Quarter Abroad Ireland - Instructor

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Internships and Writing in Dublin

Study Abroad Faculty Photo

Amy Clarke

University Writing Program

Amy Clarke is an award winning lecturer in writing with a long Study Abroad history.  Beyond her work as a founding member of the University Writing Program, she has taught in France, Australia and the UK.  Her Oxford: Portal to Fantasy course is currently in its 9th year and has been described by many students as one of the best experiences of their lives.  She taught Australian Internships and Writing in Sydney in 2014, and while she will miss that spectacular place, she is thrilled to inaugurate a new version of this course in Ireland, a country she knows well.  Dr. Clarke brings over 35 years of experience teaching writing at the university level, and she sees Quarter Abroad as offering a unique opportunity for writing instruction to be personal, truly helpful and even transformative.

A Message to Students and Parents

"I didn’t need a DNA test to confirm that I am mostly Irish.  From my earliest days I heard stories about how two sets of great-grandparents met on the boat as they immigrated. My childhood was peopled with those newly arrived and with those freshly returned from their visit to the ancestral homeland, fishermen sweaters in hand.  As I matured, the stories I heard were more complex.  Elderly relatives recounted hiding their accents in the time of “Irish need not apply,” and the political turmoil in the North was discussed with intensity and anguish. 

Even so, I had no inkling that my undergraduate years would be focused on everything Irish.  Then a stroke of luck landed me in the company of a group of Irish literary scholars at UC Berkeley.  If ever there were a pot of gold!  I studied ancient Irish myths, Joyce’s masterworks, the plays of Synge, the poetry of Yeats and Heaney with the best in the business. 

In typical English major fashion, there was nothing for it but to make my pilgrimage.  So began my first solo travel adventure, a month kicking around the island.  Beyond the must dos of visiting 7 Eccles Street and seeing the Book of Kells, I walked many, many miles across countryside dotted with the ruins of stone castles and of tiny huts vacant since the potato famine.  Despite the Troubles in the North and economic disaster everywhere, the hospitality of the Irish people to this hapless American still buoys me. 

The Ireland I saw more recently has been transformed by economic prosperity and by racial diversity.  But the hospitality and the beauty are unchanged.  I can’t imagine a better place to dip deeply into a culture."