Understanding historical innovation is an important lens through which to examine current innovation and society’s changes over time. Learn about innovation in a broad context and connect and apply these concepts to the rich Irish history of innovation across disciplines, including art, science, and technology.
An important part of this course is examining why and how the shift from an agricultural-based economy has occurred, as well as immersing within Irish culture to better understand its role facilitating this environment in a small island country. We will explore Irish innovation and culture across disciplines and through readings, lectures, and experiences in country to various sites, including the Science Gallery and the National Museum. You will emerge with an understanding of how business and government practices foster creativity in a country beyond the US.
We will examine ancient innovations such as Newgrange, and the Book of Kells, as well as start-ups and multinational companies like Google, Facebook, and AirBnB that make Dublin the “heart of technology in Europe.” We will also look at current and historical practices in the Irish economy, cultivated through public policy, government agencies such as the Industrial Development Authority, foreign direct investment, and multinational companies.
Housing & Meals
You will live in shared rooms with fellow program participants. Welcome and farewell meals, and some additional meals are included in the program fee. We will take additional meals in the housing or at local restaurants and eateries.
Excursions may include:
- An “Ingenious Dublin” walking tour focusing on inventions and innovations
- Tour of Kilmainham Gaol (Jail)and Glasnevin Cemetery
- Visit to the Little Museum of Dublin
- Visit to the Science Gallery
- Walking tour of Trinity campus and visit to the Old Library and the Book of Kells
- Visit to Glendalough
- An evening theatre performance
- Visits and lectures at a start-up and/or tech companies
All program participants will take the coordinated group flight to and from the program site. The cost of the group flight is included in the program fee that will be posted to your student account. Do not book your own flight; you will receive information from the Learning Abroad Center about your seat on the group flight once your participation has been confirmed.
- Socialize as global professionals who understand that human interaction and culture are relevant to achieving professional goals
- Discover and connect with the University of Minnesota campus and community
- Think critically, analyze topics, and appreciate diverse perspectives through pre-departure coursework, studying abroad, and guided reflection
- Function as an effective team member by utilizing personal strengths in a group setting
- Develop an understanding of the importance of future international and intercultural learning
- Understand the role of creativity, innovation, discovery, and expression across disciplines
- Acquire skills for effective citizenship and lifelong learning
Faculty & Staff
This seminar is taught by Dr. John Ward, a professor within the College of Biological Sciences, and the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education. He taught this course previously in 2017, 2018, and 2023, and Freshman Seminars Abroad in Iceland in 2019 and 2020.
One 3-credit course
This is an on-campus class during the spring semester. On-campus Spring Semester 2024 course meets: Wednesdays from 2:00–4:00 p.m. on East Bank. Abroad term: Spring Break 2024
Student assessment includes an online discussion, one short and two 3- to 4-page essays, one group presentation, an experiential journal while in Ireland, and preparing a video shortly after returning from Ireland.
Receive Credit for: BIOL 1904
Liberal Education Fulfillments: Global Perspectives
Submit the online application and complete the assigned application checklist according to the appropriate deadline:
|Term||Program Dates||Application Deadline|
|Spring Break 2024||March 1–March 10, 2024 tentative||December 10, 2023|
Important Note: This program departs for Ireland on Friday, March 1. If you have any classes on that date, you may need to miss them in order to travel.
Program dates are subject to change.
If the deadline falls on a weekend, submit your materials on the following business day.
Important Note: Enrollment on this program is limited to 20 students. Admission is granted on a rolling basis and applications are reviewed in the order they are completed. Some programs may fill to capacity prior to the application deadline, therefore applying early is recommended. Additionally, applying early will allow for more time to plan ahead and prepare for the program.
Join in-person or over Zoom. Register and learn more about this and other events on our events page.
|Thurs., Sept. 28||2:00 p.m.||Hybrid (Heller Hall 230C or Zoom)|
|Fri., Sept. 29||12:00 p.m.||Online (register for Zoom link)|
|Fri., Nov. 17||12:00 p.m.||Online (register for Zoom link)|
|Mon., Nov. 20||12:30 p.m.||Online (register for Zoom link)|
On Campus Dates
Wednesdays, 2:00–4:00 p.m., on East Bank-Minneapolis Campus
Orientation Dates & Locations
Orientation will be conducted in 2 parts: an online orientation, which is mandatory for all students, and an in-person, program-specific session. You will receive more information about the online orientation via email. Failure to complete the online orientation will impact your ability to go abroad.
See below for tentative dates and times for your in-person session. You will be notified of the official date and time via email. Participants will receive applicable orientation materials via email approximately 1 week prior to the in-person session.
|Spring Break 2024||TBD||TBD|
The program fee includes airfare, housing, program administration, welcome and farewell meals, some additional meals, international health insurance, entrances to course-related excursions and site visits, airport transfers, and in-country transportation for all course related activities. Typically, program fees range between $5,000–$5,500. Students must also budget for passport and passport photos, some meals, spending money, and miscellaneous living expenses.
Recent increases in international airfare and accommodation costs have impacted all instructor-led program fees. The LAC strives to follow best practices to provide the lowest cost program while ensuring a quality academic experience.
If you are registered for less than 13 credits, you will be charged tuition for this course in addition to the program fee.
Billing & Payments
Visit Billing for information about the billing process for application fees, deposits, and program fees.
Financial Aid & Scholarships
Visit Financial Information for information on using financial aid and scholarships for study abroad.
Special Funding available through the Gerald B. & Catherine L. Fischer Freshman Seminar Abroad Scholarship.
Bridging Loan, a no-interest/no-fees loan that funds the upfront deposit and flights costs, is available for this program for eligible students.
Before you apply to or confirm your participation on this program, review the Learning Abroad Center's Cancellation Policy to inform yourself of the timeline and financial obligations for canceling.
Spring Break 2024
Freshman Seminar Abroad: Storytelling & Start-ups in Ireland
Spring Break 2024
|Tuition and educational costs||$2,707|
|International health insurance||$26|
|Housing and/or mealsWelcome and farewell meals included||$532|
|Transportation (if required and included in program fee)||$1,395|
|Total Program Fee||$5,060|
|Program discount for University of Minnesota and Big Ten students, if applicable||$0|
|Total Program Fee with discount, if applicable||$5,060|
Estimated Additional Expenses
|Costs Typically Incurred Prior to Departure These costs may need to be paid before your financial aid is disbursed for your term abroad.|
|Transportation to and from program siteTransport to/from MSP not included||$50|
|Visa/required documentsETIAS maybe needed for this program||$10|
|Total Estimated Cost Incurred Prior to Departure||$260|
|Costs Typically Incurred After Arrival in Host Country|
|Housing and/or meals not included in program feeMost meals not included; apartments include kitchen||$350|
|Essential daily living expensesCell phone required||$75|
|Total Estimated Cost Incurred After Arrival in Host Country||$475|
Total Estimated Cost of Participation
|Total Estimated Cost of Participation||$5,795|
|Spending money and personal travel Not included in financial aid calculation||$200|
|Additional Notes & Information|
|* Immunizations Note: This estimate is based on approximate cost of travel-related vaccinations and medications required for entry or recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Your costs may be higher or lower depending on your travel clinic, the specific immunizations and medication prescribed, and your insurance coverage.|
Be aware: Learning Abroad Center programs require a $50 application fee. This fee will be charged to your student account upon submission of an online application.
A COVID-19 vaccine & booster and negative COVID test before departure (own expense) may be required on arrival in country or at various venues in this location (based on current government and local policies). This may change before departure.
Participants are expected to follow local and governmental COVID-19 guidelines and requirements while abroad. Visit the CDC International Travel website and the LAC COVID Policies page for updated information.
US Consulate in Ireland COVID-19 Information site (current updates on entry/exit and local requirements).
More information can be provided during advising sessions and pre-departure orientation with the program contact in the LAC.
You will be charged a $50 application fee for each application you submit.
After you submit your application, you will receive an email notification confirming that your application was received. Submitted applications are assigned an application checklist, which will include the following items:
- Application Essay
Detailed descriptions and instructions for submitting each checklist item are included on the application checklist assigned to you.
- After you complete all required application checklist items, you will receive an automated email message indicating your application is ready to be reviewed.
- Your completed application will be reviewed by the Learning Abroad Center.
- If admitted, the Confirmation & Payment Agreement form will be added to your checklist. Complete this form to secure your spot on the program. By submitting the form, you also give your approval for the program deposit to be billed to your UofM student account.
- Complete the confirmation checklist, which include the following items in additional to program-specific forms:
- Passport Information
- Emergency Contacts
- Health Information Form
- Online Health & Safety Orientation
- Release & Waiver
- You will receive information about additional steps from the sponsoring college/department.
Register for On-Campus Course
Your participation on this program is secured by applying and confirming through the Learning Abroad Center application process.
You will also need to register for the on-campus course BIOL 1904.
Note: Registering for the course, but not confirming through the Learning Abroad Center, will not hold your spot in the program.
After You Apply
Before your program begins, review these resources.
Health & Safety
Learn more about staying healthy and safe abroad, including mental health and wellness, international travel insurance, and safety precautions.
Power of Attorney
Consider designating someone as your power of attorney to act as your legal representative while you’re abroad.
Consult our resources on student identities as you prepare for your abroad experience.
Ready to go abroad? Our travel resources will help you pack and learn what to expect.
For further information or questions about this program, send an email to