Author Archives: Lilly Johnsson

About Lilly Johnsson

Assistant Director - Champlain Abroad Dublin

Champlain students volunteered at the Cyber Threat Summit

9 students of Champlain College‘s Computer & Digital Forensics and Computer Networking & Cyber security programs volunteered at the Cyber Threat Summit early in September. The conference was a sell out and was held in the Mansion House in the Dublin city centre. The organizers are now also offering an “Omnibus Virtual Event” where the broadcast will be free to attend. If you are interested, you can find more details on the Cyber Threat Summit’s website.

The Champlain students helped  out with general tasks during the conference in exchange of sitting in on talks and presentations as well as joining networking events with conference attendees.

cyber-summit-volunteers-fall-2016

Champlain College students volunteering at the Cyber Threat Summit in Dublin. From left: Tyler Peyton, Jordan Leibow, Sean Roe, Megan Hallowell, Mitchell Green, Kelsey Hannemann, Michael Cook, Michael Roberts, Samuel Malone

Check out more photos from the Summit in this photo album:

CyberThreatTaskForceSummit-1

 

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The Story of Dublin

By: Meghan Neely, Professional Writing’18

 

I’ve been telling stories for as long as I’ve been able to talk. Narrative is the air I breathe. It’s the core of my existence and it’s how I connect with the world around me. It’s how I form relationships and it’s what helps me to make sense of who I am. It’s my passion, this love of story, which defines me as a writer. Like any kind of love, though, it can be confusing sometimes.

meghan-neely-profile

Meghan Neely, studying in Dublin with Champlain Abroad in the Fall of 2016

There are a lot of days when my writing and I don’t speak to each other. Days when I tear up pages and sit on the edge of my bed wondering whether or not I made the right choice. I could have picked a more stable major, something in technology or business. A course of study with a logical, proven pattern and an annual salary. But here I am. I chose writing, and I chose Champlain. This September marked the beginning of year three, and I clung to my writing like a dog with a car tire and let it carry me overseas.

Patrick Kavanagh

Statue of Irish Poet and Novelist Patrick Kavanagh

When I first stepped off the plane in Dublin, my stomach was in ropes. I had no idea what to expect from this strange, new city looming over me. I knew that, within weeks, it might make or break me as both a college student and as a writer. I felt like the struggling indie musician setting foot in New York City for the first time, guitar on my back and heart on my sleeve. Anything was possible, but could really I make it big? Would Dublin really be the city for me?

It’s been a long time now since my arrival in Ireland, and while I have many more weeks of growing ahead of me, I’m starting to think Dublin and I will be in love for a long time to come. This is the city of writers, after all.

maxwell-brisben-poetry-reading-at-the-flying-south

Champlain College student Maxwell Brisben, Creative Media’18, performing at the Flying South Open Mic night in Dublin.

Its street corners bleed inspiration from deep seated veins pumping literary history and new talent. Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker, James Joyce — their faces reside in stone and museums across the city. Dozens of poetry events fill the night air with emotion from cafes along the River Liffey. No matter how far I travel, the writers are always there, watching and reminding me that yes, it can be done. You can make a living this way.

Every morning I wake up in Dublin is a morning I wake up a little more inspired, a little more confident. When I board the city bus for my internship, I know that there’s a career ahead of me, that what I can do is important. There’s never once a dull moment in this city, and I find myself shredding the pages of my notebook less and less. I’m writing more, reading more, and I owe it all to Dublin’s authors, old and new.

 

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Champlain College represented at the Forum's European Conference

Dr. Stephen Robinson, Champlain College’s Dublin Director, is attending the Forum on Education Abroad‘s European Conference in Athens, Greece October 5-7.  Stephen is co-founder and Deputy Chair of the European Association of Study Abroad (EUASA), a network of country organizations representing primarily North American study abroad programs operating in Europe. The mission of EUASA is […]

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An Open Letter to Dublin

By: Amanda Hollywood, ’17 // Public Relations

Dear Dublin,

sick mondo

When I had a fever I had to lay in my dark room with a damp towel over my forehead.

Whenever I would complain about how stubborn one of my siblings was being, my dad would always counter with a story from his childhood about my granny. When he was young it would be his job in the morning to make her a cup of coffee as he made his own breakfast, and one time, somehow, he accidentally set his toast on fire in the toaster and had to put it out with a fire extinguisher. When my granny came downstairs, she scolded him for not having her coffee ready, even while seeing him clearly in the aftermath of an actual fire. No matter how my dad explained, she wasn’t hearing it. She just wanted her coffee. The farther back in my family you go, it seems, the more and more stubborn we get. After coming to Ireland, I know without a doubt it’s the Irish in us. That’s where you come in, Dublin.

You didn’t care that I was here to have the time of my life. You didn’t care that I had invested thousands into this trip. You didn’t care that I had very different goals set, coming abroad. There were lessons you had for me to learn, and I was going to learn them, one way or another. Namely, by getting really, really sick. About 45% of my time here was spent being somehow sick. I spent more time sick here in Ireland than I’ve spent sick in the past five years, easily. I spent many days and nights staring at the ceiling and reasoning with the universe: Don’t you understand I’m supposed to be having the time of my life right now? Don’t you understand I have plans? But you were stubborn, Dublin. And you taught me to be stubborn, too.

happy mondo

The first thing I did when I got better was hop on a plane to the Happiest Place on Earth

You stubbornly made me become independent. I had no one to rely on but myself. There’s no mommy out here to nurse you back to health- you have to do it yourself. No one is obligated to take care of you, or otherwise care at all. Not to say no one cared, but you taught me self care. Self reliance. And now, self confidence that I can take care of myself. If I hadn’t spent weeks stubbornly fighting my way to good health, I never would have had the independence needed to take two trains and a bus all the way to Dingle and spend the weekend there alone. I wouldn’t have had the confidence to navigate the Paris metro system on my own.

And with the stubbornness of a group of doomed rebels rising up on Easter morning, and the stubbornness of the harps now plastered on any and everything Irish but which earlier had nearly gone extinct, I got better. I kept going to the doctor, and I kept taking my medicine, and I kept resting until I got better. And I was not derailed. I stubbornly did everything I set out to do, and did it in half the time everyone else had. Dublin, you taught me to be stubborn- and to persevere.

super happy mondo

One of my best days in Ireland was when I did the Howth cliff walk. I was afraid I would be too weak after being so sick, but I had the time of my life!

It wasn’t easy, but even so, I’m thankful for the lessons you so kindly forced down my throat, Dublin. I can practically hear your ‘I told you so’s nipping at my heels as I prepare to depart. Ireland really is a Mother. So, thank you, Dublin. It’s a little begrudging, in the same way you would hate admitting it when your mom is Absolutely Right, but there is no denying I have been changed for the better. You’re sending home a completely different person- a more stubborn, self-confident person- and I hope you’re prepared to take the blame for that!

Goodbye Dublin. I think I can take it from here.

Yours Always,

Amanda

 

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Daring David: Adventurer, Entrepreneur, and Champlain Abroad Alum

By: Amanda Hollywood, ’17 // Public Relations

Since Champlain College opened its abroad campus in Dublin, in 2008, over 700 students have 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.

David D’Angelo

David D’Angelo is a Champlain College alumni who also studied with Champlain Abroad in Dublin

David J. D’Angelo is a Champlain College alumni from the graduating class of 2012 who has been involved in entrepreneurial projects with companies including Somu Energy, Nanosynth Materials & Sensors, Data Mural, Intellectual Asset Partners, International Rescue Committee, United Nations, US State Department, US Homeland Security, Social Enterprise Greenhouse and Catholic Charities Migration & Refugee Services. Currently he resides in Salt Lake City, Utah, and is the founder of Somu Energy as well as the Entrepreneur in Residence at Intellectual Asset Partners. However, six years ago in the fall of 2010, he was just a third year Criminal Justice major from Ludlow, Massachusetts, arriving in Dublin for his first true abroad experience. I had the pleasure of interviewing David to get some insight on how studying abroad launched him into the successful life he leads today.

Q: What made you decide to go to Dublin? Did the trip live up to that expectation?

A: Early on in my undergraduate years, I felt challenged by the identity discovery process. I was pursuing a major that didn’t feel like the right fit. I was still figuring out who I was and who I aspired to be. And, at the time,  I felt like a major change, like studying abroad, might propel me into discovering more about myself and the direction I wanted to take my academics and career. This was a chance to connect the dots. It was a chance to throw myself against the vulnerability of being in a new place, in order to understand more about myself. It was an opportunity to adventure and explore and find my purpose.

A few close friends had already decided to commit to a semester abroad in Dublin. They were the ones who motivated me to seek out the experience in the first place. Without their push, I doubt I would have ever stepped foot into Ireland. And, thank god I did.

Guinness Storehouse

David D’Angelo visiting the Guinness Storehouse with friends during his study abroad semester in Dublin.

Going to Dublin was the best decision I ever made. It helped me feel comfortable when faced with the unfamiliar which later gave me the confidence to do things such as study in Thailand and launch a social venture in Nepal. Dublin was the first step of international exposure that I took, and it has since fueled my desire to see more of the world.

 

Q: What were some of your apprehensions or ‘Big Unknowns’ before you came abroad?

A: Looking back, I certainly had my apprehensions. I questioned whether I would be ready for the change. I questioned if the change was worth leaving my comfortable routine. There were people in my life that questioned the value of the experience I would have in Dublin. They would confront me and say “but why can’t you do that here in the United States?”. At the time, I couldn’t confidently convey the value, because I had never experienced it for myself. I trusted my intuition, and trusting my intuition ended up paying off in meaningful ways. You never know what it is going to be like until you get there. Now, I make sure that I always go into a new experience with optimism and trust that things are going to work out. And, usually they do. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

Artists at Work: an Urban Expo

By: Sarah Wilkinson, ’17 // Professional Writing

Clouds were spitting rain on us and the air smelled of warm cheese from the renovated pizza bus resting on flat tires along the back wall. Smoke from clove cigarettes drifted through the air, coiling around the art on the walls that were dizzy with color and pattern. My classmates and I walked frenzied circles across the concrete floor, sticky with yesterday’s spilled pints, checking items off our to-do list.

  • Graffiti artists contacted and confirmed
  • Interviews with the press done
  • Musicians setting up their equipment for sound check
  • Back wall painted black and sectioned off with tape
  • Canvases set up by the windows
  • Spirits high and smiles on

We’d been preparing for this night of live graffiti art and musical performance for the past nine weeks as part of our Creative Dublin class. The whole idea was to get all twelve of us involved in the creative scene around Dublin, a city that sprawls up, down, and out, holding artistic treasures and secrets everywhere you look. After all those weeks of planning and sending emails and wondering, “Can we actually pull this off??” we were in our first-choice venue, the Bernard Shaw, and we were pulling it off.

Artists at work - waiting for folks

Sarah Wilkinson (Professional Writing’17), Cynthia Anderson (Professional Writing’17) and Callie Browning (International Business’17) ready at the ticket desk

It shouldn’t have come as a surprise, however. For all the obstacles we had to jump (and fall) over, we still managed to have a solid lineup of artists and musicians, the latter with the help of Dublin City Buskers, an organization advocating for the rights of street performers. Our event’s Facebook page was the place to be in the cyber world, and hours before the event we had over 1,000 people committed to coming and some 4,000 people interested. We were expecting either no one, or for everyone and their second cousin’s in-laws to show up.

One by one, all eight of our graffiti artists arrived sporting bright red dreadlocks and other funky hairdos, tattoos on their arms, and cans of spray paint stowed in their backpacks. Each and every one of them smiled and thanked us as we helped them set up their paint stations for the night. Some artists were painting on over-sized canvases, and others were working on the giant concrete wall out back that we’d painted black for the occasion. The smell of spray paint wasn’t as overwhelming as you might have expected when they all began, arms moving in a flurry over lines and circles that slowly began to morph into pictures. Continue reading

Preparing to study abroad in Dublin

By: dylan helstien, ’17 // Professional writing

When I applied to study abroad in Dublin I wasn’t too worried about being accepted. I had good grades and a good reputation. I was more worried about what classes I would get, seeing as I didn’t have much leeway in my required credits I needed to graduate on time. Once I was accepted I received a package with all the necessary information to help me prepare for my semester abroad. I read the entire hand book they gave me, I was excited and wanted to know everything. The guide book gave me recommendations on what to bring, what to expect, and all the rules/ safety regulations.

It’s worth putting some time into preparing to study abroad before you hop on that flight.

I was preparing to study abroad for both Fall and Spring semesters, which is a real option for many different majors. While I was mentally preparing for two semesters I was only physically able to prepare for my upcoming Fall semester, which meant all summer I was planning and prepping. I love planning, which I know isn’t for everyone but if you can try it will definitely help you out in the future. For example, I had my flight to Munich, Germany for Oktoberfest booked about 2-3 months in advance. I ended up saving a lot of money by planning ahead and it’s the perfect thing to do to keep yourself busy while you wait for your adventure to start. I almost planned my entire three week trip that would be between semesters over the summer. Soon I was researching every European country and deciding which ones I wanted to visit and when.

By the time my flight to Dublin was a month away I had almost all my trips planned and all I had left to do was make sure my passport was renewed, let my bank know I was leaving, and pack. I actually think that packing was the hardest part. I lived off campus and had to pack up my whole apartment, or at least all of my belongings, not my roommates. Packing dishes, sheets, and anything that wasn’t clothes was easy because I didn’t need to think about it. I just put it in a box and called it a day. My clothes were another story. Having to pack enough clothes for two semesters in a suitcase was a challenge and from what I’ve heard packing for one semester isn’t much easier. Here’s a rule of thumb, pack two of everything. Two long sleeves, two short sleeves, two tank tops, two pairs of jeans and so on. Continue reading

Traveling Alone: From Nervous Novice to Poised Professional

By: Amanda Hollywood, ’17 // Public Relations

It’s coming down to the last few weeks of our semester abroad, meaning we’re all frantically trying to squeeze in as much traveling as we can and check a few more things off our bucket lists before finals hit. It’s an interesting time because by now we’ve all gotten pretty close and are accustomed to always having someone around. At the same time, with funds and time running out, we all have certain ‘Must Do’s in mind for ourselves- and those goals don’t always align with our friend’s. That is how I found myself booking a weekend on my own to the Dingle peninsula, the most western point in Ireland.

My roommates had all planned to go to Barcelona together, but I found myself less than eager to join them. I’m not a fan of hot weather- I call Burlington and Dublin home, after all!- I don’t speak Spanish, and I can’t spend more than five minutes in the sun without being burnt to a crisp. On the other hand, Dingle seemed to be calling my name, having grown up on the stories of the time my dad had spent there when he was my age. It was really hard to decide to go on my own rather than sticking with my friends, but I only had the money for about one more trip and I knew I had to see Dingle if I wanted to leave Ireland with no regrets.

So in true American fashion I set off for the West early on Friday morning, my roommates having already flown out to Barcelona the night before. It’s no easy task getting to Dingle: it took two trains and a bus, totaling about five hours travel, and I was worried about navigating so much transportation on my own. I booked my hostel before I started figuring out how to actually get there, and thank goodness I did or I might’ve backed out. It can be intimidating, navigating train stations and bus routes on your own, especially with no phone to easily look up any information needed on the spot. But the hostel was booked so I had to get there no matter what, and with some careful planning and navigation, I did.

The journey was totally worth it, by the way

The journey was totally worth it, by the way

I had stayed in hostels before on the Western Ireland trip which I was really thankful for, but even so, this was a new experience. I was in a mixed gender room with six beds, and I had been trying to reassure myself that just because it was labeled mixed and had six beds didn’t necessarily mean that six men and women would be there during my stay. However, when I walked into the room, it became quickly obvious that I was indeed getting the last bunk in a room full of men and women. That made me pretty nervous at first, and to make myself feel a little better, I ended up keeping my bag up on my bed with me when I slept at night. My hostel was definitely plenty secure, and I never felt that I was in any danger or a sketchy situation, but even so I was on my own and had to look out for myself. Little things like not leaving your phone out charging somewhere unattended or counting your money out in the open are just little actions that can help you feel more secure and guarded when you’re on your own. Continue reading

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. Continue reading