Tag Archives: Fall 2015

P. S. I'll Miss You

Until we meet again, Dublin, I’ll be longing to return. But the memories, shaped over one hundred and seventeen days spent in the company of you and your European neighbors, will be savored for eternity. So thank you, first, for giving me only so much time.
I’ve always been aware of making each moment count; but with only so many moments allotted for me this time around, I was busier and am more satisfied with what I’ve done. Thinking back to the first few weeks of studying with Champlain Abroad Dublin, I’m often surprised to recount a trip to Cork with new friends, a jump into the Irish Sea, dinner in a refurbished church, and a ride through Phoenix Park, feeding deer. Small moments in class, and larger weekend journeys, have been fitted into every corner of my mind and collectively have formed an experience that I never realized could be so full. There is no room for me to regret not having done something. Are there things I’d still like to see? Of course. Doesn’t that just mean I’ll have to come back for you, Dublin?

Champlain Abroad Dublin students at Ballintoy Harbour in Northern Ireland

Champlain Abroad students at Ballintoy Harbor in Northern Ireland

You gave me the chance to create new, meaningful relationships, for which I will always be grateful. I joined this program knowing that I was the only student outside of Champlain College to attend this semester. A slight panic seized me the closer that my time to leave came. To me, it felt like freshman year of college, having to find my place. But I found that I blended into the group effortlessly, everyone welcoming me with open arms. Still, friends here have said that they forget I won’t be with them at school next semester. I’ve only known my forty three peers for four months, but you could tell me that I’ve known them for five years and I would believe you more. Champlain Abroad Dublin boasts a small and intimate group, and I’m proud to call myself an honorary Champlain-er. I’ve felt torn between worlds, missing my friends at Emerson while loving my new friendships. Next semester, I’ll be torn in the opposite way… But now, I have the chance to visit Burlington. And I will have times to relay to friends in Boston, while strengthening the friendships I’ve established here. Continue reading

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

5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Studying Abroad in Dublin

Oh, how the end of a semester has inexplicably come once again! It’s hard to believe that this is my last blog post for Champlain Abroad Dublin or that I head back home in less than two weeks. It seems like just yesterday  I was asking everyone I knew what to pack or expect. No matter how many different people you ask or how much you prepare, there’s still things you’ll never know until you’re across the pond and experience them yourself.

Champlain Abroad Dublin Campus Building

Sarah Steward, Communications Major, studying abroad in Dublin with Champlain Abroad Dublin.

In the blink of an eye, I went from being an apprehensive American student to feeling like a true Dub.  Here’s a list of things I wish I knew before studying abroad in Dublin:

1. You will walk quite a way to school…and you will break a sweat

Champlain College students  know that in Burlington, Vermont  getting anywhere on campus takes 5 minutes or less. Here in the Emerald Isle, that’s not the case. In the beginning of the semester, you’ll feel like your 30-minute commute is daunting, never-ending and extremely sweaty. For some reason, every student starts to break a sweat somewhere between Kevin Street and Leeson Street Lower. While none of us can explain this phenomenon, we all agree that our commute allows us to pass so many beautiful buildings, fellow commuters, and delicious coffee shops by simply going to class. (There’s always something interesting to look at!) When you reach Champlain Abroad Dublin’s academic center, you are greeted by an authentic Georgian door. I don’t know; something about it makes me feel like I’m at home rather than at school. In fact, that’s something that isn’t shared enough- the academic center is home! 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

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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A Weekend Trip to Northern Ireland

Champlain Abroad Dublin recently took a weekend trip to Northern Ireland for some unforgettable adventures. Friday was an early start, at 8 in the morning, but though everyone was a little tired, they were also excited to hit the road and head up north!

Our first stop was in the city of Belfast for a Political Black Taxi Tour of the city. Ciarán O’Rourke’s Northern Irish History class already had a background on the Troubles in Northern Ireland and I personally knew a little bit about the history of these events, but the Taxi Tours gave us such a new perspective. It’s one thing to hear about the Troubles in class, but it’s quite another thing to actually be in Northern Ireland and experience the area. It amazes me that 15 years ago, we wouldn’t even have gotten the opportunity to take this trip at all because of the conditions in Northern Ireland.

The taxi drivers told us a lot about the area and the history surrounding the Troubles. Some of the most interesting things that they showed us were the various murals honoring those who died in the Troubles located all around Belfast on the sides of houses. Here are just some of the many examples of art:
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Cultural Immersion through Volunteerism

Dublin is a city brimming with opportunity; and upholding Champlain Abroad’s motto to explore, immerse, and engage has proven easy and rewarding. Within one month of arriving, I was making my way to class without a worry about how to get there, being asked for directions, and claiming little corners of the city as my own. There is a familiarity to this place, and the feel of locality has made itself immortal. It goes beyond the trad sessions in pubs and classroom or group excursions; it reaches into volunteerism, as well.

I haven’t volunteered steadily anywhere since high school, but Champlain Abroad makes the chance to do so more than available and the staff are wonderful in helping students find the place for them. And there are a host of places that Champlain has worked with in the past, but there is also room to research organizations in the area! From the beginning, when looking at the list of programs Champlain suggested on the post-acceptance application, I was interested in spending a couple of hours a week at Fighting Words—and it couldn’t have been a better decision on my part to sign up.
So far, I have volunteered at three Fighting Words sessions, already looking forward to the others that lie in store for me. Co-founded by Irish author Roddy Doyle and Seán Love, Fighting Words offers free creative writing tutoring and workshops to children and young adults. They often host events in the center as well as around Ireland, and have specific times set up each day for primary and secondary school students to come in and write. On Monday afternoons, high school students from literally all over the country come for two hours, and as volunteers we sit with a group and act as a set of eyes and ears that isn’t a teacher or other authority figure.

fighting words Continue reading