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Ulster Perspective

posted Oct 17, 2016, 11:31 AM by Brad Ryan

The summer that I participated in the Ulster Project is still one of the best summers of my life. I had no idea that I could have such a good time spending an entire month with a bunch of people that I had never met before. I was very nervous about whether or not I would get along with the teen that I was paired with, but we ended up becoming great friends. We hit it off almost instantly and found that we had similar interests in sports, music, and food. Joseph fit right in with our family, and for a few weeks I found out what it was like to have a brother.

The Ulster Project is set up to teach the Northern Irish teens that their faith does not have to be a barrier to friendship, with the hope that the teens can learn to bridge the gap in their community, but it ends up doing so much more. The Ulster project enabled me to learn about an entirely new culture. The activities and events that we participated in were not only informative and fun, but they helped teach leadership and community building, which are skills that I still try to incorporate into my life today. I found that total strangers could become close friends if you are open to it, and that being from different backgrounds does not have to hinder that friendship.

When I was in college, I was able to visit Joseph and his family in Portadown. They welcomed me into their home and treated me like I was one of their own. Seeing Northern Ireland was such an incredible experience. I was able to see first hand the culture that I had heard so much about, and experience what life was like for Joseph. Unfortunately there are still some tensions between religions, but by experiencing that first hand, I realized how important it is to be inclusive, instead of exclusive. I truly believe that the Ulster Project had a profound impact on my life, and I would not be the person I am today without that experience.

Joel Higgins

Graduated from KU in 2009

Graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 2013

Practices chiropractic in Hutchinson, Kansas at Bothwell Chiropractic and Acupuncture.

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