Opinion | Saint Patrick, Erasmus and internationalization

Street. Patrick was not Ireland. He was captured and taken to Ireland as a slave, where he worked as a shepherd for six years. According to his own writings, after fleeing back to then After training (in Gaul) and being ordained as a priest, he returned to Ireland to convert the Irish to Christianity. The dates and details of Saint Patrick’s life cannot be determined with certainty, but there is general agreement on some of them: they affected the fifth century, he died on March 17, and his grave would be located in Downpatrick, a small town in Ireland. del Norte located in County Down (near my grandparents’ summer village and my father’s current residence).

It is also accepted by historians that his success in converting the Irish to Christianity is due to his knowledge of the local language and customs: rather than deny or try to eradicate traditional Celtic rituals, he incorporated them into his teachings on the Christianity. For example, the Celtic cross so well known throughout the world today is the superimposition of a sun – a traditional Irish symbol – on the Christian cross. Our oral and narrative tradition did the rest, leaving us numerous legends such as the use of shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity and the expulsion of snakes from the island.

For centuries, the Irish have migrated; out of necessity, but also as wandering scholars. In a first wave, missionaries inspired by St. Patrick traveled across Europe founding schools in France and Italy; a second arose in the 9th century with the Irish theologian and philosopher Eriúgena who originated from the French court of Charles the Bald; and another more recent one at the beginning of the 20th century that saw writers like James Joyce or Samuel Beckett (the latter Nobel Prize for Literature) settle in Paris.

Today, Ireland continues to send its students to train in Europe. Specifically, before the pandemic, it sent more than 7,300 students through the Erasmus+ program, and received nearly 23,000 European students. And it is that Desiderius Erasmus from Rotterdam was also a wandering scholar. The European program that bears his name aims to support, through lifelong learning, the educational, professional and personal development of people. And I can’t think of another more formative and transformative experience. In my case, the educational impact – with the discovery of the field of interculturality and cultural differences – was such that it marked my professional development in the field of business internationalization. And, personally, it allowed me to meet my future husband, which would finally lead me to settle in Euskadi and my contribution to the million long “Erasmus babys”.

The Erasmus experience marks – and it’s a mistake to equate it to a months-long party. Thanks to Erasmus you get out of your comfort zone, open your mind, curiosity about what is different is generated, you discover and learn through new experiences, you discover languages, you meet new and different people – some will be personal contacts and lifelong professionals – while taking an appreciative look at our home and culture of origin. Of course, all this does not happen in the classroom (does all learning have to do at home?); it happens living local life, mixing one’s own with that of others, as San Patricio did.

It is with great joy that I read the experiences of Deusto Business School students who are in Dublin today, and I smile when they compare the reality they live with what they read in Sally Rooney novels or saw in the Derry Girls series before traveling Over there. It is with pride that I observe your curiosity and growth; with great envy I see your photos of the different corners of Ireland. Erasmus is their first expatriation experience, and this is how the companies that hire them in the future will value it.

Although it seems that today all that remains of Saint Patrick, Apostle of Ireland, is a party sponsored in equal parts by a well-known beer brand and the producers of green caps and leprechaun merch, its spirit of cultural integration lives on. A few days ago, a Russian friend who was granted Irish nationality told me that at the ceremony of acceptance of the nationality, the Minister of Justice asked those present not to abandon their culture of origin, but to share it with the country , to incorporate it into songs and poems, will thus contribute to making Ireland a richer country.

In an increasingly polarized and complex world, the ability to listen and understand those in front of us, as well as the ability to integrate one’s own with that of others, will help us build bridges between the most plural and rich people and communities. . Happy Saint Patrick – Lá Fhéile Pádraig sona daoibh!

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