The Elderly and Worldly Connections

5 Dec

As a requirement of the NU.in program, students must participate in Service Learning. This program allows students to dive deeper into the Irish culture by interacting with the community through volunteer service.

For my service learning I have been placed in Age Action. Age Action is an organization that assists the elderly community in Ireland in various ways.  They envision that they will help “Ireland become(s) the best country in which to grow older.” Age action provides a plethora of services to the aging community such as volunteer home repair, home visits, citizen advocacy, events, educational classes, and computer training. I will be helping in the computer training classes. Personally, I love computers and how they have affected the world. We live in a very high tech world in which the ability to use computers is becoming essential. It is not hard to forget that computers are not necessarily as intuitive as they appear to be. I will be acting as a tutor to to a member of Dublin’s elderly community and will work with them one-on-one once a week for 4 months and help them develop basic computer skills like how to create e-mails and how to Skype.

For four weeks I was paired up with a man named Bert from just north of Dublin. Bert was actually quite well versed in computers so most of our sessions just ended with us drinking tea and talking about what’s going on in the world. Bert was an interesting character. He has quite the international family. Bert’s daughter lives in South Africa while his son lives in New Zealand. Bert himself takes accommodates four international students every year while they study on Erasmus. Bert, for a seventy-eight year old, is quite in tune the happenings of this world. My experience with Bert has shown me that Ireland is a much more international land that I initially anticipating upon arrival. Before Arriving to Ireland, I imagined it as a nation that was quite self-contained and homogenous. Although there are definitely areas that are quite homogenous, I was still surprised with the variety of nationalities that Ireland has taken in and the places that the Irish have emigrated to.

 -Joe Hester

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