New York – Amongst the chaos, we found some peace.

Vickie Kiely on her week with WIP in New York

Reflecting on the previous week, I feel emotionally drained.  Last week was spent in New York City where we lived in the NYU dorms.  As we were away from our work placements I assumed that our week in New York would be similar to that of our first seven days in DC. I was completely wrong. Each week we develop professionally but this week set a completely new tone and area of self-development for the WIP class of 2012. Louise Little travelled from Belfast to New York to facilitate our discussions. She asked us to discuss and draw our feelings from the initial period before applying to the program up until how we feel in New York. Emotions were high as each person shared their honest thoughts and stories regarding each other and the future. As the stories were shared there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. I wish the people of Ireland could have seen Catholics hugging Protestants and Nationalists hugging Unionists- helping them through the emotional few days we had in New York. To be honest, I don’t think the phrase “30 best friends that anyone could ever have” has ever been used so much. We have just ended the fifth week of the program and the stories and emotions which have been shared have made us become closer friends.

But on another note, the realisation hit me this week that we only have three weeks left on the program. The experiences which I have had so far and the people whom I have met, have opened my eyes to a whole new vision of both Ireland and Northern Ireland. This week someone said that ‘if the future of Ireland and Northern Ireland was left in the hands of the WIP class of 2012 then they would feel very comfortable with that’. I agree. I can’t express the amount of respect and admiration I have for each member of the class. Each of us comes from such diverse backgrounds and has different beliefs. Yet we have serious debates on current affairs, we discuss the idea of a shared future, we cry together, we laugh together and we respect one another even more as the process continues. With all the bad publicity college students  get in Ireland, I wish that there was a camera here to witness the young leaders of Ireland and Northern Ireland challenging each other for a better and more prosperous future for Ireland and Northern Ireland.