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destination ireland

This program is an opportunity for eighth grade and high school honors students and interested adults to spend eight days learning about the history, culture, and people of Ireland. Sponsored by The Center for Gifted Studies at Western Kentucky University, the program provides a carefully structured experience. Twenty-five qualified applicants will be accompanied by the program director.


All travelers must be able to participate in everyday physical activities. Student applicants also must meet the following criteria: 

  • Enrollemnt in 8th-12th grade;
  • Involvement in high school honors or gifted services; and
  • A recommendation from a teacher, counselor, principal, or gifted and talented coordinator if traveling without an adult.

A nonrefundable $500 deposit and passport-sized photograph will need to be uploaded when you apply. Passport expiration must not be within 6 months of travel. The deposit is not refundable. 


The Program cost of $4,900 includes:

  • Roundtrip airfare from Nashville, TN;
  • Accomodations in double rooms (an adult may request a single room for an additional charge)
  • Breakfast each day at the hotel;
  • Admission to historic sites, museums, and other points of interest listed on the itinerary; and
  • Travel by motor coach for excursions.

Payment Schedule

  • $500 deposit and a passport-sized photo are due with application
  • $2,200 due August 1, 2024
  • $2,200 due September 1, 2024


View Trip Itinerary Apply Now Student Recommendation Form



Each spring and fall, The Center offers eighth-grade and high school honors students and interested adults the opportunity to experience a new culture through travel abroad. These Travel/Study Tours take about twenty participants to a selected international city or country of cultural and historical significance. Led by Julia and Dick Roberts, who have organized trips for The Center since 1987, the group spends a week immersed in the landscape, traditions, art, and language of their destination. The Travel/Study Program is designed to challenge, excite, and enrich the lives and minds of participants while fostering awareness and appreciation of other cultures. Past tours have traveled to Austria, Belgium, England, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Scotland, and Spain. 

Travel is an important opportunity for gifted and talented young people because it enables them to engage with new viewpoints, gain confidence in exploring the unfamiliar, and discover interests they may want to pursue later in life, whether academically or personally. As Dick Roberts says, “The chance to visit other countries will forever change how you view your own country and its relationship to the world as a whole.”

 See past and upcoming trip itineraries and photos using the links in the sidebar, and read below what past participants have to say about our Travel/Study Tours:

Ethan Tate, Belgium and the Netherlands 2015, Ireland 2016, Italy 2017, London 2018, France 2019: "I was able to see so many museums, statues, and paintings that I had studied in school. I also was exposed to an amazing amount of history that allowed me to understand the culture of the countries. I learned more on each of my trips than I do in months of a history class. I travelled to different countries over five times with The Center and could not have loved it more. Not only did I learn about the history and cultures of where I went, but I also grew as a person on each trip."

Susan Summers, parent to travelers Sara (see below) and Paul (London 2006 and Paris 2007) and traveler to London 2010, Italy 2011, Scotland 2012, Germany 2013, Spain 2014, Belgium 2015, Ireland 2016, Italy 2017, and Greece 2017: "Our children have returned home with a new-found confidence and enthusiasm for exploring, and they loved the very hands-on approach to learning about historical places and events. Each adventure was so very well planned and executed yet flexible enough to be able to take in spontaneous events when the opportunity arose. It’s such fun to travel with the students as they explore, learn, make new friends, and experience so many once-in-a-lifetime memories."

Eden Casebier, Ireland 2016: “My favorite part of the trip was getting to go exploring. Sometimes when you go on trips you stay near the hotel the entire time, or the group requires you to stay with them 24/7 and gives you no free time. However, this trip let us walk around and explore. We also got to see many interesting places like the castles, beautiful landscapes, historical sites, and the cliffs. I made new friends on this trip, too.”

Sara SummersParis 2009, London 2010, Italy 2011, and Belgium and the Netherlands 2015: “Educationally, I learned just as much, if not more, on one of these trips than I did in a semester-long class. You are immersed in the history and culture, and you get to see it with your own eyes. Walking through the Sistine Chapel is a remarkable experience that cannot compare to a textbook.”

Peter Guthrie, Belgium and Netherlands 2015: “The highlight of the trip was getting to know a foreign culture and history. From the Grand Place in Brussels to the Hidden Attic Church in Amsterdam, I felt a sort of intimacy with the country. The Rijksmuseum is my favorite of all the museums I’ve ever been to – from Rembrandt to Napoleon’s pianoforte, it brought to life such a neat part of humanity.”

Weston Loy, London 2015: “It was a tremendous experience to see all of these places and things you only ever hear or read about. To have a real, physical memory of a country on the other side of the world is beyond anything I could imagine.”

Ellis Johnston, London 2010: “Because my sister and I were traveling without our parents, the trip helped me become more confident in my independence and in my own abilities. It also forced me to make new friends, which enhanced my enjoyment level. Plus, Dr. Roberts showed us amazing sights all around London. I know the experience touched my life in the best way possible.”


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 Last Modified 5/17/24