Nadine McGarry

The Host Family Experience 

Nadine, born in Northern Ireland, is a final year Law with Philosophy Student at the University of Liverpool. She is committed to volunteer work, both at home and abroad. Before beginning her studies, she lived and volunteered in South Africa for 12 months where she worked as a maths teacher. She is passionate about social justice and immigration issues, leading her to become a volunteer Refugee Case Support worker for the British Red Cross. She also holds a committee position for Student Action for Refugees, where she teaches conversational English to asylum seekers. She is involved in the Liverpool Law school where she has participated in the peer mentoring and Streetlaw programs. In her free time, she enjoys playing gaelic football and holds a committee position on the University of Liverpool Gaelic football club.

 

Student
Nadine McGarry

University
University of Liverpool

Degree
Law with Philosophy (LLB)

Work Placement
Forbes-Tate

Host Family
Tim & Kathie Lynch

Date Published
July 25, 2017

 

There is one rule in the Lynch’s household and one rule only: Don’t drink Kathie’s last diet coke. Kathie and Tim have been hosting Washington Ireland Program students for the last 10 years, welcoming students from both the north and south of the island. When I landed at Dulles International Airport I was greeted with two large smiles and told stories of how I would be met with three more smiles from Charlie, Bailey and Lulu (the three dogs) once we arrived home. After a long journey from Belfast to DC, it was wonderful to be greeted with such energy. On that first car journey to the Lynch’s house in Chevy Chase, the three of us discussed a huge variety of topics: the heat and humidity of DC, Brexit, the rules of Gaelic football and last but certainly not least, President Trump. These types of exchanges and conversations have continued throughout the past eight weeks.

The Lynch’s have taught me a huge amount about American society and culture, from sports to reality TV. Tim, an avid Nationals fan, kindly explained the rules behind baseball before we attended the game as a WIP class over pizza. What I learnt over that pizza was that baseball was in fact much more complicated than rounder’s. After a long day at my internship, which is often followed by WIP discussion or speaker series, I have hopped on the red line back to Bethesda. Once home, I spent a lot of my evenings relaxing on the sofa with Kathie and watching The Bachelorette. It is in these causal chats about the on goings of our day that we have gotten to know each other and that is what I have enjoyed most over the Summer. The Lynch’s have also been kind enough to take me to their house in up-state New York and on a trip to Annapolis, which has allowed me to explore and get to see more of this vast country. Kathie spent much of her childhood on Seneca Lake, so it was great to see a place that she was so fond of.

The Lynch’s have also taught me a wealth about American politics. June and July of 2017 have been a special time in US politics and much of the news has been dominated by the Republican party’s plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act. It has been fascinating to learn first-hand of the implications that this legislation may have on the wider American public. This Summer, I have been interning with Forbes Tate Partners, a bipartisan lobbying firm. This experience has opened my eyes to the world of lobbying, something which I had little knowledge of before. Tim is also a lobbyist, so I have been appreciative of his explanations on the intersect between business and politics here in America and also his willingness to talk through my work projects.

When I spoke with WIP alum, they never failed to mention the bond they had made with their host families. On one of my first few weeks in DC, Tim said, “Us host families get far too much credit!” Yet I think most WIP students would have to disagree with Tim on that one, we couldn’t give our host families enough credit for putting us up for an entire Summer. To be 3,374 miles from Belfast but to feel at home in the Lynch’s house, emphasises the welcoming, understanding and kindness they have shown to me. And for that I am extremely grateful.