Author Archives: Daniel Selicaro

Top Three Places To Relax In Dublin

By: Liv Werenski, Public Relations’17

Ahh, friends, here we are again. Finals time is slowly creeping up on us again and most of us aren’t ready for it. No matter how much of a prepared student you are, finals gets the best of everyone and with it comes stress and a need for relaxation. Being on a college budget doesn’t mean you can’t find spots to unwind. Even if you’re the most outgoing person, a little alone time to relax and have some quiet space is good for the soul and makes you a better person to be around.

The go-to places around Dublin are coffee shops. While I love those and Queen of Tarts is my one true love, they aren’t always the quietest places and can be bad for your budget (who can resist those chocolate lava cakes). The Champlain academic center and student apartments can be effective and of course easy to get to for a quick study sesh, however, they’re full of people you know who can become welcome distractions. While studying abroad, especially in a fun-filled place like Dublin, it’s hard to remember that you’re here for a reason. While immersing yourself in the culture is important, the main focus for every student should be the academics.

Personally, I found that about halfway through the semester, I needed to reset. I needed new places to visit, new people to talk to, and new activities to stimulate my creativity and mind. I’m the kind of person that loves change and needs it to feel fully myself, and when you live with the same people and attend the same classes with them and then find yourself in a routine, things can seem a little mundane.

Here’s a list of my top favorite places to de-stress in Dublin on a budget:

  • St. Stephen’s Green/ Iveagh Gardens/ Phoenix Park
Deer in Phoenix Park

Local Phoenix Park deer

While I love each of these parks, they all have their specific benefits. St. Stephen’s is the closest to the academic center and is super clean, Iveagh Gardens is the most quiet and intimate and Phoenix Park is the largest and also has wild deer that you can feed and a zoo! Parks and being outdoors in the sunshine are the best thing to clear a busy mind and get the alone time you desperately need without feeling completely locked away and shut away from the world. Bring a copy of a non textbook to fall in love with reading again or perhaps a yoga mat for some real connecting to the Earth.

  • Tropical Popical
Tropical Popical

Tropical Popical – the ultimate relaxing treat

You guys, this is THE place to pamper yourself in Dublin. Prices are average/a little expensive, however, you get to have your nails done while watching reality TV and drinking a margarita out of a coconut or pineapple cup. On a rainy day, it’s sure to brighten your mood. Book in advance because it’s so popular. The staff at Tropical Popical will pamper you and take care of you head to toe and you may even see a celebrity sighting since this was named THE Dublin nail salon. Try out the chocolate pedicure for a decadent treat. The best relaxation is when you don’t have to think.

  • Sunday mornings in Dun Laoghaire
stocking-up-on-olives

Olive booth at Dun Laoghaire Sunday Farmers Market

How does cliff jumping off a historic literary cliff followed by a farmer’s market sound? Every semester Champlain staff organise an outing to the 40 Foot bath and People’s Park in Dun Laoghaire south of Dublin city, make sure to tag along! The calming splashing of waves followed by homemade dumplings and a pressed juice were just the thing I needed this weekend to get some head space and think about something other than final papers and presentations. Bonus: It’s only 7 euro round trip to get there on the DART, Dublin’s subway system. Each booth has homemade arts and crafts and local food options, which are much better than anything at Lidl. I chose homemade dumplings and Pad Thai which were hot, fresh and out of this world tasty.

Let me know if you have any other suggestions or have tried any of these in the comment section below! Remember to stay focused, but never take yourself too seriously and to enjoy every part of life, both the stressful and time consuming and the fun and spontaneous.

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Why You Should Volunteer at 8 am On Your Day Off

By: Olivia Werenski, Public Relations‘17

This past week, I received an amazing opportunity, one that is consistent with the Champlain College way and how it gives their students every opportunity available. Currently, I am enrolled in the Non Profit and Social Marketing class, taught by the wonderful Serena Mizzoni of Ashoka Ireland. However, in years before, the course was taught by Lucy Masterson, the CEO of Fundraising Ireland. This week, I volunteered for the Rise Up! National Fundraising Conference 2016 and had my thought process about non profits changed for good.

I have to be honest, I wasn’t really wanting to go. After a stressful week of final papers, housing selection, class registration for senior year, a job interview, and throwing an event for my Creative Dublin class, I had low energy and motivation. Waking up at 6 am was tough, especially when I wasn’t getting a paycheck.

When I arrived with fellow volunteers in tow, I was amazed by the hotel where it was being hosted. It smelled like fresh chocolate chip cookies and there was free food everywhere. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad here! We met up with Hermon, a coordinator for the conference and she assigned us our places and gave us some free t-shirts (always a plus).  I ended up being assigned to room 6 for the day, where I would help the presenters with anything they needed and make the lectures a smooth experience for both the participants and the speakers.

Volunteers for Fundraising Ireland

Some of the Champlain College students volunteering at the annual conference for Fundraising Ireland. Photo credit: Lilly Johnsson

The speakers were from all over the world: Scotland, London, USA, Canada, Spain and more. I was impressed with both their talent and drive to get to be where they are in their careers today. Most were CEO’s, either for large companies or owned their own companies. Hearing them speak about the psychology behind decision making and ethics behind asking for money was both interesting and thought pondering. I had come into the conference almost hating fundraising and feeling awkward in situations where I had to ask for money. Now, I see the premise behind it. Not only is it necessary to have a sustainable business, but it doesn’t always have to be this uncomfortable and pushy thing that is always the elephant in the room. These speakers made me see things from a different angle, one that was based on evidence and research instead of personal bias. Plus, I received some fantastic LinkedIn connections that I wouldn’t have otherwise gotten.

Tammy Zonker

Tammy Zonker, Founder and CEO of Fundraising Transformed, during her talk at Fundraising Ireland’s conference. Photo credit: Lilly Johnsson

Fundraising Ireland's national conference

In between talks at Fundraising Ireland’s national conference. The venue was the Hilton by DoubleTree hotel in Dublin.

All in all, it was a wonderful learning experience and resume builder and it wouldn’t have never been possible without the help of Champlain Abroad Dublin. This experience reminded me to not judge a book by it’s cover and to always take a risk, no matter how early in the morning it is.

Catch up with me on Twitter: @OWerenski

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Because Dublin Isn't All Fun And Drinking

Olivia Werenski, Public Relations’17

This semester, like I have mentioned before, was one that I wasn’t sure I was prepared for. The hardest part (besides actually getting there), I assumed would be the classes. While school hasn’t ever been hard for me (well, except math), I feared that the combination of schoolwork mixed with being in another country would concoct the perfect potion of stress and anxiety.

Champlain College Dublin Building

It’s sometimes hard to study when your school building is so beautiful

When you apply to Champlain Abroad Dublin, you actually chose classes in the application. This made me very excited! The time spent flipping through the pages of the course catalog and imaging sitting learning about Irish art and literature made everything feel exciting and real and most importantly, raw. This was real, I was really going to go to school in another country and learn about their culture and history and ways of living first hand.

Now that I am here, classes are even better than I expected. I’m taking 5 classes: Creative Dublin, Dublin Literary Experience, Environmental Earth Science, Non Profit and Social Marketing, and Writing The City. Each course involves in class and out of class elements so students get a hands-on approach to their learning and really feel immersed in the culture of Dublin. This was a nice change of pace, as I’ve learned that I learn the best by doing and practicing, rather than listening to a lecture.

Recently, in Non Profit and Social Marketing class, my teacher Serena Mizzoni, took us on a field trip to Kilbarrack fire station and learned about Neil McCabe, the creator and chief executive officer of The GreenPlan©. Neil is an entrepreneur and fireman who turned his rundown and out of date building into a functioning, modern and cost effective “green” station where employee morale was at an all time high. It was really fantastic to see the concepts that we were learning in class applied to a real person and a real life situation. Neil impressed me not only with his wit and sense of humor but intelligence and passion for sustainability. You can read more about Neil and the GreenPlan in this recent article published in the Irish Times on February 22nd: https://www.irishtimes.com/sponsored/it-s-good-to-be-green-1.2541211

The teachers are amazing here as well. All of my teachers are Irish and know a lot about Dublin as a city and as a group of people. The culture and the history that I have experienced while here in my classes has been something I most likely would not have gotten if just on my own. The spirit of immersion and background knowledge they bring to the table has given me a fresh perspective on the Irish culture. Besides being great teachers, a few of them have even become friends of mine and are a good source of advice for traveling as well!

I wouldn’t change a thing about living and attending school here. While still being challenging at times, for the most part everything has been smooth sailing academically. I feel comfortable yet challenged in all my classes and have faith that I will be learning new skills that I can take home with me and re-purpose in other classes. It’s still the same Champlain dynamic I’ve always admired about the school. I urge everyone to find a place where you feel comfortable yet pushed at the same time to be the best version of yourself. I’m so glad I’ve found mine.
Until next time!

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The Start Of Something New…

Dia dhuit! Hello!

Well, here it is. I’m in Dublin, Ireland. Over 3,000 miles away from home. The trip that was looming as a big cloud of anxiety and nervousness above my head is gone and I am here. My first plane ride is done, my first time leaving the country is done, and my first time living in an apartment is on going. I admit, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Ireland. I pictured the stereotypical rolling and lush green hills, and a few sheep scattered about. I pictured a country full of redheads and people with such thick accents, it wouldn’t even sound like they were speaking English.Champlain Abroad Dublin students

What I found was a sprawling and vibrant city with it’s good and it’s bad qualities. The nightlife was vibrant, and the pub scene was even more vibrant and lively. Our apartments are nestled on a quiet street near the River Liffey and are quaint but homey. Of course, living with a group of friends who I feel like I’ve known forever helps too. I spent my first week buying the necessary items to live, and unpacking my three huge suitcases.

Between grocery shopping, touring the surroundings, and adjusting to the 5 hour time difference, it was a lot. But a good a lot. I was so tired but so invigorated at the same time. The presence of this amazing opportunity and the reality of actually being here, flooded my veins with the spirit of adventure and the pride in myself that I actually did it. I made it. It was done.

The Champlain Abroad staff here was more the welcoming and made all of us feel prepared and adjusted. We had what they call a “soft landing” meaning Ireland isn’t as much of a culture shock as other cultures. They were right. I built Ireland up to be this huge undertaking and prepared to have such a large shock to my system, however I felt perfectly at home. It was different, but once again, a good kind of different.

This posting marks about a month since I’ve touched down and it’s been a whirlwind of emotions (all happy) and I can’t wait to see where this semester takes me and the self knowledge and growth I’ll gain along the way.

Slán go fóill! Until next time!

Olivia Werenski
Champlain Abroad Dublin, Spring 2016
Public Relations, Champlain College’17

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