Tag Archives: Core Division

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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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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Wisdom from Stephen McMahon, Champlain Dublin Professor

I sat down this week with Stephen McMahon and a few other Champlain students in the café of Dublin’s Hugh Lane Gallery. This is how many of Stephen’s classes for Writing in the City go; we explore a site in Dublin, Stephen asks us to take a few minutes to write a response, and then he extends an invitation for coffee and a chat to any students who wish to stick around. There is so much to learn from conversations with Stephen, and as it turns out, he still finds there is much to learn from us.

Stephen McMahon - Adjunct Faculty for Champlain College Dublin  Photo Credit: Kelsey Keown

Stephen McMahon – Adjunct Faculty for Champlain College Dublin. Photo Credit: Kelsey Keown

 

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Creative Dublin: An Introduction

Creative Dublin is not your average class. Technically titled “Advanced Art History: Special Topics” the course description states the following: “This [course] is a combination of an active engagement with independent aspects of cultural landscape of Dublin including venues, outstanding artistic projects, and Creatives behind it and practical work leading to completing the Creative Dublin […]

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Butchering the Tin Whistle

My Cultural Immersion through Music class sounds like we are strangling kittens and drop kicking puppies while learning to play the Tin Whistle. It’s only the first day and we’ve already gotten jokingly snide comments from other students. Apparently, our cacophony of ‘music’ can be heard through the walls of every class room. To any […]

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My Cousin Jimmy

It’s impossible to make it through a semester in Dublin without mentioning the late great James Joyce or, as we Joyces like to call him, Jimbo. The great, world renowned Irish author. The man considered by many to be one of the most influential writers of all time. Cousin Jimmy. Well, as far as anyone […]

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“I Should Have Been in Borstal Years Ago”

2014 marks the 50th Anniversary of the death of Irish author, activist, and playwright Brendan Behan. In memory of this anniversary, Borstal Boy, based on Behan’s autobiography of the same name, is being performed at Dublin’s Gaiety Theatre for most of October. We of the Champlain Abroad Dublin Literary Experience class, were lucky enough to […]

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Creating New Connections in the Classroom

By: Julianna Pratt, ’16 // Early Childhood and Elementary Education One difference about my academic experience in Dublin is the opportunities that we get to explore and immerse within our classes. This semester definitely tops my college experience in terms of academic classes. The teachers in the Champlain Abroad Dublin program are all nothing short of […]

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Academic Life at Champlain Abroad Dublin

I’m enjoying the Academic life here at Champlain Abroad Dublin. It has been great to learn about Irish history, the economic state of the country, the government and politics that form the Republic as a nation, etc.  The teachers at the program are incredible people and are more than qualified for their positions. Classroom at the […]

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The Landscape Intertwined

There seem to be a lot of students who upon arriving to Dublin like to make their very first question, “where are all the sheep?” It doesn’t seem very much like Ireland at all, at least not the Ireland we like to picture, and so some people immediately write Dublin off as not having that […]

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