Chasing dreams across an ocean

Irish student seeks veterinary opportunities in America

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In the midst of a JROTC game of flag football, senior Kailee-Rose Casey runs down the field Sept. 27. Casey hopes to pursue veterinary medicine and is looking at the University of South Florida and Florida Southern College. Photo by Libby Gough and Kate Frier.

When senior Kailee-Rose Casey stepped into the Boston airport for the first time, the first thing she noticed was a Dunkin’ Donuts. 

 “I kind of never thought that the day would actually come, so like when we got off, I was like ‘holy cow we’re in f****** America’,” Casey said.  

Casey moved from Black Rock, an area just outside of Cork, Ireland to Tampa April 7, 2019. This was the first time Casey could remember being in America; she was born in New York and moved to Ireland when she was young. But now, Casey and her mother have found themselves living in the States once more. 

“It definitely is a land of opportunity,” Casey said. “I have a friend from New Jersey and she never really spoke very fondly of America, but when I was moving here I feel like you can do so much more. My school, we didn’t have a lot. It was a good school, but it wasn’t the best… here I feel like they prepare you for the real world like they teach you what you need to know. It’s just everything is a lot better… I just love how nice everyone is.”  

Casey left Ireland with her mother to pursue veterinary schools since the only school with a program on the island is University College Dublin.  

“If I were to go there, I’d have a very slim chance of actually getting it done,” Casey said.  

Currently, she’s looking at the University of South Florida and Florida Southern College for veterinary medicine. Growing up in Ireland, Casey was surrounded by farms and credits her upbringing to her love of animals and desire to become a vet.  

“Ever since I was young, I was like ‘I’m gonna be a vet, I’m gonna be a vet and so that’s why we moved here,” Casey said. “It’s easier here I feel, and just with, as I said, more opportunities. This is literally the land of opportunities.”  

Casey said that she definitely misses Irish food the most- decent mashed potatoes in particular. In America, Casey said the food is more processed and very sugary compared to the authentic, often homemade dishes in Ireland. Along with the food, Casey also misses the cold rain she left behind. 

“I miss the rain so much,” Casey said. “I honestly didn’t think I’d miss it. I was like I’m glad to see the back of it, but I miss it. All my friends are sending me pictures and I’m like, ‘oh my god, I love the rain’.” 

Along with her friends from the countryside, most of Casey’s family live in Ireland and don’t travel. Casey said this means she probably won’t see them for a few years.  

“It was tough,” Casey said. “When I left, I left the day of… my friend’s 18th birthday and I had to leave school early, so it was really tough because I didn’t get to like have a huge goodbye because I had to leave halfway through the day.”  

 While she wouldn’t live in Ireland again, Casey said she definitely plans to visit. Here, she’s created an American bucket list, including going to Busch Gardens, Niagra Falls and experiencing the American party scene.  

“I just want to travel,” Casey said. “I want to go and like get a camper or something like that, even just after high school. Get a camper with my mom and just like, go around to different states and stuff like that because I haven’t been anywhere. I’ve barely left my house because the past two months have been just a bit crazy trying to get everything done.”  

English is the main language in Ireland, but Casey said that Gaelic, which she’s learned since she was four, is often spoken in rural areas. Casey compared the language to Latin, saying that Gaelic is dying out and that Irish schools are making an effort to revive it.  

“I come from a Catholic family so like a lot of the words have a Catholic meaning to it and I really like that and also because not a lot of people know it,” Casey said. “I feel like it’s part of my culture, it’s part of my heritage and it’s just something I’m really proud of.”  

Casey’s mother is currently thinking of setting up an Irish club to connect other people with their Irish heritage, and Casey said that she plans on involving her own friends in some of her favorite traditions as well.  

“It’s amazing because not a lot of people know a lot about Irish history,” Casey said. “Just teaching people about Ireland is just really cool because they’re really surprised and it’s just something I’ve always been very proud of.”  

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