Tag Archives: Northern Ireland

Hostels aren’t as scary as your parents think

BY RACHAEL ELMY, ’19 // PROFESSIONAL WRITING, CHAMPLAIN COLLEGE

My parents weren’t exactly thrilled when they learned that I’d be staying in a hostel for Champlain Abroad’s Northern Ireland tour. The first thing that came into their minds was probably unwashed sheets, unlocked doors, and people sneaking into the room late at night to steal my stuff.

Probably from that influence, I had no idea what to expect from my first stay in a hostel. I figured since our program director Stephen was staying there with his family, it most likely was somewhat safe and decent. 

staying in a hostel

Staying in a hostel is a new experience to many study abroad students.

I imagined all 53 of us staying in one big room full of bunk beds, some peacefully snoring and others using pillows to block out the sound. However, I learned that there were separate rooms that could house 3-10 people when room assignments were sent out. That was a bit of a relief, knowing that there was some organization (and doors!). I was roomed with six other girls who luckily, ended up being very quiet sleepers. My sensitive ears were grateful.

When we arrived at the hostel, my first thought was; “This looks a bit hokey.” There was a statue of a man dressed in red pointing at the hostel, and a picture of horrified-looking sheep on the sign. I did check this place out online a few days before we left and saw that it had good reviews, so I tried to keep my hoity-toity self optimistic.

The room I shared was small, no bigger than an average triple back at Champlain, or maybe even a large double. The ceiling was slanted with one foggy window smack-dab in the middle. At the end of each bed was a set of folded sheets and blankets. To my relief, they actually seemed freshly washed. Later on, the hostel owner came in with clean pillowcases for the pillows that waited for us against the radiator. The only downside was the mattress. It felt like it wanted to be memory foam, but you could probably break your tailbone if you sat down too hard.

game of pool

Ready for a game of pool?

Downstairs was the mess hall/gaming area, where there was a pink ping-pong table and a free pool table. For a while, it was just us girls being super competitive and silly at the same time. Most of us were terrible at ping-pong especially. Every time the paddle hit the ball, you had to duck and cover, praying it wouldn’t smack you in the forehead.

ping pong match

Ping-pong matches can get serious!

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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

    A Day in Belfast

    This weekend Champlain Abroad Dublin took a 2-day trip to Northern Ireland. We left early Friday morning and arrived in Belfast, Northern Ireland in just a few hours. On our drive up, Dublin staff gave us a mini history lesson about Northern Ireland and its’ tumultuous past. We learned that The Troubles; a violent part of Northern Ireland’s history began in the 1960s because the Catholics felt the Protestants were discriminating against them because of their choice of religion. Not only that, but there were strong feelings on both sides on whether Northern Ireland should stay a part of the United Kingdom or return to being part of Ireland. On both sides there were Loyalists (those loyal to the British) and then there were Unionists (those fighting to keep Ireland whole). Soon, both sides erupted in anger and began protesting and consequently violent uprisings and attacks soon followed on both sides. Later in the 1970s, both sides began bombing the other and soon an infamous event known as “Bloody Sunday” occurred. (Which you may know from a U2 song) All of this history is packed into the city that is Belfast and not only were we able to learn about it, we actually had the chance to witness some of the areas of the city where this history took place.

    International Wall in Belfast

    The International Wall in Belfast

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    Our 'Wee' Two Day Tour of North Ireland

    From the historical building site of the Titanic to current Game of Thrones sets, with its beautiful rugged coastline and its turbulent modern history, Northern Ireland has so much to see and do. Champlain Study Abroad Dublin students were busy taking in the sights and embarrassing the culture on their two day excursion to Belfast and […]

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    Belfast Reflection

    Throughout the beginning of the course, we have looked at the conflict that has taken place in Northern Ireland, starting with the English occupation of the whole country all the way into the Troubles and beyond. While learning about the Troubles in the classroom was interesting, it wasn’t until we went to Belfast that I […]

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    Ballintoy Harbour

    A couple of weeks ago, the Champlain Abroad Dublin group went on a program sponsored tour to Northern Ireland. The group stayed in the small village of Ballintoy on the Antrim coast. This is student Lara Bessette’s (Professional Writing ’15) way of describing her time there: I thought of “Ballintoy Harbour” as I climbed around […]

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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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