Until we meet again, Dublin, I’ll be longing to return. But the memories, shaped over one hundred and seventeen days spent in the company of you and your European neighbors, will be savored for eternity. So thank you, first, for giving me only so much time.
I’ve always been aware of making each moment count; but with only so many moments allotted for me this time around, I was busier and am more satisfied with what I’ve done. Thinking back to the first few weeks of studying with Champlain Abroad Dublin, I’m often surprised to recount a trip to Cork with new friends, a jump into the Irish Sea, dinner in a refurbished church, and a ride through Phoenix Park, feeding deer. Small moments in class, and larger weekend journeys, have been fitted into every corner of my mind and collectively have formed an experience that I never realized could be so full. There is no room for me to regret not having done something. Are there things I’d still like to see? Of course. Doesn’t that just mean I’ll have to come back for you, Dublin?
Champlain Abroad students at Ballintoy Harbor in Northern Ireland
You gave me the chance to create new, meaningful relationships, for which I will always be grateful. I joined this program knowing that I was the only student outside of Champlain College to attend this semester. A slight panic seized me the closer that my time to leave came. To me, it felt like freshman year of college, having to find my place. But I found that I blended into the group effortlessly, everyone welcoming me with open arms. Still, friends here have said that they forget I won’t be with them at school next semester. I’ve only known my forty three peers for four months, but you could tell me that I’ve known them for five years and I would believe you more. Champlain Abroad Dublin boasts a small and intimate group, and I’m proud to call myself an honorary Champlain-er. I’ve felt torn between worlds, missing my friends at Emerson while loving my new friendships. Next semester, I’ll be torn in the opposite way… But now, I have the chance to visit Burlington. And I will have times to relay to friends in Boston, while strengthening the friendships I’ve established here. Continue reading
If I could fit one abstract object into my suitcase and carry it back to Boston with me—besides Ireland’s incomparable beauty—it would be the country’s pub culture.
A night out on the town in Dublin can be exactly the night out everyone needs: relaxed. Champlain Abroad students are fortunate to be living in a city that is compact enough to walk no more than twenty minutes to a pub, and that there is an endless array of places to visit! After a long week of classes, sometimes the sweetest reward is a pint and trad music.
Pub Culture in Ireland – Most pubs host traditional music sessions every night!
As crazy as it sounds, ‘tis the season!
Champlain students take on Dublin at Christmas!
November 12th marked the first of the official holiday light festivities in Dublin, happening on Henry Street. A majority of students were eager to go; with the spirit upon us, it wasn’t a tough decision. Three of my good friends and I arrived just past four, after a quick run to Simon’s Place—which has excellent cinnamon rolls—and were able to take in the sights of the Christmas tidings greeting us on Henry Street. In the windows of one department store are Lego towns, constructed into scenarios from Star Wars and James and the Giant Peach, as well as a Night Before Christmas-esque bedroom. Christmas ornaments have been hung up inside of shops, white lights twinkle overhead outside, holiday sales and fashion are marketed, and a wintery darkness settles over the city quite early. I was continuously surprised that evening to remember that it wasn’t even quite the middle of November. Continue reading
Dublin is a city brimming with opportunity; and upholding Champlain Abroad’s motto to explore, immerse, and engage has proven easy and rewarding. Within one month of arriving, I was making my way to class without a worry about how to get there, being asked for directions, and claiming little corners of the city as my own. There is a familiarity to this place, and the feel of locality has made itself immortal. It goes beyond the trad sessions in pubs and classroom or group excursions; it reaches into volunteerism, as well.
I haven’t volunteered steadily anywhere since high school, but Champlain Abroad makes the chance to do so more than available and the staff are wonderful in helping students find the place for them. And there are a host of places that Champlain has worked with in the past, but there is also room to research organizations in the area! From the beginning, when looking at the list of programs Champlain suggested on the post-acceptance application, I was interested in spending a couple of hours a week at Fighting Words—and it couldn’t have been a better decision on my part to sign up.
So far, I have volunteered at three Fighting Words sessions, already looking forward to the others that lie in store for me. Co-founded by Irish author Roddy Doyle and Seán Love, Fighting Words offers free creative writing tutoring and workshops to children and young adults. They often host events in the center as well as around Ireland, and have specific times set up each day for primary and secondary school students to come in and write. On Monday afternoons, high school students from literally all over the country come for two hours, and as volunteers we sit with a group and act as a set of eyes and ears that isn’t a teacher or other authority figure.
The time is now, the week is here: midterms. Exams abound, and essay assignments never seem to stop coming. As a third-year college student, this isn’t my first tango with that dreaded M-word. As someone who is studying abroad, though—yes, the study is a key factor here—it proves a bit more challenging.
My workload has been very manageable, but in the last few weeks my assignments have been piling up and led to some initial stress. It’s not a secret, but practicing time management is so, so important: especially while living in another country, where the world is your oyster and there is endless life pulling you in all directions. Like I said, it’s not a new development: but polishing up this habit will combat stress and leave ample time for immersion! I haven’t perfected my formula, but what I’ve been doing to date has worked swimmingly.
1. Make a list.
I haven’t gotten a formal planner while here, but I do have a notebook where, each week, I make a to-do list and organize it into sections of classwork, events to sign up for, papers to print, and miscellaneous things to take care of. It’s also best, for me, to write everything in order of importance. Paper due in four days? Starred at the top. Reading for class next week? Listed towards the bottom, below the upcoming assignments needing to be taken care of first. It’s a good visual of what needs to get done when. And sometimes I start from the bottom of the list and work my way up, to be able to cross a few minor tasks off. Really, a day for me can’t begin until I know what needs to be done when. Continue reading
Boasting a playlist primarily made up of show tunes and Broadway soundtracks and a slow-but-steady collection of plays filling my shelf, my love for theatre runs deep. I’m left reeling for weeks after leaving a performance, and try to stay up to date on the latest shows and performers—a Hollywood of sorts. One of the greatest privileges in life is to witness live theatre. There’s simply nothing like it.
Like writing, theatre has the power to touch, to move, and to inspire. It can provoke belly-aching laughter in one instant and, in the next, leave almost sorrowful tears streaming down audience members’ faces. It leads us through the journeys of its characters, and we leave the confines of the theatre with a lighter step and more peace of mind. More insight; more humanity.
Of two things I am positive: Irish sports are some of the most exciting games to partake in, and I should stick to watching as opposed to actually playing.
This weekend, more than half of the Champlain Abroad Dublin students attended Experience Gaelic Games, an almost four hour session where we were taught the art of three of Ireland’s most popular sports—handball, hurling, and Gaelic football. There was time devoted to each to learn the basics, work with a partner to put passing techniques into practice, and finally to play a match.
I’ve never been athletically inclined. Growing up a dancer, with the only equipment needed being performance shoes and a ballet bar, I’ve been so out of the earshot of sports. In gym class throughout school, I would stand back and let everyone else duke it out on the court or field, and follow the herd of kids running towards the ball in play. But I was pumped for the day. New sports, new me, right?
Champlain Abroad students learning hurling techniques
That’s the single best word to describe independent travel.
In planning my semester with Champlain Abroad, I decided that I wanted to take one solo weekend trip (to my mom’s initial disdain). And the more reading of independent female travel blogs that I did, the more the idea solidified in my mind and became not a want but a need. As long as I did my research and chose somewhere that would put everyone’s mind at ease in terms of safety, there wouldn’t be an issue.
I flip flopped between destinations; and when my first long weekend, still open, began approaching, I asked a professor for a recommendation on regions in Ireland to visit.
“The Dingle Peninsula,” He said, no hesitation in his reply. So came the studying of how to get there, what to do, where to stay and eat, and who needed cash over credit. Reflecting back on it, the process was long—five hours spent one Sunday afternoon, poring over my ninety open tabs and scrolling through articles furiously—but not as painstaking as I imagined it would be. Two days later, a trip for Dingle and Killarney was completely booked and the excitement to go was insurmountable.
Cycling Slea Head. A fantastic way of exploring what Independent Travel is all about.