Champlain Abroad Dublin Alumni: Where Are They Now? Rachel Paz Edition

By: dylan helstien, ’17 // Professional writing

Since Champlain College opened its abroad campus in Dublin, in 2008, over 700 students studied with Champlain Abroad in Ireland for a semester.  We decided to track some of them down for interviews about their experience in Dublin, and the impact that study abroad has had on their lives.

Background:

Rachel Paz Champlain College Alum

Rachel Paz, Champlain College, Marketing’14

My name is Rachel Paz and I am part of the Champlain College Class of 2014 and originally from New Jersey. I’ve always wanted to travel and explore other parts of the world, which was a major factor for me when choosing a college. At Champlain I studied marketing with the hopes of going into advertising.

After spending the Fall of 2012 studying abroad in Dublin I decided I wanted to move abroad and live in Europe for a few years to work in digital and social media. Since graduating two years ago I have started a one-year intensive masters program at the Hult International Business School. Hult has five campuses located all around the world and currently I’m at their Boston campus.

A part of my Master of International Marketing program allows students to travel to the other campuses, so I will be going to London in May and graduating there in August. Going to school with so many international students at Hult and going back to Europe has only inspired me more to move there and pursue my career in social media.

Connect with Rachel! Twitter: @Rachel_Paz14 & Instagram: @rach_paz14.

Q: What did studying abroad mean to you when you now have had a few years to reflect.

Blog - Julia, Rachel and Victoria in Ballintoy

Julia Smith, Rachel Paz and Victoria Richards in Carrick-A-Rede, Northern Ireland during their Champlain Abroad semester in Ireland, Fall 2012. Photo credit: Lilly Johnsson

A: Studying abroad meant everything to me, it was one of the main components I was looking for when choosing a college and Champlain had the best program of all the schools I was looking at. My time abroad really opened my eyes to new cultures and experiences. I was fascinated by how different everything was from what I was used to in America.

Q: What lessons did you learn while abroad?

A: I think the biggest lesson I learned was being independent and self-sufficient. It was really nice to realize I didn’t need to rely on my parents to do things for me anymore.

Q: If you could, what would you now say to yourself, just about to get on that plane to Ireland?

A: One thing I would tell myself is not to be so nervous before getting on the plane. I was really scared and wasn’t sure if I would be able to handle being abroad alone without the support of my family. After a few days though I realized I wouldn’t have any issues adjusting to life in Dublin because people there are so friendly and welcoming.

Q: How do you feel you grew while in Dublin?

A: I think I really grew up and matured during my time in Dublin. I had to learn how to figure things out for myself and not rely on my parents to do everything for me. Especially when it came to travelling in other countries, dealing with language barriers, and being able to navigate around foreign cities. Even when things went wrong or my friends and I would get lost we wouldn’t panic, we’d just figure it out.

Q: What is your best memory of your time abroad?

View of Florence by Rachel Paz

View of Florence. Photo Credit: Rachel Paz

A: I think my best memory from my time abroad was spending Thanksgiving week in Italy with my best friend. We saw four different cities, met up with our friend studying abroad in Rome, and even ran into some Champlain Dublin friends at the Roman Colosseum. We got lost in Venice for over an hour and had to lug our suitcases up and over bridges trying to find our hostel and our B&B in Florence and a view of the Duomo and the Ponte Vecchio Bridge. We saw the ruins of Pompeii and had a traditional Italian dinner in Sorrento on Thanksgiving Day.

Q: What was the biggest impact studying abroad had on you?

A: I think the global experience and understanding different cultures had the biggest impact on me. I loved being in Dublin so much that I didn’t want to leave by the end of the semester. My time in Dublin is one of the reasons I’m going to London next month for graduate school because I eventually want to move to Europe.

Q: Any thing you wished you knew before studying abroad, or about the adjusting period after studying abroad?

A: I wish I knew how to adjust to being in Dublin faster so that I could have had more time to enjoy there. I think the only thing I would change is that I wish I made more friends from Ireland. It’s very easy to get stuck in the Champlain bubble and only hang out with the people you go to school with. Dublin is an amazing city and it was one of the best memories I have from college.

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