Category Archives: Living in Dublin

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

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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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

All Things Irish Sports

By: dylan helstien, ’17 // Professional writing

Hurling ball and Hurley

Hurley stick and sliotar – part of the Irish sport of Hurling

Hurling, is one of the three famous Gaelic or Irish sports. If you asked me about it before coming to Ireland I would have no idea about Gaelic Football, Handball or Hurling. Only now I know Hurling is one of the most interesting and fun to watch sport out there. Imagine the aggression of lacrosse with the agility of rugby and speed of baseball all played out on a soccer field with the point system of football (there are two goals, one with three points and the other worth one point). Each player has their own hurley, a hockey type stick, but instead of being played on the ground like hockey, the sliotar (leather ball), is hit with the hurley towards teammates in hopes that they will catch it with their bare hands before running it up the field or passing it on. The sport is full contact and the only padding they have is the recently added helmets to protect them from the hurleys, which are handled like baseball bats. Sounds terrifying if you ask me.

Champlain Abroad Dublin was kind enough to introduce us to this sport by giving us the opportunity for first hand experience through the coaches of the Dublin company Experience Gaelic Games. We began with learning the rules of the game (there aren’t many rules) before being thrust into a game ourselves. Of course, we were only playing against each other so it wasn’t the most thrilling game as we struggled to get the ball off the ground, but nonetheless, it was exhilarating.

Champlain students experiencing Irish sports in Dublin

We were also taught how to play Gaelic football, which is basically rugby but with a soccer ball, before being able to play a game between ourselves. Having played soccer for most of my life I would have guessed I would like Gaelic football more than hurling but with recent experience playing volleyball I kept trying to set and spike the ball, go figure. Although it was a great experience I think I’ll stick to watching the sport. Something that would actually come to fruition as Champlain Dublin staff worked out a deal on tickets to a game at Croke Park.

Everyone who was interested in going to the game met up in city center before making the short trek to the stadium. The closer we got to the stadium the more exciting it all became as street vendors selling merchandise became more frequent and the roar of the crowd grew louder. Once we found our seats it was easy to jump right into the game. There was two games, the first game was hurling and the second was Gaelic football both of which were between County Dublin and County Cork. Of course, we wanted County Dublin to win as any true Dub would. The stadium was full of Dublin fans decorated in the Dublin colors of blue and navy. There was always a good laugh when a diehard fan would start yelling profanities in true Irish nature at whichever player they believed wasn’t doing their best. It was even more funny when we turned around to see the diehard fan was a young teenage boy.

Croke Park Dublin

Champlain Abroad students attending a Gaelic Football match in Croke Park, Dublin.

The first game was really fast as each half of the game is thirty-five minutes long and they don’t stop the clock for anything other than halftime, something I really appreciated. American sports stop the clock every 10 seconds, meaning one game can last up to 6 hours. Not only did the time go fast because they didn’t stop the clock but the ball is constantly moving with the players elbowing, tripping, and shoving their way to victory. How could you not watch? There’s something about watching players rip each other apart to win a game all in good fun. It’s also fascinating to see them hit the ground like a freight train only to bounce back up and run for the ball. I couldn’t help but compare them to every soccer player who gets a boo boo. The players reminded me of one of my Irish professors who told me that the Irish are resilient. Continue reading

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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5 Ways Studying Abroad Changed My Life

As I am writing this, I am approaching finals week and my last week studying abroad in Dublin with Champlain Abroad, which is, as cliché as it sounds, a bittersweet feeling. I miss my family and my boyfriend back home in the US, but at the same time, I know I will miss Dublin and the life I have come to know here when I am back home.

I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on my experiences over the past few weeks and I always seem to circle back to ways in which I am not the same person that I was when I arrived 4 months ago. Here are just 5 of the many ways studying abroad in Dublin has changed me.

Ready to study abroad in Dublin with Champlain Abroad

Amanda Girard, Professional Writing Major, ready to leave for a semester in Dublin with Champlain Abroad.

1.) Growing More Independent By Living on My Own
Before coming to Dublin, I had only lived either with my parents or in Champlain College’s campus housing in Burlington, Vermont. I had never had the experience of living with roommates in an apartment, and certainly not living in the middle of a city. To be honest, I was nervous to see if I could succeed in living on my own but now that I’m at the end of my semester, I’m realizing that it wasn’t so hard. Living in Champlain Abroad Dublin’s urban, independent student apartments was a great middle ground between living at home and living on my own in an apartment, mostly because we had a great cleaning staff who cleaned our apartment every week. I also had two great roommates, Emmalee and Michelle, who made living together totally stress-free, which always helps. Going back home, knowing that I have accomplished living on my own in another country, gives me a huge confidence boost that I can live on my own in the US when I return. Continue reading

The Pub Culture in Ireland

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.

Most pubs host traditional music sessions every night!

Pub Culture in Ireland – Most pubs host traditional music sessions every night!

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Dublin at Christmas

As crazy as it sounds, ‘tis the season!

Champlain students take on Dublin at Christmas!

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

Halloween-Dublin Style!

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, so when I realized that I would be studying abroad during October, I was excited to experience what this time of year is like in another country!

In many ways, the Irish and American Halloween seasons are very similar. Shops are filled with themed decorations throughout the month and kids go trick or treating dressed up in costumes. It’s not unusual for me to see cobwebs, skeletons, and pumpkins on my walks to the Academic Center.

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The leaves have also started to change colors and fall from the trees. Being from New England, I’m used to amazing fall scenery and places in Dublin like St. Stephen’s Green and Phoenix Park offer views that remind me of home.

Phoenix Park

Phoenix Park

The Halloween season in Dublin has its differences as well. For example, there are parades, bonfires, and fireworks around the country to celebrate. The fireworks are really interesting to me because that’s a tradition that I have never heard of in America. Since I will be around for October 31, I am really interested in going out and experiencing what a Dublin Halloween is like and immersing myself in the celebrations and traditions of another culture. Even if there are a lot of similarities, there are bound to be some differences as well! 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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