Meet Ireland through Sports, Culture & Comedy

BY Ciarán O’rourke – Head resident & activities coordinator

To say the Champlain Abroad Dublin Fall 2016 students have been busy would be a complete understatement. They are somehow balancing classes, assignments, and field-trips, with weekends trips across Europe, while engaging in a range of activities in Dublin and throughout Ireland. Already this semester they’ve experienced strange new sports, toured the rugged west coast, and enjoyed nights of karaoke, culture, and comedy, and the best part is they’re still only getting started.

Here are some of the highlights so far:

The Great Champlain Dublin Scavenger Hunt

Although it seems quite a while back now, we still have to mention the traditional scavenger hunt taking place during our student orientation every semester. The Fall 2016 group didn’t disapoint us, and dove into the city and met people with charm and excitement collecting points with their new study abroad buddies.

The Great Champlain Dublin Scavenger Hunt The Great Champlain Dublin Scavenger Hunt The Great Champlain Dublin Scavenger Hunt The Great Champlain Dublin Scavenger HuntThe Great Champlain Dublin Scavenger Hunt

Experience Gaelic Games

With two students interning with Experience Gaelic Games this semesters, Champlain Dublin’s visit was more homely than ever, in the local community, sports and culture center. Our interns demonstrated their newly learned knowledge of the native Irish sports of Gaelic Football and Hurling, alongside the local Irish player-coaches, teaching the other Champlain Dublin students the rules and skills before taking to the field and playing a match.

All-Ireland Gaelic Football Final

Students learned the games just in time for the following day’s biggest game of the year in the Irish sporting calendar, the All-Ireland Football Final. The country shuts down and the pubs swelled for the afternoon, as all eyes in the nation were fixed to a screen. Our students got behind their adopted home team cheering side by side with the local Dubliners, but as the final whistle blew at the end of overtime both teams had drawn level on points, our students were left feeling more than a little confused. Unlike anything they were accustomed to in the U.S., they learned that they had experienced a rare occurrence in Gaelic Football and the game would have to be replayed all over again in two weeks later. Thankfully their wait was rewarded on October 1st as Dublin were crowned the All-Ireland winners in the end, and by the end of the replay, they had become experts in the rules over the two game, well almost. Continue reading

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

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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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

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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