Category Archives: Academic & Courses

Buckle up and come along on the Zach Paulsen Study Abroad Experience

BY Zach Paulsen, PROFESSIONAL WRITING’17

Hey everybody. Looks like I’m your digital Study Abroad Tour Guide for the semester. ‘Cause you know what they say, if you don’t write for a study abroad blog at least once in your life, you’re not living.

To all you youngsters eagerly awaiting the Spring so you too can go abroad, I’m looking forward to the opportunity to have you live vicariously through me. And to all you worried/anxious/jealous parents out there, I suppose there’s room to let you live vicariously through me too.

While we wait, seeing as I have had a month to take it all in and be a tourist in my own right, I should brief you on a few noteworthy things I’ve experienced thus far:

  • A handful of us stumbled upon the Pigeon Whisperer in St. Stephen’s Green.
  • I have hiked around the town of Howth.
  • We have experienced Gaelic Sports (I am very bad at Hurling).
  • We have gone on a trip to the West of Ireland to visit the Cliffs of Moher, the town of Doolin, the island of Inis Oirr, and the town of Galway. Oh, and we got to meet sheepdog puppies
celtic-cross

Celtic Cross at Corcomroe Abbey

shipwreck

Champlain Abroad student Laura Anderson atop an Inis Oirr shipwreck.

Well, the time has come, so buckle up, newfound friends o’ mine. It’s time to delve into the patented Zach Paulsen Study Abroad Experience™.

A brief little background about me: I made the trip to Dublin via a twelve hour plane ride from Seattle, where I’m from. Being from the West Coast, I’m not exactly used to living in a very history-oriented culture. In fact, even when I came to New England, it took me a while to appreciate the fact that I was eating at restaurants that were established before 1970.

Ireland, obviously, is older still but the island’s rich history is infused in the modern culture in ways that are much deeper than what we experience back in the States. Continue reading

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!

READY TO GET THAT INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE AND GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE?

APPLY NOW TO STUDY ABROAD WITH CHAMPLAIN COLLEGE!

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Making Music: The Academic Experience I Never Expected

By: Amanda Hollywood, ’17 // Public Relations

Let’s be honest for a minute: when it comes to the process of preparing for a semester in Dublin, our courses are likely not in the top ten things on our mind. Amidst all the charms of being in a new foreign city, meeting new friends, and figuring out all our travel adventures, it’s easy to feel like our academics might end up taking the backburner. It can sometimes be rumored that study abroad is like a vacation: yes you’re taking classes, but those are in the background compared to the rest of your experience. However, in my time here I have learned that this is definitely NOT the case!

When I was signing up for my Champlain Abroad Dublin classes all the course descriptions sounded interesting enough, a little plain, and besides filling credit requirements I didn’t put a huge amount of thought into what I joined. The Cultural Immersion Through Music course, for example, sounded like a pretty calm lecture where we’d listen to a lot of Irish music recordings and do some readings. I thought, ‘Well, I like music…,’ checked off the box, and didn’t think much more of it until I got the textbook requirements sheet for my classes, months later. Under this class it simply said: “No textbook required, but students must have 30 euro to purchase a tin whistle and hand drum.” All I could think was, what have I gotten myself into!

Fast forward a handful of weeks and I’m stretching dried goat skin over a wooden frame I hand-painted to build my very own bodhrán, a traditional Irish hand drum. This class, like all my courses here in Dublin, has completely blown me away with how interesting and hands-on it is. I’m not just listening to music: I’m singing it, I’m playing it on a huge variety of instruments, I’m taking field trips to watch it be performed, I’m analyzing its lyrics both in English and in Irish- it truly lives up to the course title, cultural immersion through music.

Cultural Immersion Through Music

Champlain Abroad Dublin students crafting their own Bodhrán, a traditional Irish hand drum in the Cultural Immersion through Music class

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Urban Expression – Innovative Cultural Immersion

Imagine walking into your first day of class, in a new country and your professor tells you that in just 14 quick weeks you’ll be putting on an event in Dublin. That’s exactly what happened to me and my fellow classmates. Fast forward to the end of November and we can now reflect on that same task and proudly say, “we did it!”

This semester, Champlain Abroad Dublin‘s Creative Dublin class was given the daunting- yet delightful- challenge of putting together an arts event from start to finish. This project was undoubtedly, one of the most in-depth and hands-on projects any of us have ever done at Champlain College thus far. During one of our first classes we split into two groups. Each group talked about what their ideal event would look like. Then, we came together as one and discussed how to combine all of our ideas into one seamless event. After that, we hit the ground running.

Urban Expression

We decided we wanted slam poetry, music and an art gallery. To effectively achieve this, we came up with the idea of Urban Expression;  a one-night event that highlighted the paths we have taken to get to where we are today. Through photography, visual art, slam poetry and music our aim was to show that each individual is on a unique journey. We made sure the event was free and filled with  both American and Irish artists and fellow Champlain students. We even managed to snag one of Dublin’s biggest graffiti artists to do a live piece. Continue reading

Exploring Ireland's History

One of the classes that I have been taking during my semester abroad with Champlain Abroad Dublin is called Early Irish History, taught by archaeologist Naill Colfer. We’ve been exploring Ireland’s past all semester and recently took a trip to the Irish National Heritage Park in Wexford. Here we actually got the chance to see reconstructions of many of the things we’ve discussed in class!

The first thing we got to see on the tour was a Mesolithic house, used when people first came to Ireland, around 8000 BC, and lived as hunters and gatherers. Later on, the people adopted the practice of farming during the Neolithic era. We got to see examples of these sorts of houses as well and a reconstruction of a tomb from the time. When I visited the Burren in the west of Ireland I got to see an actual tomb from this period too!

Neolithic tomb at the Irish National Heritage Park

Poulnabrone dolmen is a portal tomb in the Burren, County Clare, Ireland

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The Art of Time Management

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

At the Theatre

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.

Dublin Theatre Fest 2015 logo Continue reading

A Typical Tuesday With Champlain Abroad Dublin

Many people hear about the wonderful trips that study abroad students go on and the unforgettable places they see. These are semester highlights and no doubt I will have many of those by the end of my time with Champlain Abroad Dublin.

But what does the average day look like for a Champlain Abroad Dublin student? Those days when I spend more time at the Academic Center  than I do exploring Dublin or other places are just as interesting. I’d like to lead you through my typical Tuesdays!

I’ve always been a morning person, so I wake up for my day around 7! (I know, crazy right?) Recently, the sun has begun to rise later, so it’s often still dark when I wake up! But here’s an early morning view from my apartment:

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My First Month with Champlain Abroad Dublin

Hello! My name is Amanda and I’m a third year Professional Writing major at Champlain College, currently studying with Champlain Abroad Dublin.

Apartments for Champlain Abroad Dublin students

Student apartments for the Champlain Abroad Dublin group.

It’s been about a month now since I arrived at my student apartment from the Dublin International Airport and, yes, it’s also been a month since I have left the familiarity of the US for the first time. While there are some brands and chains here that I recognize from home, like Burger King, Special K, and even Starbucks and their pumpkin spice lattés, there are many new things that I have never seen before. Spar, Tesco, and Lidl have become frequent stops for grocery shopping and the green crosses of pharmacies can be seen on most main streets. Café Sol is perfect for a quick bite for lunch and Penney’s is the best place for affordable clothes.

But, of course, I have learned more in the past month than where to do my shopping for the semester.

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It Takes One to start a movement…or four dedicated young women.

If you would have asked me three weeks ago to start a campaign to empower women, I probably would have looked at you like you were crazy and said “I mean I’ll make a twitter page, but I doubt anything will happen.” Three week later, I found out just how wrong I was. For my Social & Not-for-profit Marketing class (MKT 340) , we were told by our teacher Lucy Masterson to get into a group, pick a topic, and “do something with it” When my group got our topic, which was “empowering women to have the confidence in the work place,” we all just sort of looked at each other. How in the world were we supposed to do that?! Here we were, four college girls, sitting in a class room in Champlain College’s Academic Centre in Dublin. Not a clue how we were supposed to instill confidence in women in the work place.

Liza Fowler, Rachel Hatem, Karisa Desjardins and Page Hallock - Champlain College students and founders of the Women's Empowerment Movement It Takes One.

Liza Fowler, Rachel Hatem, Karisa Desjardins and Page Hallock – Champlain College students and founders of the Women’s Empowerment Movement It Takes One. Photo Credit: Lilly Johnsson

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