Wednesday, July 25, 2018
  Student Life

By Amanda Alaniz

‘‘I’m so blessed. I’m so happy I was able to get this type of opportunity.
—UTRGV theater arts major Felicia Rae Wills’’

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – The flight to Dublin, Ireland, was a long one, but once the UTRGV students touched ground on the Emerald Isle they found the countryside breathtaking.

“I would’ve taken 10 flights to get there, it was so beautiful,” said Felicia Wills, a Refugio resident and UTRGV theater arts major.

Mission resident Zoe Sesin, a UTRGV theatre arts major, said she was sad when the day came to leave Ireland because she was completely captivated.

“I had just fallen in love with Dublin. I was at the point to where I thought, OK, let me stay here or send me home now because otherwise I just want to stay here,” she said.

The students were part of a UTRGV study abroad mini-mester course, “Irish Plays and Playwrights,” led by Dr. Brian Warren, associate professor of theater.

The group arrived in Ireland on May 29 and stayed through June 10, living in Dublin at the University College Dublin campus, where they would meet for class to discuss Irish history, culture, folklore and plays, and studied Gaelic.

One of the most captivating memories for the students was experiencing Irish theater. They saw three Irish plays:

“One of them was student-directed and a student-run show, and that was really cool to see,” Sesin said. “As a student who does theater, and to see another student direct a play, I thought it was a great experience.”

Traveling from Southern Ireland to Northern Ireland, the group visited significant landmarks like Cliffs of Moher, Merrion Square Park and the statue there of famed man of letters Oscar Wilde, and the monument to Irish abolitionist Daniel O’Connell, along O’Connell Street.


Warren said he wanted his student to have two significant takeaways – that they can indeed study abroad, and that they should appreciate cultures different from their own.

“A true student of the world should be of the world,” Warren said. “It doesn’t have to be Ireland, it could be other trips that they take. So, we accomplished that.”

Students said they were in Ireland for about two weeks. It was too short a time, most said, but the wonders and experiences are something they will carry with them always.

“You enrich yourself with the knowledge of another country or another culture,” Sesin said. “I won’t forget ever about going to Dublin.”

Gerardo Segundo, a UTRGV theater/TV/film major and Florida native, said study abroad has opened his eyes.

“This trip has made me realize that traveling around the world is an achievable plan. It also made us realize that there is so much to see, not just around the world, but in our own country,” he said.

UTRGV English major Julieza Flores, of Weslaco, said her biggest lesson has been an understanding of how much the world has to offer us.

“But it’s up to the individual to go out and take it,” she said.


  • Gerardo Segundo – Homestead, Florida, UTRGV Theater/TV/Film Major.
  • Julieza Flores – Weslaco, English major with Teacher Certification.
  • Zoe Sesin – Mission, Theater Arts major with Performing Arts concentration.
  • Selina Soto – Pharr, Theater major with Performance track.
  • Felicia Rae Wills – Refugio, Theater Arts Major with Performing Arts concentration.


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.