Besides being a popular tourist spot, Ireland is also strategic for ministry. One of only two European countries whose official language is English, it is a natural bridge for Americans to reach Europe. Perhaps more important than that is the Irish diaspora–the spread of their population all around the world. Although only 4.5 million people live in Ireland, there are nearly 66 million people of Irish descent living around the world today. Over the centuries the Irish have settled far and wide, helping to make Ireland one of the great missionary sending nations in the past.
Because of its size and relative influence in Europe and the world, Ireland is an extremely strategic place for the gospel to be replanted. There are roughly 150,000 university students studying in Ireland each year, and a third of these are in the capital city of Dublin. Though Ireland has a significantly Catholic history, today’s college students have very little exposure to the gospel. We have found that with a little patience and gentle persistence, they are open to learning about Jesus Christ.
The current Cru ministry in Ireland is still young. Based in Dublin, there is a small full-time team and two growing movements in main universities: Trinity College and University College Dublin. We are building these movements carefully and slowly through a handful of student leaders even as we begin to pray and look at other colleges in Ireland where we could start new Cru movements. Is God calling you to be a part of what He’s doing through Cru in Ireland?
You can choose from a wide variety of disciplines and will be able to take about 15 credit hours. The workload will depend on which courses you elect to take, but will likely be less demanding than your classes in the United States.
Approximate dates for the fall semester of 2015 are September 1st to December 20th. For spring 2016, they are mid-January through mid-May.
Although Ireland has a strong religious history, today’s Irish college students are more heavily influenced by secular postmodernism. Generally, they have neutral or favorable attitudes toward Jesus, but a very superficial knowledge of God. The Dublin Cru team works to see college students in Ireland come to understand that the God of the universe loves them and wants to have a relationship with them, which He has made possible through Jesus Christ. Through various ministry initiatives, you will build relationships, help to surface spiritually interested students, identify and engage leaders on the campus, and share the gospel with some of the 50,000 students in Dublin.
You will live in a student residence with other international and Irish students on or near the campus where you choose to study. Along with being a place to call home for the semester, your residence can also become a great mission field.
Although it may take you a while to adjust to the accents, all classes will be taught in English and you should have little trouble with communication.
Costs vary somewhat depending on the academic program you choose, but you can plan on an approximate cost of around $20,000 for the semester including airfare, food and housing, in-country travel, administrative fees, and tuition. Prices tend to be cheaper if your school has an exchange with either university; check with your study abroad office.