We are at the end of the first week of classes already. Most students ask themselves, how did that happen? Sometimes it does feel like we are in a special study abroad timezone where we go at double speed at all times. The Dublin staff are encouraging all students to really consider what they want to accomplish during their semester in Ireland as all students have individual expectations and goals. The end result of a successful study abroad semester should be a student looking back with no regrets and at the same time being able to look forward with a new set of life skills, experiences and memories that will last them a lifetime.
With a group of 73 students in Dublin, the first two weeks of the semester have been hectic to say the least. Students were met at the airport by the program Director Stephen Robinson and were brought to the student apartments by taxi or coach. Head Resident Ciaran O’Rourke, together with our 4 Resident Assistants, made sure all things related to moving in went as smoothly as possible. They also organised familiarization walkabouts twice daily during the first few days, for students to get to know the immediate neighborhood to the student apartments.
The mandatory student orientation kicked off on Thursday January 8 covering subjects like personal safety, codes of conduct, residence rules, emergency contacts, building safety, alcohol and drug policies. After a pizza lunch the students met in smaller groups to discuss expectations, goals, immersion, and how to get the most out of study abroad. The day finished with a yummy dinner in The Church restaurant attended by all students as well as many of our faculty members.
Day two began with a breakfast hosted by the Champlain Abroad Dublin resident assistants in the student apartments. The orientation sessions in the Academic Centre continued with subjects like immigration, academic and program schedule, program activities, volunteering, insurance, medical and travel. We unfortunately didn’t have the weather on our side, plenty of rain and very windy conditions. Despite this, the entire group hopped on the DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) and traveled out of the city to the seaside village of Bray in County Wicklow. After an afternoon of climbing Bray Head and exploring we all met in the Martello Hotel for some dinner before heading back into the city.
On the third day of orientation, students started getting more confident on finding their own way to the Academic Center from the student apartments. We continued the information sessions by talking about courses and academic expectations in general. The final piece to the orientation jigsaw is the great Champlain Abroad Dublin scavenger hunt. Twelve teams of excited students went out in the city to complete a long list of tasks with the hopeful outcome of feeling more comfortable in their new home city.
First week of classes has moved along relatively smoothly and today, finally, the weather seems to be on our side just in time for the weekend. Last night, our Head Resident and Activities Coordinator took a large portion of the group to sing Karaoke and there is also a museum trip lined up on Sunday. Our Internship and Service Learning students are meeting with their mentors this week and are all really eager to get started. Countdown has also already started for the Northern Ireland Weekend Tour happening first weekend of February.
Special thanks to Skip Harris and Danelle Berube, visiting from Champlain’s Burlington campus, who were great support and all around help during orientation.
Here’s to a great Spring’15 semester; Explore. Immerse. Engage.
Champlain Abroad Dublin