Dressed in a bright orange t-shirt, the boldness of which contradicts his initially shy manner, Chris Lavery quickly opens up as we get to talking. “This course has definitely changed me,” he says, noting that he previously had low confidence and difficulty talking to people.
Chris is in Boston for six weeks as part of the Wider Horizons program which the IIIC coordinates in partnership with Clanrye, who are based in Newry. Back in Lurgan, County Armagh, Chris earned a First Diploma in Computers and a National Diploma in Games Development. While in Boston, Chris is volunteering at Interfaith Social Services in Quincy, working in the food pantry. This involves tasks such as stocking shelves, packing bags and assisting customers. “I like being busy,” he says.
Boston has been a great experience so far for Chris. He comments specifically on the good weather and the friendliness of the people. “I can’t say anything bad about [Boston].” He is especially fond of his host mother, Marchell Watson, known affectionately as Tiny.
As we move to take a photo of Chris, his natural shyness creeps up again. “I don’t like photos,” he mutters, but allows himself to be reluctantly convinced and pulls out a shirt and tie. This covers the “No Fear” logo emblazoned on his t-shirt, which is unfortunate because it is an appropriate motto for Chris’s experience.
“Thanks to the IIIC and thanks to Wider Horizons for giving us this opportunity,” he says.
The Wider Horizons Program is funded by the International Fund for Ireland.