Brigita Gallagher

Brigita Gallagher

Brigita Gallagher, or Gita as she’s better known, comes to us from Cork, Ireland. She holds a B.A International degree in Irish and French and a Masters in Education with focused research in Student Wellbeing and Second Language Acquisition from University College Cork. While at UCC, Brigita was awarded Onóir na Gaeilge for her contribution to the Irish language. As Development Officer for An Chuallacht (the Irish Language Society) she played a key role in promoting Irish – including hosting a regular Irish programme on UCC Campus Radio, involvement with the Irish Language Accommodation in the college, and organizing many social events to cultivate an interest in and a love of Irish. As part of her degree, Brigita spent a year in France, at the University of Rennes, studying French, Irish and Breton.

After university Brigita was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to teach the Irish language and take classes at Elms College, Chicopee, Massachusetts. During her time in the United States, Brigita founded social society ‘Conradh na Gaeilge Iarthar Massachusetts’ where students and language enthusiasts could come to practise their language skills in a fun and informal setting. In working with the New Irish Language Society, Irish Cultural Center of Western New England and Elms College she has designed and hosted many Cultural Workshops, Courses and Events including discussions about Kindred Spirits, the story of solidarity between the Irish and Choctaw Nations, a series of online concerts and an interview with acclaimed writer and comedian Arthur Mathews.

Having never been to Canada before this, Brigita is excited to explore her new surroundings and culture!

What is your favourite thing about teaching?

My favourite thing about teaching is the fun in class. From interactions and building relationships with students you learn a lot about new cultures, new places and other languages. It’s incredible to me how from learning one language we grow in appreciation for many others. We can explore song, poetry, sport, dance which are such incredible parts of learning a language. I am very passionate about the Arts in Education and incorporating the arts into our studies means we can enjoy cross-cultural learning so much more. Learning a language becomes a celebration of culture.

What's the last book you read and loved?

The last book I read and loved was ‘McCarthy’s Bar: A Journey of Discovery in Ireland’. A story about a man's journey from Cork up to Donegal exploring his past and Irish culture. The book is written by travel writer and comedian Pete McCarthy and it had me in stitches. Perhaps, it was the taste of home while being so far away was why I enjoyed it so much and the humor and stories were so fantastic.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

I would have to say Vietnam. I would love to see the beautiful landscapes, discover the culture and meet the people. I was supposed to spend some time teaching English in Vietnam when the pandemic happened. I taught online instead but in spending time with my students they showed me how beautiful a country it is and helped me to discover the culture (even virtually!). They told me where to get the best Pho - (it’s still in the notes on my phone). Vietnam is on my bucket list - I will get there!

What three words best describe your experience as a teacher?

Compassionate, humorous, musical.

What is your favourite word in Irish?

My favourite word is ‘Uisce Beatha’, this directly translates to the ‘Water of Life’ or Whiskey (pronounced Ish-ka Ba-ha). A few years ago I worked in the Jameson Distillery in Ireland, this was something our visitors loved to learn, I always got great joy from sharing this translation!