their website which basically recreates the museum online – really incredible use of technology!

By the time Sunday morning rolled around, I was happy but exhausted. If every weekend was this full, I’d be blessed indeed. And REALLY behind on my homework.

Mitchells learning about life in Kilmainham Gaol.

Mitchells learning about life in Kilmainham Gaol.