Matthias Halligan is at the University of New Mexico
Learn International develop accessible and immersive courses for international students to come and study in Ireland. We sat down with some students from the US (including Matt), who are on one of their programmes at DCU, to discuss culture and education.
Are the Irish friendly? And how does Ireland and the US differ in other ways?
At least from my experience with the school [here], most of my family is Irish, so we grew up in that kind of mindset – so a lot of it’s really similar. But this is my first time in Ireland – most of my family come from New York – and I am third-generation. I have relatives in the Midlands [of Ireland] – and we’re planning to meet!
World cities like New York or maybe London can be isolating – perhaps a smaller city like Dublin is ironically less “lonely”. Would you agree?
I moved to New Jersey from New York when I was four. And I can understand how the whole vibe of it – unless you have links there – it can be one of the biggest but also smallest cities in the world, in those terms.
Back in University of New Mexico, I’m doing Interdisciplinary Film and Digital media with an emphasis on the production side of things. I am taking a Media in Irish Society module here in Dublin. So it’s about what makes Irish media ‘Irish’ and what makes it different to the US. [Ireland’s national broadcaster] RTE, different advertising, that kind of thing.
So – with the behind-the-scenes video production – you’re going to be the next big Hollywood auteur?
Actually, we want to set up our own production company and eventually get to the point where we can fund others’ productions as well as our own. There were 2500 students at high school, and you could see the difference between things that some students were able to access and the resources some couldn’t. Why is this kid able to access these resources, and this kid doesn’t because his or her parents don’t earn enough money? That’s just dumb.
We want to get to the point where we can give back, and being creative in filmmaking, or photography or painting, we want to work with After School programs to provide these resources.
Great! So do you write your own scripts? Do you do documentaries?
Mostly comedies – not online yet – it’s not as good yet as we’d like it. Now, we’re working on one project, we’re halfway done. It’s a silent cowboy comedy!
Have you shot any footage over here in Ireland? Have you documented the country at all?
A little. We have done some Mobile Journalism – different shots for interviews, cut-aways, background stuff, landscapes, people, that kind of thing.