BY Patricia Sanchez, ’19 // International Business, CHAMPLAIN COLLEGE Being in Dublin this spring semester, Champlain College and the cybersecurity firm SmartTech247 offered abroad students the unique opportunity for volunteering at ZeroDayCon 2018. This annual international tech conference takes place at the beautiful Dublin Convention Centre and draws corporations as large as Microsoft and IBM. […]Continue reading
By Rachael Elmy, ’19 // Professional Writing, Champlain College
A trip outside the classroom is always exciting, especially in a city like Dublin! Nicole Rourke’s 9.00am Writing in the City class is no stranger to these little trips. Many of us had just gotten back from Spring Break and were in no mood to sit down and listen to a lecture. We still wanted to get up and explore, and of course, Writing in the City let us do that. Even though it wasn’t a huge outing, it was still pretty cool.
We took a trip to the Little Museum of Dublin, about a ten minute walk from Champlain Abroad’s Academic Center through St. Stephen’s Green. The museum certainly was little. It used to be a Georgian house, but now, it is filled with artifacts donated by the people of Dublin. These artifacts included items from the 1916 Rising to U2 memorabilia.
The great thing was, I could touch almost all of this, especially in the self-guided part of the tour. I’m one of those people who will touch things even if there is a big fat sign saying I shouldn’t. I loved the fact that I could sit in a big spherical chair inside the U2 room or play with an old typewriter in a mock journalism office. You could even sit at a small student’s desk and color if you wanted.
The first part of the tour had a guide, and you did the second part on your own (this would be the part with the big spherical chair and coloring). When we arrived, we wandered through this room full of some of the wildest fashion I had ever seen, all created by Irish designers. Some of us played a game of who would wear what (apparently, I would wear a skirt with pink and green patching) and others just read about the designers on the walls. I personally appreciated this part because I love fashion and I wondered why fashion history overlooked these designers. They were so talented!
After admiring the clothes, our tour began. The guide took us on a visual journey of Dublin through the decades, from around the early 1900s until now. It didn’t feel like a lecture or a history lesson. He was telling us about the saga of Dublin. Even the self-guided parts presented side stories in the overall epic that is Ireland. Dublin is basically on this one continuous journey that started all the way back in 1916, and its story isn’t finished yet. In many ways, Ireland is a lot like the United States. We both had a fairly recent independence, we both have what we consider Founding Fathers and Mothers, and we are both proud of our national identities, down to the littlest detail.
We asked Chelsea Blount, ’19, Psychology major at Champlain College, to tell us a little about her experience taking the Media Psychology (PSY 360) course last semester. The course is newly added to the Champlain Abroad Dublin’s course listings and is taught by Lauren Christophers, a Media Psychologist with the University College Dublin’s School of Psychology. Please see below for a full biography.
Have you ever watched a television show, a movie, read a book, or even listened to a song and suddenly you are one with the media? Identification and transportation are just two of the theories we learned, as to how and why this happens. Curious about how and why you emotionally respond to the media you engage with? We learned that as well. Mirror neurons have a role in that answer along with James Lange Theory (Emotions occur after arousal), Cannon Bard Theory (Arousal and emotion occur simultaneously), and Schachter Singer Theory (Both physiological arousal and a cognitive label determine the emotion experienced).
You may be unfamiliar with these theories but you will feel comfortable with them by the end of the course. Media is a constantly evolving sphere and the psychology behind it is also constantly evolving with it.
There are some fundamental theories to be learned but the class will adjust and evolve with social issues and hot topics of the day. We discussed the effects of media along with the role and importance of minority or marginalized groups in media. For example, women, members of the LGBTQA+ community, people of the Black community, the Latin community, and the Asian community. We discussed sensory overload, clickbait, alternative facts, and even fake news. You learn so much in this class it is difficult to put into a little blurb. You will take many classes in your lifetime…this should be one of them. Continue reading
BY RACHAEL ELMY, ’19 // PROFESSIONAL WRITING, CHAMPLAIN COLLEGE
My parents weren’t exactly thrilled when they learned that I’d be staying in a hostel for Champlain Abroad’s Northern Ireland tour. The first thing that came into their minds was probably unwashed sheets, unlocked doors, and people sneaking into the room late at night to steal my stuff.
Probably from that influence, I had no idea what to expect from my first stay in a hostel. I figured since our program director Stephen was staying there with his family, it most likely was somewhat safe and decent.
I imagined all 53 of us staying in one big room full of bunk beds, some peacefully snoring and others using pillows to block out the sound. However, I learned that there were separate rooms that could house 3-10 people when room assignments were sent out. That was a bit of a relief, knowing that there was some organization (and doors!). I was roomed with six other girls who luckily, ended up being very quiet sleepers. My sensitive ears were grateful.
When we arrived at the hostel, my first thought was; “This looks a bit hokey.” There was a statue of a man dressed in red pointing at the hostel, and a picture of horrified-looking sheep on the sign. I did check this place out online a few days before we left and saw that it had good reviews, so I tried to keep my hoity-toity self optimistic.
The room I shared was small, no bigger than an average triple back at Champlain, or maybe even a large double. The ceiling was slanted with one foggy window smack-dab in the middle. At the end of each bed was a set of folded sheets and blankets. To my relief, they actually seemed freshly washed. Later on, the hostel owner came in with clean pillowcases for the pillows that waited for us against the radiator. The only downside was the mattress. It felt like it wanted to be memory foam, but you could probably break your tailbone if you sat down too hard.
Downstairs was the mess hall/gaming area, where there was a pink ping-pong table and a free pool table. For a while, it was just us girls being super competitive and silly at the same time. Most of us were terrible at ping-pong especially. Every time the paddle hit the ball, you had to duck and cover, praying it wouldn’t smack you in the forehead.
BY Rachael Elmy, ’19 // PROFESSIONAL WRITING, CHAMPLAIN COLLEGE
My alarm went off at 6am on a Saturday morning. Outside, everyone was still asleep, including the sun.
We agreed to meet outside the student residence by seven, whether or not everyone was there, to be able to catch an 8am train from Heuston Station in Dublin to Ballymote in county Sligo. By the time I got outside, my three friends were already walking past my building. I ran to join them. I was excited, but I had no idea what the day had planned for me.
There was no doubt that it was quite cold and wet, and I was worried that it would be so cold that I wouldn’t enjoy my experience. Despite going to Champlain College in Vermont, I actually hate the cold, and could easily live in 90 degree weather year-round if possible. It didn’t help that on that four-hour train ride, everything we passed by was covered in snow! It wasn’t like Vermont snow, though. It looked more like someone lightly dusted some powdered sugar onto the fields and trees. It seemed tamer or more poetic than a Vermont winter, but that doesn’t deny the fact that it was cold!
As we got closer, there was less snow but more mist, sort of like someone was breathing onto a window. We hoped the moisture would bring a bit of warmth with it. Spoiler alert: We were wrong.
We called a cab once we got off the train. It was a small town, nothing like the busyness of Dublin, so I believe there was only one taxi service in the area. It was run by this sweet, skinny older man in a big white van (I know, that sounds sketchy, but don’t worry, we’re alive and well). We told him to take us to the pub closest to the Caves of Keash.
When we got off the cab, the pub was basically deserted. No cars were in the parking lot, and no lights were on inside. It was 11:30, and the pub did not open until noon. I could feel the cold begin to rise up from the pavement, through the rubber of my sneakers, and then settle into the soles of my feet. We told the driver that we would be okay with waiting there until staff arrived. He nodded, told us to pay him at the end of the day, and left.
The pub was in the middle of nowhere. It was across the road from a fenced-in field with some large hills behind it. The road itself stretched for miles in either direction. You could sit in the middle of it for a solid ten minutes and nothing would happen, except I wouldn’t suggest doing that because if a car did come, it basically came at the speed of light.
While we waited for a half hour, we sang some really obnoxious songs from summer camp and my friend Sarah tried to make friends with the cats that lived around the pub. We looked like tourists who had been day-drinking, and we really hoped that no one saw us, because we looked kind of ridiculous.
The pub owner finally drove in about a minute before noon. We kind of awkwardly nodded to him as he unlocked the door and began to set up inside.
After about five or so minutes, we were let into this cozy little bar with a nice roaring fire, stone walls, and comfy chairs. My friend Molly ordered a Guinness, and the rest of us ordered tea, wanting to rid the cold from our bodies as soon as possible.
We asked the owner if he normally saw tourists heading to the caves. He told us yes, but normally during the summer. “The people who go during this time are…brave.”
We laughed, knowing “brave” was synonymous with “stupid” at this point.
We also met an older man, probably in his late fifties, with his mother, a woman in her late eighties. He talked our ears off. He was incredibly friendly, and even bought us all drinks, welcoming us to the West of Ireland. He told us a brief tale of folklore surrounding the caves. Apparently, one of the greatest high kings of Ireland, King Cormac Mac Art, was taken from his mother by wolves when he was an infant and raised in the caves. Now, do I believe that? Not particularly, but hey, I’m in Ireland. Using my imagination is a requirement.
By the time we left the pub, the weather was much more tolerable, but that didn’t make the climb up any easier. Continue reading
BY Kerry Cunningham, ’19 // Professional Writing, Champlain College
If possible, studying abroad during college is something everyone should try and do. Yes, Champlain is career-oriented, and it might make you nervous when they tell you to get an internship before graduating. If that’s your reason for not planning on studying abroad, fear not! Champlain Abroad offers an international internship experience! To reiterate Champlain’s website—not only does an internship offer an invaluable opportunity to build your professional skills and advance personal growth, it also offers a unique way to immerse your self further into, as well as encourages, understanding a different culture.
But you don’t want to hear what Champlain’s website has to say. When asked about the process of applying for an internship abroad, Filmmaking major Danielle Hazelton ’19 said that there are a couple different steps you have to go through. First, you have to fill out your course schedule, including the internship course. “Once that’s on your schedule,” Danielle explained, “you’ll get an email asking you to prepare your application.
Part of that application is your resume and a cover letter. When you’re building those Irish resumes and cover letters, they’re different than the U.S. ones, so it’s highly recommended that you go to the Garden House to help get that taken care of.” Having a meeting with your career coach about interesting internships, interviewing methods, et cetera is a very important step in applying for internships or jobs anywhere. “You’ll usually hear back about a week or two before you head off to [wherever you’re studying], and they’ll let you know where you’ll be placed.” Internship placements are not guaranteed but the Dublin staff is doing their best to meet student requests.
Lots of students and people applying for internships are always worried about internships that don’t have them doing anything valuable, but Champlain does a good job at making sure your internship is worthwhile. “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Danielle said. “I’m not treated like an intern or like someone who’s ‘Hey, go get me coffee.’ I’m treated like a member of the team, which is really great.”
Danielle is a production coordinator for a film and is given a lot of responsibility to help contribute ideas to the pre-production process, as well as getting to listen in on different meetings and discussing new ideas and concepts for the film itself. “During production, I’m going to be filming in Dublin, Wales, and Rome, so I’ll be going to three different places in Europe to be able to film.” Continue reading
BY renaat verbruggen // adjunct faculty, CHAMPLAIN abroad dublin
On November 14th my CSI 320 Global IT & Ethics and CSI 385 Operating Systems Architecture classes went for a visit to Amazon Web Services (AWS) at their main Dublin office – One Burlington Plaza in South Dublin just near the Grand Canal. We were hosted by Alan Reddy, Operations Manager who has been with Amazon for four years after working as a programmer with a network engineering company.
Alan’s talk began by explaining the history, background and current structure of Amazon. The founder – Jeff Bezos – despite starting by selling books from his garage, always saw the company as a technology supplier and not a bookseller. Alan then gave an overview of the type of Services (more than 1500 now) provided by Amazon and how they allow companies such as Netflix to operate from the cloud and dynamically utilise extra capacity when needed. The list of services now is vast and also includes a specialised game development engine, secure authentication servers and dedicated platforms for the Internet of Things.
One interesting fact was that the Amazon web selling sites are also hosted on AWS but treated as any other paying customer. Importantly there is an Amazon Educational Programme which provides free experimental use of AWS for student projects. He also described the Amazon approach to graduate recruitment and more generally the types of background research that applicants should do before attending any interview with any company. Amazon currently employs 1700 people in Dublin and Cork and has released plans to hire 500 more over the coming years. They are moving into a completely new HQ in the coming months and in fact might be expanding further.
Finally after discussions about the use of AWS for the hosting of a start-up and its evolution to a
multi-site cloud-based system the afternoon concluded with a question and answer session. It was
fantastic to be allocated so much time and it was much appreciated. All this and a free lunch too!
While he had to be circumspect, Alan forecast that there would be some very interesting
announcements from Amazon at their annual get-together coming up in Las Vegas at the end of
November, when AWS “take over” the town. You can read more here: https://reinvent.awsevents.com/
Renaat Verbruggen, Adjunct Faculty, Champlain Abroad, Dublin.
BY SAMANTHA MCLAUGHLIN, ’19 // MARKETING, CHAMPLAIN COLLEGE
Dear Iveagh Gardens,
Thank you for your silence,
Thank you for your grass,
Thank you for your trees,
Thank you for the peace that you bring to me.
Thank you for your birds,
And even for your bees,
I don’t know, why but for some reason this brings happiness.
Maybe it’s because, regardless of my thoughts,
I always leave with the feeling of glee.
So thank you for the escape,
Because without that,
I would lose a part of me.
The Girl Who Comes in Lost But Leaves Being Found
BY ELLEN OPPENHEIM, ’19 // PROFESSIONAL WRITING, CHAMPLAIN COLLEGE
Every Monday morning I hear a group of six to nine-year-olds yelling something like this to the lazy security guard across the street. It’s there own concoction of words that create a personal password to open the magical door that grants them access to a wonderland where they write their very own published stories. It sounds like every child’s fantasy, something that kids can dream about while boring themselves to death in math class or spelling, but it comes to life at Dublin’s very own Fighting Words.
Fighting Words is a nonprofit organization that brings school groups in to write their very own personal stories. Here the students gather together, and develop a story as a group, and then create their own endings and illustrations on their own. It sounds cliche, but it’s as magical an experience for the volunteers as it is the students.
This isn’t one of those things that I do because it looks good on a resume. Sure, it started as that, but what it morphed into, is this insanely beautiful experience where I get to immerse myself in the culture of Dublin, see the key differences between the youth of America and Ireland, and observe in amazement at how talented children really are, as long as you know how to pull those ideas out of them. Sometimes it’s like pulling teeth to get the children to realize their potential, to show them that there is more to creativity than what they saw online that morning, but the experience is something that is unrivaled by anything else.
In a quiet nook of Northern Dublin, the majestic Fighting Words center lives. The program is beautifully organized, starting with kids gathering in the meeting area to get name tags and get their “about the author” pictures taken. They are then greeted by the volunteer who is in charge of the “magic door” for the day. This person is responsible for helping the kids come up with a password that will turn the magic door around (it’s a bookshelf that rotates, the kids are always trying to debunk it but we try our best). Once they develop the password, which is three original words that the students pick, like “Purple, Ice Cream, Donuts,” they have to gather at the window (so they don’t see said volunteer unhinge the rotating bookshelf) and yell to the “security guard” across the street to open the door. 90% of the time the kids are absolutely amazed. They then take their seats in the beautiful writing center, which is filled with bookshelves overflowing with literature and an art studio where the kids can draw. There they are greeted by their storyteller for the day. As if the kids didn’t have enough motivation to take home their own book as it is, they are introduced to the evil editor Mr. Mahonkey.
Mr. Monhonkey never speaks to the kids, because he thinks they are just a bunch of “babies” that can’t write stories. He speaks to them from behind a wall, and tells them that he doesn’t think that they can do it, tells them that they smell bad and that he would NEVER publish a story written by a bunch of secondary schoolers. Negative reinforcement at its finest. The kids roar with outrage that anyone could ever have the audacity to tell them that they cant do something. It always sparks something in them, a divine interest in proving the grown-ups wrong. After that, it’s up to the storyteller to guide them through the creative process. Sorting through the children who are starving for attention, pulling muscles in their arms because they raise their hands with such ferocity with sparking ideas and the quiet kids who are too embarrassed to share their ideas. There’s the art of getting the shy kids to share, yet when they do, they always seem to dazzle the class with their unique and quiet ideas. In the corner, a volunteer illustrated puts there words into stunning pictures, making the kids see there creations come to life.
The idea that these kids come up with are absolutely stunning. It takes a good thirty minutes to steer them away from writing about their favorite Pokemon or YouTube stars (seriously, what is with the youth today and wanting to be youtube stars?) but after that painful time, they dust off the cobwebs of the original parts of their brains and come up with things that adults wouldn’t be able to dream of. The other day, as a group, we wrote a story about Jack the three-legged ghost cow. Jack had a best friend who was a Pig with a ghost tail, and together they were teaming up to build a robotic leg for Jack so that he could be a four-legged ghost cow. Ironically, Jack the Ghosts cows biggest fear was flying, and he’s a ghost! It’s a brilliant idea, with conflict, dialogue, intriguing characters and it’s their very own. As volunteers we act as guides, helping them cross their t’s and dot their i’s. After an hour of contracting the first half of the story, we split up into small groups of two or three, and we help them either finish the story, illustrate the story on their own, or write their own ideas down. It doesn’t matter what they do, as long as they are creative, and now that we have spent an hour exercising those creative muscles, they are aching to make something of their own.
It’s an insanely rewarding experience, watching these kids come in with a sense of wonder, and leaving with the confidence and awe that they just created something. There VERY OWN book.
Throughout the process there are questions of “will we see Mr. Makonkey,” “do you think he will publish our book,” “Mr. Makonkey seems like the worst,” and the occasional, “why do you have a funny American accent.” They are in a complete state of excitement and wonder as we chug along through the two-hour process, but as we go along you see the confidence building in there own original ideas and thoughts. The sheer pleasure of proving an editor wrong. It breaks them out of their shell and makes them realize their potential. Gone are the cliches of YouTubers, and Pokemon, what is left is a brilliant three-legged ghost cow on his way to getting a new leg. Continue reading
BY Samantha McLaughlin, ’19 // marketing, CHAMPLAIN COLLEGE
Before I came to Dublin I was on Church Street in Burlington talking to a friend. I was telling him about my travels for the up and coming semester, and as soon as I said “Dublin”, I heard a woman with a thick Irish accent say “Oh, I’m from Dublin!”. This Immediately sparked my attention, and I started asking her the basics. Where to go? What is it like? What should I do? She said to me Dublin reminded her a lot of Burlington, it may be bigger but not by much.
I guess I had my mind set on a scene from Game of Thrones, you know, looking out a window at a small cottage into fields of never ending green. small houses with beautiful doors, nothing bigger than two story houses, farmland, castles and men that convene at the local pub after a long day’s work. Basically “P.S. I Love You” but maybe a little less romantic. Something so different from where I live in the United States. There on Church Street, I just didn’t believe, or maybe just didn’t listen, to this woman about a place she has spent all her life. O’Boy, should I have listened, because I was in for a shock when I arrived. But I quickly realized that woman I previously met was right. Dublin from the outside was just like Burlington. Sizewise it’s like Boston, even in looks it’s similar. I didn’t feel out of my comfort zone because I could easily guide myself around town without getting lost. Nothing felt uncomfortable because of this. I surprisingly started recognizing people that I’ve just seen from walking around. Speaking of walking, everything is walkable just like Burlington, plus buy and support local is huge just like Burlington.
And because everything felt recognizable, I initially felt robbed of my abroad experience. Am I pushing myself outside my comfort zone enough? I struggled with the fact that I was too comfortable, the sense that everything seemed too familiar. Had I chosen the right study abroad location ?
We are now nearly two months into the semester and I may have judged Dublin too soon. You know the saying “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover”, it is true. I judged the looks of Dublin before I even got the chance to fully meet it. Despite my feeling of “this is the end”, life did go on and orientation had started. There’s no way around it orientation can be a drag, though a necessity, but the information that is needed or required isn’t always the most interesting in obtaining. However for me, orientation helped unlock the treasures this abroad experience is going to give. Only if, I could release that robbed feeling, if I could stop judging this cover and actually crack the city for all that is has to offer. All expectation I had, had to be pushed to the ground and replaced with reality. Once I threw expectations out the door and with the help of Stephen’s ( Stephen is the Director of Champlain Dublin, he makes sure everything is running smoothly, honestly he does a little bit of everything, even accounting!) words and with the aid of my first night out to Harcourt Street (the street with all the clubs and bars, making for a crazy night filled with lots of fun), I realized then that I was uncomfortable being alone in a place that I was so comfortable being.
I have a lot of self-exploration to do and Dublin is going to help me with that. I realized that I’m not as independent as I thought, I saw this when I wasn’t comfortable talking to people unless I had a fellow study abroad mate with me every step of the way. I had a fear of being alone or being seen alone, I feel that in American society today, being alone is deemed as weird or unfavorable. You know that feeling, if someone is alone we think it’s because no one wants to be with them. Though here being alone almost looks elegant. There is a certain confidence that is portrayed on a woman in a restaurant indulging in a book or people watching as she digs into her meal. I came to Dublin with no close friends, so to me that felt like alone. I’m not truly alone because I have Champlain Abroad, which offers the support from a small but truly special staff and people with faces that I recognize but don’t truly know yet! It’s me and Dublin now and I’ve realized I am stuck in the American mindset and I don’t know how to publicly be comfortable alone. But like I said, the help of student orientation and my study abroad program, I’ve cracked out of this shell and I see the light.
I’m ready to start my journey of self exploration through the culture, people and the land of Ireland and whatever else I hope to find that it offers. I think I will do this by exploring the Irish Film Institution opening, Dublin Culture night, Fighting Words volunteering experience, the Bluefire Street festival, trips to the cafe alone to journal, nights out in the pub, exploring Dublin’s National college of Art and Design and honestly anything that sparks my interest. Four months isn’t a lot of time and I’m planning to dig deep into the soul of Dublin, extracting everything she has to offer and customizing it on a personal level. I hope to gain that elegance and bring it back with me. Here goes nothing… Continue reading