The World is our Oyster: The Benefits of International Experiences in Higher Education



COVID-19 imposed limitations on international travel for all of society. In academia, this has impacted on the ability of staff and students to participate in international conferences, Erasmus exchange and mobility programmes and other international activities that had been part of their Higher Education experience. In this paper, we critically reflect on two international activities that we were involved in with students and highlight how a number of benefits and experiences cannot be replicated in virtual contexts. To this end we draw from previous reflections by staff and students that formed part of a number of small research projects and presentations that resulted from international travel. This has informed the planning for and design of extra-curricular activities, as well as programme development in our institution. For music graduates seeking to develop a career in performance or engage in interdisciplinary teams, international experiences and cultural competencies prepare them for a career in the global industries. Despite the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on international travel this paper highlights the ongoing potential of international projects to impact positively on staff and students’ experience in Higher Education.

Author Biographies

Daithí Kearney, Dundalk Institute of Technology

Lecturer in Music, Co-Director Centre for Creative Arts Research

Dr Adèle Commins, Dundalk Institute of Technology

Adèle Commins is Head of Department of Creative Arts, Media and Music at Dundalk Institute of Technology. Her main research interests lie in nineteenth and twentieth century English and Irish music. Other research interests include music editing and the scholarship of teaching and learning. She is a member of the Répertoire International de Littérature Musicale (RILM) Ireland committee. She is a musical director of the Oriel Traditional Orchestra and has released an album of newly composed music with Daithí Kearney entitled A Louth Lilt (2017). She has presented her work in Ireland, England, France, Croatia, Norway, America and Australia. Publications include contributions to The Companion to Irish Music (2012), Encyclopaedia of Music in Ireland (2013), Éire-Ireland, the Journal of Irish Studies (2019) and the Journal of Music, Technology and Education (2019).