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Loyola students embark on inaugural ‘tech-trek’ to Ireland

Loyola Information Systems Professors Paul Tallon and Gloria Phillips-Wren traveled with 24 undergraduate students to Ireland for a spring break immersion trip. The students, who ranged from seniors to sophomores, visited 16 leading edge information technology companies in Dublin and Cork over a five-day period.
Loyola Spring Technology Immersion 2016
 

After landing in Dublin, the students enjoyed the city and explored all its cultural offerings. The group began their “tech-trek” on Monday. Their three-day schedule in Dublin included visits to the European, Middle East, and African (EMEA) headquarters of Facebook, Google, Twitter, Qualtrics, LinkedIn, Groupon, Dropbox, Salesforce, Airbnb and Intel.

After completing their Dublin visits, the group traveled by train to Cork where over a two-day period, they met with EMC, VMware, McAfee, Apple, Moog, and Boston Scientific.

According to Tallon, there are a surprising amount of Loyola graduates in Dublin and Cork. He organized an alumni event on Tuesday morning where three alums met with the group. Students were able to ask about living and working in Ireland as well as their personal transition from college to the real world.

“Students heard first-hand what it’s like to live and work in a foreign culture, especially one as multicultural as Ireland where it’s common to work in a company where people speak dozens of languages” said Tallon. “Students have heard about the emigrant experience and now they get to live out that experience.”

The students had four weeks of classes leading up the trip to help prepare them. Tallon said he wanted the students to feel knowledgeable about the companies to where they could ask probing questions during their meetings.

Loyola Students visit Google Ireland during the 2016 Spring Technology Immersion

Throughout the trip, students enjoyed visits to Blarney Castle where a few brave souls managed to climb the narrow staircase to kiss the Blarney Stone, the Cobh Heritage Center, the Cobh Titanic Experience, the Jameson Distillery, the Guinness Storehouse, and Dublin Castle. Dublin is currently celebrating the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising and so students were also able to gain a sense of Ireland’s struggles for independence.

This marked Loyola’s first Ireland immersion trip, which according to Tallon was received very positively by both the students and the companies they visited. Tallon is planning a similar trip in 2017 and hopes to offer a graduate version of the course at some point in the future.