From the ancient stratigraphy of Hag’s Head (Cliffs of Moher, Ireland), the great halls of Trinity College Dublin, the waterfalls of the glacially carved Wicklow Mountains, the Titanic’s birthplace in Belfast, the fascinating volcanic columns of the Giant’s Causeway, and finally to UNC CSI and the wind-swept Jennette’s Pier here on the Outer Banks, a lucky group of undergraduate students got to live and learn the history of the Atlantic Ocean and its complex coast. The experiences were part of a study abroad program coordinated by Dr. J.P. Walsh with the Department of Geological Sciences at East Carolina University and CSI’s Coastal Processes. Born ~200 million years ago, the Atlantic Ocean has a rich geologic and human history, and in fact much of Ireland and the Appalachian Mountains are older — formed by the closure of the Iapetus Ocean, the Atlantic’s predecessor. In the past, ancient life forms crawled the coast, and much later, vikings explored and expanded their domain. Eventually the English and others colonized and transformed Ireland and the New World. Today our shorelines represent this complicated past, and storms and sea-level offer new threats. Students experienced the areas by boat, bus and foot; they climbed through geologic time, steamed over rolling seas and measured beach properties — all for the purpose of understanding our coastal environment and how it influenced human history and vice-versa.