One more day!

The Germany group is just one day away until they are ready for take off! Wondering what we will be up to? The group has some business meetings ahead of them with a few companies. Students will be learning these businesses strategies and understanding what aspects are making them successful.

Stay tuned to see what companies we meet with!

Aside from business meetings, we have many fun activities ahead of us as well!

Be sure to check in everyday to see what the Germany group is up to!

Let the Countdown Begin

Only 20 days, 60 meals, 19 sleeps, and 2 Mondays until we leave for Ireland… but who’s counting?

DAYS 1 & 2 – On the 3rd of June, we leave to explore the lovely Emerald Isle. We will arrive early Monday morning at five o’clock, hopefully with strong coffees in our hands. Energy will be much needed for a day of adventure from the Sugar Loaf Mountains to Glendalough! Any takers who will reenact a scene from “P.S. I Love You,” in Glendalough?

*Thing to know about Glendalough: it is known for its scenery, as well as its historical and archaeological heritage.* We will have the privilege of visiting the Round Tower, as well as walking along the riverbanks, woods, lakes, and waterfalls. Talk about getting our 10,000 steps in for the day! With all that walking, we might need a gallon of water, some new shoes, and a vibrational healer. Healer, Jane Donald, will lead a meditation at the Crystal Healing Forest right before we peacefully make the drive to Dublin for some songs and stories!

DAYS 3 & 4Dublin! So little time, so much to do. When we arrive in Dublin, we will go to the First House of Mercy, which was built by Catherine McAuley to help those in need. On deck is the Dead Zoo, which is also known as the Natural History Museum. Then, the National Art Gallery of Ireland, National Museum of Ireland, Doorway Art Gallery, Trinity College, and the Oscar Wilde Statue.

After we leave Dublin, we will travel along the Boyne Valley to the Bru na Boinne. Try saying that ten times fast! This will lead us to Newgrange Portal Tomb, or the Knowth Megalithic Passage Tomb. To be determined, but they both are 5,000 years old! Next, we will walk around TaraMeath, where the kings of Ireland and Tuatha de Dannan ruled. The Stone of Dynasty is a MUST SEE!

DAYS 5 & 6 – If you’ve ever taken the time to watch Stranger Things, and have wondered what it would be like to be in the “Upside Down,” I am sort of picturing the a similar situation with Uisneach. A place where the thin veil between the natural and supernatural slips away. Think: magic, gods, and goddesses.

All this feel good talk is making me eager for the Sound Healing Practitioner, Anne Tyrell, at the BallyMac Lodge Healing Retreat. We will experience a Sound Bath, followed by a gourmet lunch, and then head to Galway.

First stop in Galway is Mount Croagh Patrick, AKA the “Reek.” The mountain is 764 meters, overlooking Clew Bay in County Mayo. It is the holiest mountain in Ireland! If time allows (fingers crossed), we will then visit ancient monasteries in Cong Abbey.

DAYS 7 & 8 – So long Galway, it is now it’s time for Co. Clare and the Aillwee Caves. There is an underground river and waterfall in this 350,000 year old cave. The Birds of Prey, PoulnabroneDolmen Portal Tomb, and the Burren stone walls and famine houses are also on the agenda.

I have only heard wonderful things about our next stop: the Cliffs of Moher! After countless photo ops, we will head to the St. Brigit’s Healing Holy Well, and then travel through Limerick to Killarney in Co. Kerry.  I’m very excited to rent and ride a bike around Killarney, or to discover that I can actually hit a golf ball at the golf course!

After a day of fun activities, we have a free day. The options are limitless: Cathedral of Our Lady of Assumption, St. Patrick Marble Wall Mural, Killarney House & Gardens, the local Holy Well, etc.

DAYS 9 & 10Surprise adventure! Don’t worry, I will be sure to keep you posted. After the surprise, we will go to the Sacred Innisfallen Island, which is an enchanted island. We will discover the ancient monasteries, old universities, and do ceremony work. Somewhere along the way, I hope to catch a leprechaun, but willing to settle for a bowl of Lucky Charms. When the boat returns, we will go to the Ross Castle, take a stroll in the the Killarney National Park, and listen to traditional Irish music.

I am eagerly awaiting the next stop on the trip: Dingle…partly because “Dingle” is fun to say. Here, we will go on Killarney’s World Famous Tour of the Dingle Peninsula. But just imagine… picturesque mountains and unusual antiquities. After, we will stop at the Inch Bech, and then experience the Slea Head drive to view the Blasket Islands. We will also spend time in Dingle Town to meditate by the Atlantic Ocean.

Unfortunately, this post is coming to an end… and so is our trip.

Days 11 & 12 – Muckross Abbey is the place we will connect with the ancient energy of the Abbey and the Sacred Yew Tree. We will do healing work and a Celtic Chakra Spiral Meditation. After, we’ll be “chasin’ waterfalls” (infamous lyrics from 90’s group, TLC) at the Torc Waterfall. Next, we have the first of our stone circles: Kenmare Stone Circle, which is one of the largest stone circles in south west Ireland. And because two is always better than one, we will then go to Co. Limerick for the Grange Lois Stone Circle, which is the largest stone circle in Ireland.

When we are done healing at the high vibrational sites, we will head to Limerick City to the Mary Immaculate College for dinner. Dinner will be so good, that we are going to want to have breakfast there the next morning! After breakfast, we will leave for the airport, cry about how we have to leave this magical place and go back to the real world, hug our new friends goodbye, and bring our new positive energy back home!

Cannot wait! Xx, Kelsey

Bursting with excitement

Hello GCU community ! The Ireland group is officially less than a month away from hopping on a plane and beginning their journey through Ireland. Throughout this journey we hope to have you all see the beauty and culture of Ireland through photos and post.

Reflections from Italy

“This trip was my very first trip out of the country.  What really made me sign up was the fact that I would be traveling with classmates and my own professors, whom I feel safe and comfortable with; I believed that having this sense of comfort and security would allow me to stress less and have the opportunity to see so much more than I would be able to if I took this adventure on my own. This was the first time GCU used the CAPA Global Education network, and I believe if it was not for the kind, adventurous, dedicated, and caring representatives that helped us travel, eat, translate, and explore, this trip would not have been the same.  The entire trip, we knew we could depend on the women that traveled with us to get us to our destinations safely and promptly, in addition to finding the best places to eat for our price range, and choose the best museums, churches, and excursions.  Yes, I took over 2,000 photos on this 11-day excursion, but I took photos without even looking most of the time, so that I could take everything in in person, then look back fondly when I got home.  The things only my memory can hold include the richness of the food, like fresh cheese and seafood, the thrill of traveling on standing buses, the view from the highest buildings in the city, the view of the magnificent structures while looking from the ground up, the feeling of being somewhere so different and so awe-inspiring, a feeling I will never forget.”

Kassy Kasternakis ’18

Reflections from Nicaragua

Going into this experience I did not know what to expect. I was feeling so many different emotions. I was scared, excited, anxious, and so much more. When we first arrived, it was late at night after a long day and I was tired. I couldn’t really see what was going on and it looked scary to me. When we got to the rooms I was also feeling very skeptical about everything. It was not what I thought it was going to be. I definitely had a down moment that night and was praying the next day things would get better. It did (: After all the orientations, I had a better understanding on what was going on and that weekend we got to explore the country and have some fun. The lagoon was the best day and my favorite day there. It really was paradise. After having so much fun that weekend, it was time to get to work. I was excited at this point to help in the community and help people in the clinic. We got to go to the pharmacy and many of the medications the people needed were unavailable which was sad. We also got to go to triage, which was a lot of fun. We got through so many patients and I really felt like I was helping out and was able to use my skills to help the nurses and to help the patients get a better experience. We also went to homecare, which was such an eye-opening experience. All of the people let us into their houses and were so welcoming. The houses were so small and in some homes, there were many people in the house. I can’t even explain what the houses looked like, it made me speechless that these people lived on so little. They were so kind and so appreciative of us, it made me feel so good that I was able to do something for them. We also had many days of working hard in construction to build the clinic. We got a lot further than we thought we would, helping the clinic be built faster for them. The only thing that bothered me was how skinny all of the animals were, I wish I could have taken them all home and give them the love they deserve. Speaking of food, I am so happy that I am no longer eating rice (and I don’t like beans so that didn’t help much). It is just a different culture and their priority was to feed themselves and their children instead of the animals. At the dorms, we did not have any TV and there was the bare minimum everywhere, so all of us got very close.  Every night we would sit outside, talk, color and listen to music. I made closer relationships with people and new relationships with those I never knew before. It was so nice going on this trip with such a wonderful group of people that I got to share this experience with. It is hard because there are so many details about the trip that is almost impossible to put it all in words, but it’s great that I have the others that I can talk about the trip with and have those memories together that only we understand. I would do this again in a heartbeat. It was such an amazing trip that people need to experience to understand.

~ Sarah Vallee ’18

Hola todos

Today is our last day here in Nicaragua. For those wondering, we will be landing in El Salvador at 6:30pm, then again at JFK airport at 1:20am. The time will then change at 2 am so we are assuming we will be back at GCU by 4 am. We are excited to see you all!

-Leaving today is a bittersweet feeling. We have made new friends, and have really enjoyed touring the country as well as working in the health clinic. Each day we worked construction (and were taught how to rebarb and prep an empty dirt filled building to create a floor) and then for the second half of the day went on home care visits, worked in the lab, shadowed Drs. and triaged patients. We also worked with interns from all over the world and heard their stories and experiencesfrom their time here.

-We had many eye opening experiences on this trip that has forever made us extremely grateful for living in the United States, and showed us what we truly take for granted each day. We are excited to tell you more details when we arrive home.

Adios amigos 🙂

“How consoling it is in the evening to find oneself tired and worn out because the whole day was spent doing God’s work.”
-St. John Bosco

Farewell To Europe

These are the final photos of our trip, a collection from beginning to end. What a time it has been! We have come so far both as friends and as travelers. We have landed back in Warsaw, Poland and are all currently setting up shop for a couple of hours, until our flight departs back to Newark. We’re returning with a heart full of new love, stories full of laughs, and baggage slightly more heavy with souvenirs. We all have our favorite parts of the trip and I thought you’d like to hear about some of the pivotal moments in our personal experiences. Enjoy!


My first ever experience in Europe was breathtaking, jaw dropping, and filled my stomach with butterflies. Culture shock is real! It is fascinating that other people in the world communicate in languages other than English! From struggling to even making it to Belgium at first, I am happy we are able to look back at it and laugh. There were various memories that I created with Dr. Gross, Dr. Bennett, Kait, Dan, and Katie that I will never forget. We had many laughs on this trip, and I learned so many new things.

Although probably about 90% of this trip will stick with me, the one thing I will always, always remember is that a young guy who was about 17 years old was conversing with our tour guide in the train on our way to Dachau from Munich. Our tour guide then informed us that the guy was telling him how it was very good for us to come a long way to learn about the concentration camps and other history, so that it can never happen again. Which is very true. History is in the past, and we learn from it. We learn from history, just as we learn from our mistakes.

My favorite thing of Europe was the food! I took pictures of just about each dish and was never not satisfied. I look forward to coming back to Europe again soon! Any chance you get to travel, do it! There will be no regrets.

— Maria Lopez (Freshman)

For the students, this trip was the very first time we have been to Europe. There have been some happy times where we did not worry about being away from home, whereas other times we missed home deeply. Throughout this 10-Day trip we covered a lot of ground and saw many things. (Obviously we learned a lot too). Some things were brand new while other facts were first hand.  A few things resonated with me from my experience on this trip.

During our meals and throughout our train rides we met people who lived in the countries we visited, while also meeting few from America as well. While talking with these people they talked about their countries problems and asked us questions about our country’s issues such as immigration. What stuck with me was the fact that these European countries have very similar issues as America. We tend to think that America is unique with our issues but in reality, our issues are very similar to other countries.

Another thing that stuck with me is the fact that people in the countries know America and can even name a few states. These people also know all of the surrounding countries and possibly even countries distant from them. What shocked me, however, wad the fact that most Americans would have some level of difficulty naming all 50 states in the US, but these people know America plus some surrounding culture.

Lastly, in Belgium, we went on a tour of battlefields and famous monuments. It was very moving to see where they battles we learn about in class took place. While visiting these sites I could almost picture in my head what would be going on along with all of the distress and sadness that occurred. There are so many memorable parts of this trip, that I could write a novel but these are a few towards the top of my list.

-Catherine “Katie” Barnes (Freshman)

While traveling, we met a variety of people of whom had radically diverse opinions on the current state of Europe, specifically England and Germany. We met a German woman on the first night who worked for the EU yet detested the way Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, allowed all immigrants from the civil war into Germany. This woman was a conservative-leaning EU worker. Toward the end of our trip we met a German man who is a social democrat and fully supported Merkel’s decision. Overall the various political opinions allowed us to see some of the issues facing Europeans today.

-Daniel “Danny” Ginchereau (Sophomore)

I would have to say, through our travels, perhaps my favorite experience, or at least the one that left an impression on me was the two days spent in Paris. Specifically the trip to the Opera Garnier and the Eiffel Tower. I think that these were my favorite parts because these sights were something I had been waiting to see for most of my childhood, and what has already passed of my adult life. The Phantom of the Opera was my first broadway show, and after having seen the musical once more since, and reading many different variations of the infamous novel by Gaston Leroux, the drive to visit the structure that had inspired such a phenomenon had become stronger.

While just simply walking up to the building, I could hear the build of the orchestra in my head. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s overture filled my ears from my mind’s music, and made my heart pound. Strolling through the building on the inside prodded other music from the show to fill my soul, including a number that took place on the enormous staircase. Visiting Box 5 (and seeing it labeled for the Phantom) was almost unbelievable. However, the relation to the musical I love so much was only my initial excitement. The more I learned about the building itself, and its history, only increased my love for the place.

Last, the Eiffel Tower, the heart of Paris…there are truly no words to truly explain the emotion I felt walking up to this architectural masterpiece. It is the iconic symbol of the city of lights. The icon that I have emblazoned on my clothing, on my notebooks, and calendars, and now, on my heart. The twinkling lights moved in time with my heart beat, and it was that moment, that I knew that Paris had stolen my heart. The city and I are now in sync, and since I left…I can hear it calling me back. If no other part of this trip convinced me that I need to revisit Europe the minute I leave (which every day has taught me that I must) the visit to Paris definitely had. I am in love.

–Kaitlyn “Kait” Mulrane (Senior)

There you have it folks. This trip had left handprints on each of our hearts in multiple ways. We had embarked on this journey as acquaintances, but we are going home as a family. Sharing the experiences (some of us for the first time) had changed the way we look at history, the world, and ourselves. We could not be more grateful for this opportunity, and plan to go back as soon as possible. Of course the faculty that tended to our needs, wants, and whims was in a major way, responsible for the smooth trip. From directions, to food, to cultural understanding, Dr. Gross and Dr. Bennett were indeed the heart of our experience, and for that we are all especially grateful! There was no better way to spend a GCU Spring Break than to travel to Europe–though some of us did catch a bit of a cold. Despite the rain, snow, delays, cancelations, and all, I don’t think that any one of us would change one thing we experienced. It was magnificent.

For the last time,

–The GCU Travel Crew