Grace Gruner ’23 – IES Abroad Dublin


My name is Grace Gruner, and I’m a senior studying English, Religion, and Peace and Justice. I’ll be spending my final semester as a Hope College student in Dublin, Ireland, where I’m taking part in the IES Writer’s Program. Dublin sits nearly four-thousand miles away from my small hometown of Sycamore, Illinois, so the four months I’m about to spend in the “City of Literature” will undoubtedly be a stretch. My family and friends have tried to offer me solace by reminding me that in Ireland, my head of red hair won’t stick out so much (but this is yet to be confirmed).

I’ve always been drawn to the country of Ireland, not just for my red-headed heritage, but for the beauty of the country and Dublin’s rich history of great literature. Yet there is a longing to visit Ireland that I can’t quite pinpoint, aside from the obvious charms of the country. It’s bittersweet to spend my final semester abroad, but I have hope that this experience will help me to make sense of my place in the world post-graduation. 

I strongly believe in the importance of storytelling, which is inspired by curiosity and appreciation for diverse perspectives. Throughout my time in Ireland, I hope to strengthen my craft as a writer and grow as a more informed and empathetic human. I like to say that I was created to love people, write words, and drink coffee, which I plan to do in Dublin and wherever else this semester takes me. I can’t wait to embark on this adventure and walk you through the closing chapter of my college experience.