BY JULIANNA PRATT, ’16 // early childhood and elementary education
Upon arriving in Dublin, I didn’t have many expectations. I wanted to come into this experience with an open mind and let what happen, happen. One thing I hadn’t expected was how much it was going to impact my life. Studying abroad has to be one of the best decisions I made in my life. There is no experience I would rather replace this with. This experience made me realize how lucky I am to have the capabilities to do something like this and go to a school that cares so much about getting its students abroad. Champlain College has given me one of the best experiences of my life and for that I thank you.
I hadn’t expected to make such good friends. Coming into this trip, I was nervous that I really only knew two or three people and everyone else had just been faces that I passed in the halls. But I couldn’t have asked for a better crew of people. Being a small group of students really helped us to bond. We got the chance to really get to know all of the people we were traveling with especially when we went on our field trips to the North and West of Ireland. It makes me grateful to think about all of these wonderful people that walked into my life. Never did I think I would come home with so many new friends.
I hadn’t expected to become so close with all the staff and professors. So far, in my college experience, I had gotten to know my professors slightly, but here at Champlain Dublin I’ve gotten to establish relationships with all my professors and staff Stephen, Lilly, and Ciaran. Each person contributed a little to my success and well-being as I was abroad, even if it was as simple as bringing us some Hobknobs when they knew we were having a stressful week. Everyone cares about us and they all made sure we got the best experience possible while we were here in Dublin. It makes me so happy to get to know so many great people and I owe them all my gratitude for positively influencing my time here.
I hadn’t expected to be placed in such a terrific school. This is one experience that I can say I was most appreciative of. While I was abroad, I got the opportunity to work in a primary school in Dublin. St. James National School invited me to work in their school and really got me immersed in their culture. My mentor teacher worked as my guide to help me learn the ins and outs of the Irish educational system. They were able to give me many responsibilities in the school such as leading a team teaching station, working with struggling students on their reading, as well as being there as a support system for my students. It makes me proud to say that I have had such an impact on my students and the school itself. This is one experience that I will miss the most.
I hadn’t expected to learn so much. Everyday has been a new learning experience for me. I find out new facts about Ireland every day, even if it’s just keeping a running list of all the words that are different here! It makes me decidedly a more knowledge person and has got me to create a more rounded perspective on the world.
I hadn’t expected to love Dublin so much. Coming here I was a little bit hesitant because cities are not usually my cup of tea but Dublin taught me otherwise. I learned to love the hustle and bustle of the city and got used to the city sounds as I slept. Also I learned that the city has so much to offer and so much to do.
But mostly, I hadn’t expected to be so sad to leave.