ambassadors

From Clarksville to Cork: An Interview with UCC US Student Ambassador Cody Jarman

Jarman -- UCC

Caela Provost (CP): Tell me a bit about yourself. Who are you, where did you go to undergrad, and what did you study?

Cody Jarman (CJ): “My name is Cody Jarman. I grew up in Clarksville, Tennessee (an hour north of Nashville), and attended undergraduate school  at The University of Tennessee Martin (https://www.utm.edu/). It’s a small school in a fairly rural area, and quite different from UCC.  I majored in English and Theater and was very involved in plays, campus organizations, and in planning different departmental events while I was there. My main interests and academic backgrounds are in literature and the arts in several capacities.”

CP: What are you studying now at UCC?

CJ: “I am doing the MA in Irish Writing and Film.”

CP: What is the focus of your thesis?

CJ: “I’m trying to think of a sound bite version… it has to do with American racial politics in James Joyce’s works, as well as how they connect to the ethnic politics surrounding British colonization. I’m dealing mostly with his works Dubliners and Ulysses.”

CP: What made you decide to attend graduate school in Ireland? At UCC?

CJ: “I knew I was interested in studying Irish literature specifically, and to do that I wanted to be in Ireland for a period of time to gain a better understanding of the country and its history. As far as choosing UCC and Cork- I was interested in the fact that the program University College Cork offered was not only an Irish writing program, but also an Irish film program. I’ve been given the opportunity to study authors that aren’t as well-known at home, but are quite well-known here in Ireland.

I also applied and was awarded a Fulbright offered by the MA in Irish Writing and Film. (http://www.fulbright.ie/) I was always interested in some kind of study abroad through an award or fellowship, and after  doing more research into the histories and missions of the fellowships, I found that my own interests matched  best with the Fulbright. At my undergraduate institution, there were a handful of people there who were Fulbright recipients who helped me out tremendously during the application process.”

CP: What aspect of attending graduate school in Ireland has been the most difficult to adjust to while in Cork?

CJ: “Probably adjusting to the differences in the academic system- the Irish model versus the US model. The grading systems (70 point scale rather than a 100 point scale) were certainly an adjustment, as were the basic hierarchies and patterns of the degrees […] and how those compare to systems in the United States.”

CP: What is your favorite “hidden gem” (place, restaurant, pub, etc.) in Cork City?

CJ: “I don’t know if it’s so much a hidden gem, but I’m a big fan of Jackie Lennox Chip Shop (https://www.facebook.com/JackieLennoxChipShop/) on Bandon Road next to campus, actually. Where I’m living right now is close enough to the chip shop that when the wind blows just right the smell of fish and chips comes right to my door.”

CP: What are your career aspirations after UCC?

CJ:Right now I’ve been accepted to a PhD program at the  University  of Texas at Austin. After finishing the PhD, which includes a TA position, ultimately I’d like to work in education…ideally as a college professor. One thing my time here [at UCC]  has certainly changed is that I’m more open now to pursuing that [teaching] abroad. Since UCC, I can see myself pursuing that opportunity in Europe as well as the USA.”

CP: If you could give students any advice about managing classwork while at UCC, what would it be?

CJ: “The main thing I would say is work on  managing how you approach your papers. Speaking from an English Literature perspective, you have more than one class, and, of course, more than one paper due. Finding a way to synchronize your class schedules in a way that works for you and how you approach your studies is important.”

CP: What has been your favorite place to visit/explore while in Cork? While in Ireland?

CJ: “I really like Kinsale. The food there is very nice, and the fort is quite breathtaking too. In terms of Ireland as a whole (as an island) I really like Belfast. While at UCC, I wrote a lot of papers on Northern Irish poets, and being able to walk the same streets and remnants made my studies  more immediate. Also, the Giant’s Causeway was incredible.”

CP: Had you gone abroad before coming to graduate school at UCC?

CJ: “Only on a travel study with my undergraduate university. It was also to Ireland, but a ten day trip. The course was also Irish literature.”

CP: Aside from your area of study, what are your passions? What do you do in your free time?

CJ: “I like cooking, which is particularly fun in Cork because of the English Market.  You have this smörgåsbord of ingredients to choose from which is really nice. I also really like walking around cities, exploring, and seeing how all of the different cities are laid out. Whenever you’re studying English, what you’re studying is also your hobby so I do a lot of reading too. I’ve also taken two of the Irish Language courses that UCC offers through Ionad na Gaeilge. They are set up specifically for international students studying Irish for the first time. Those were a great experience, because although they’re catering to international students, you learn in a classroom with Spanish students, French students from as far away as Réunion Island, all at the same level of learning as you. They [the classes] included two weekend trips to Ballyferriter (Gaeltacht area): a small village at the tip of the Dingle Peninsula.”

CP: Any favorite Irish authors?

CJ: “Definitely James Joyce.”

CP: Is there anything you’d like to add about your experience? We’re all ears!

CJ: “The main thing I would say, for anyone studying in Ireland/Cork, is to look at it as as much of an opportunity as they can. Students often autopilot into the drudgery of just getting work done and forget to explore the other aspects of their experiences. Graduate students should think of their time in Ireland  as a unique professional opportunity. At just a few conferences, you can meet important people in your field and make lasting  professional connections. Be sure to explore and get involved in the community. Most importantly, step outside of just the campus.”

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