Dublin became my home away from home

By: dylan helstien, ’17 // Professional writing

For my entire junior year at Champlain College I was able to study in Dublin with Champlain Abroad. There were three weeks between semesters, which I spent backpacking through Italy. When I arrived back in Dublin I had the unique opportunity to see Dublin in a whole new light, different from those who arrive in Dublin the first weekend of orientation and even those who come back after spending a weekend in another European city.

Spending three weeks in a different foreign country, one where the spoken language isn’t English, showed me the real Dublin. The one I easily looked over my first semester. It’s similar to forgetting how great your hometown is. That is, until you leave it. See, when you live somewhere long enough, you become so accustomed to a routine you don’t even notice it’s a routine anymore. When you leave that routine it’s only when you come back to that routine that you realize how much you missed it.

Run in the Dark

Running a charity race through the streets of Dublin with your Champlain Abroad friends.

That’s what happened with Dublin and I. Dublin became my home away from home away from home, seeing as Burlington is my other home away from home. My actual home being Southern California.

I didn’t realize what I was missing until I actually missed it. The funny thing is everyone wanted to know how Italy was, and while, yes, it was amazing, I wanted to talk to everyone about Dublin. So let me tell you all about it.

Cobblestone Dublin

Cobblestone Streets in Dublin. Photo Credit: Dylan Helstien

Dublin is quirky and I missed it so much. The sound of horse hooves on cobblestone are a permanent subtle soundtrack and are a welcome reminder that you are no longer on American pavement. Just as crossing any street becomes a game of Frogger, seeing as no Dubliner actually waits for the crosswalk to turn green, which at first was intimidating but soon becomes a right of passage.

Street art Dublin

Dublin Street Art close to the Champlain student apartments. Photo Credit: Dylan Helstien

Street performer Dublin

Street performer in Dublin playing the harp with is also the national symbol of Ireland. Photo Credit: Dylan Helstien

Dublin canal - Dylan

The Dublin Canal a few minutes walk from the Champlain Academic Center. Photo credit: Dylan Helstien

The streets are the best place to meet people and see new things. The streets of Dublin are often referred to as a stage and you never know what performance is next whether it be musical or magical.

One small characteristic of Dublin that I love to see on every walk to Champlain’s Academic Center is the business women dressed in suits or coats, skirts, tights and then neon running shoes. It’s obvious they have a more professional pair of shoes in their bag and it wouldn’t be funny if there was only one or two women doing this but its not.

I’ve come to learn that Irish people are my favorite type of people. I’m going to make a sweeping generalization but based off my own personal experience every Irish person has been funny, nice, helpful, interesting, and above all else friendly. They love to live life to the fullest and while they work hard they equally enjoy building friendships with anyone they meet.

Even the little kids seem so much more adorable than American kids, but maybe it’s just the accents and the constant reminder of Harry Potter.

I couldn’t have made a better choice than to study in Dublin.

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