As universities have made experiential learning opportunities available to more and more of their students, a question arises about what makes honors experiential learning distinctive (Donahue). In the university-wide honors program at Georgia Southern University, authors Steven Engel, and Howard Keeley asked this question about honors study abroad offerings. With a limited staff and budget, they needed a good rationale for the honors program to develop and run a study abroad experience that would be distinctive in a way or ways true of an honors experience. The article recounts their experiences along the way as they concluded that it is possible to create an atmosphere where students demonstrate and grow academic responsibility and project ownership while professors maintain a strong mentorship role. Some important lessons that emerged that will allow the authors to improve the experience in the future and may also help others as they develop research based study abroad are shared. They are: (1) Partnerships played a key role in making the program possible; (2) The most important partnerships were within the university; (3) The research context in this program was critical to its success; (4) The transnational nature of the research project aided in student understanding and development; (5) Student ownership of their research fostered motivation and created a shared sense of excitement regarding the project; and (6) The short-term nature of the project made participation more feasible for the professors and students. The authors conclude the article by saying that in future years, they will continue to build upon these lessons, but this Honors Inquiry in Ireland has already demonstrated that the development of a short-term, research-based study abroad program can fit the goals of an honors program and allow students to have a rich and meaningful international experience.