Tag Archives: Orientation

First few steps of my Study Abroad journey

Hi! I’m Adam DeCosta, a third year computer science student. I’m one of the social media ambassadors for Champlain Abroad Dublin this semester. You’re going to see more updates from me throughout the semester, so make sure to keep up! Anyway, here’s a little bit about me. I am a huge nature enthusiast; I love hiking, kayaking, backpacking, camping, and photographing all of it. If an activity has anything to do with the outdoors, I probably would want to try it out. I also love being inside. I enjoy playing video games, editing photos, watching Netflix, programming, and just reading tech news. 

Making new friends in the west of Ireland

Making new friends in the west of Ireland. Photo Credit: Montserrat Guerra Solano

I was born and raised in a tiny town called Georgia, Vermont, just over twenty miles north of Burlington. There was pretty much nothing to do there, I had one neighbor and he actually lived in a different section of the house. I spent most of my life living on a dairy farm with my grandparents and my mom. I am a first generation college student and everything post high school was terrifying to me.

study abroad in ireland

Champlain College has given me so many opportunities and so many new paths to go. Before coming to Champlain I had never heard of study abroad. So if you went back in time, found high school me, and then told me I was going to spend four months in Ireland I probably wouldn’t have believed you. Now I’m here, and it is such a life-changing experience. Before I even got to Dublin I had a new adventure; it’s called flying! For those of you who haven’t flown before, don’t worry about it! It’s a ton of fun! Quick tip: if you are in the Northeast, book through Aer Lingus so you can get some fairly cheap direct flights to Dublin! It will make your life so much easier!

Bray Beach with Bray Head in the background. Photo credit: Adam DeCosta

Dublin is the first city I’ve ever lived in and it’s definitely been an adjustment for me, a Vermonter born and raised. For me, the “big city” was Burlington, and Dublin is super different, but also fairly similar. I’ve never really experienced living anywhere there wasn’t any mountains or trees in view. No matter what direction I look from the terrace above our housing in the Highlight student accommodation I see more buildings. It’s nothing bad, just pretty different. Don’t worry though! If you love nature as much as I do it’s super easy to get outside of Dublin by taking any of the trains. Bray is beautiful and right on the seaside. We were taken there during the student orientation and there is a beautiful walk up to the top of Bray Head where you can see the entirety of Bray with an incredible view of the surrounding area. I highly recommend taking the walk up!

like a local

There are also a bunch of really nice parks in Dublin. Right by Champlain’s Academic Center there is St. Stephen’s Green. It’s a pretty busy park and has a beautiful center with tons of flowers and it’s surrounded by trees. You can hang out there and eat food, or do some work, or just lie in the grass and listen to music. It can be pretty serene. I haven’t personally been to other parks, but I’ve heard that both the Iveagh Gardens and Phoenix park are beautiful. Phoenix park is huge, it’s seven square kilometers and has deer! So if you miss seeing animals that aren’t pigeons or seagulls it’s a great place to go.

Champlain students getting to know the locals of the Liberties neighborhood in Dublin. Photo credit: Will Botto

Something really cool we did during orientation was take a tour of the area we are located in. So we live in the Liberties which is the old historical section of Dublin and it’s honestly very nice. On this tour we met a lot of the local shopkeepers and grocers and it really helped me feel more at home here. Now whenever I go to them they ask me how my most recent trip was because they still recognize me. They’re very welcoming and also importantly, cheap. Unlike in Vermont / the US in whole, local grocers and food is actually cheaper than the supermarkets and groceries here are very cheap compared to home. Our orientation tour with the locals actually made the news in one of Ireland’s largest newspapers, you can read more about it here in the Irish Times. 

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My Second First Time in Ireland

BY FAITH Frith, ’18 // Professional writing, CHAMPLAIN COLLEGE

Anyone who knows me knows that this isn’t my first trip to Dublin. I came six years ago before I started my freshman year of high school. During that nineteen-day experience, I developed a love for Europe and its culture. This love burned so brightly that I was ready to come back long before I returned to the States.

Relaxing in St. Stephen's Green

Me and my friends in St. Stephen’s Green during my high school tour to Ireland.

When it came time to discuss travel abroad plans with my academic adviser in Champlain College, I began making a list of all the countries I wanted to visit but would also be comfortable living in. Now, my adviser is pretty well-known for pushing his advisees out of their comfort zone, and originally, he tried to talk me out of coming to Dublin as he believed it maybe wasn’t going to be challenging enough for me. I’d already been there so I already had some level of comfort. But I successfully argued to go.

There is something beautifully different about studying abroad in a country versus coming on a summer high school tour. My first trip to Ireland was lovely, but it wasn’t my trip. I didn’t get to decide where to go or what I was going to do. I was just along for the ride. And yeah, that was fun but this trip is sooooo much better and sooooo much more than that.

Bray Head

Champlain College students in Bray, Co. Wicklow during the student orientation for the Champlain Abroad Dublin program, Fall’17.

This is my trip. Yeah, I’m taking classes but ultimately, I get to do what I want when I want. And that kind of freedom is necessary to immerse yourself in a culture. I didn’t have that level of freedom the first go-round.

Interesting signs at Dublin Airport

I flew to Dublin by myself, got through customs by myself, and made it to the meeting place by myself. Instead of hopping on a coach bus and driving straight to a tourist hotspot, I got in a taxi and headed to my apartment.

I really love that this time around I have a place to call “home.” It’s a bit off the beaten path which is perfect for me. I love city environments, but I also like having some place quiet and chill to lay my head.

Living in Dublin for the past month has been the blissful honeymoon with adulthood that I didn’t know existed. I don’t have a food plan which means I have to fend for myself. Back in Burlington, I found myself constantly eating out and thought that I might slip into familiar spending habits here. Thankfully that’s not the case. I go grocery shopping weekly and make my own meals. It’s definitely not as bad as I thought it would be.

I get to come and go as I please (when I’m not required to be in class of course). This gives me time to sit and relax in St.Stephen’s Green. I vividly remember my first trip to the Green. I was ecstatic because it was the first place in Ireland where I could actually be in the Crayola crayon green grass. I happily skipped onto a patch of grass and collapsed in near snow angel form with patriotic Mickey. Now I spend hours at a time sitting on a park bench and writing whatever flows while I’m there.

 

On the train to Bray during student orientation

So what I’m getting at is that you shouldn’t let an old, pre-college trip stop you from spending a semester abroad in a somewhat familiar place. You’ve grown as individual, and the city that you’re returning to has changed as well. Dublin is a bustling city so full of life. I didn’t give it its due credit my first time here. I was a city girl whose mind had not yet fully opened.

Now that I’m back, I can see how it’s not that much different than Philly. It has the ridiculous inner-city traffic, the crowds of people commuting from one place to another, and a thriving sense of city pride.

And you might just have a similar revelation when you study abroad.

 

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Dublin Welcomes Champlain Abroad Students – Spring 2017

by Kathryn Gesser, secondary teacher education’18, Champlain College

Champlain Abroad students arrived in Dublin two weeks ago and the city has already infected them with its beauty and Irish charm. A few students took the time to share what they’ve learned so far on what will become their semester-long adventure as well as what they’re looking forward to most about living in Ireland. 

Peter Breitwieser’18 Major: Accounting

 

“The most important thing I’ve learned so far is what it takes to become a ‘Dubliner’. Being immersed is very important. I’m really looking forward to traveling. I want to see everything, both outside and inside the city.”

 

 

 

 

 

Brian Denzak

Brian Denzak’18 Major: Management of Creative Media

 

“I liked learning about how, if you want to meet Irish people and make Irish friends, you really have to be persistent and get out of your comfort zone. I’m also really excited to live in a big city and to be able to travel and get assimilated into a new culture.”

 

 

 

 

Natasha Sebestyen

Natasha Sebestyen’18 Major: Early Childhood Elementary Education, minor in Psychology

 

“I’ve learned it’s good to go out and go exploring. Regardless of where you go, you’ll always find something, and we talked a bit on the first day about finding your own ‘hidden gem’ of Ireland. I’m really looking forward to that, though I’m not even sure what mine’s going to be yet. I’m also looking forward to going out and becoming more comfortable with the city. As they say, Dublin is the ‘gateway to Europe’ and I’m really excited to travel around best I can.”

 

 

 

Jack Thomas

Jack Thomas’18 Major: Finance

 

“I’ve been learning a lot about how to make the most out of the time I have here in Ireland and how important time management is going to be for me. I’m looking forward most to branching out and experiencing the city. I want to do some new things I’ve never done before.”

 

 

 

 

Jackson Seifert

Jackson Seifert’ 18 Major: Marketing, minor in Finance

 

“I’ve learned so far that I really need to focus on making the most out of my time here. I’m here to be here, not to be on the internet. I want to experience the culture and get out of my comfort zone, which was something that got drilled down on during orientation. I can’t wait to travel around Europe. I also come from a really small town so this is huge to me and very exciting.”

 

 

 

 

APPLY NOW FOR YOUR INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE WITH CHAMPLAIN ABROAD!

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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

APPLY NOW TO STUDY ABROAD!
READY TO GET THAT INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE AND GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE?

VISIT: WWW.CHAMPLAIN.EDU/DUBLIN

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My First Month with Champlain Abroad Dublin

Hello! My name is Amanda and I’m a third year Professional Writing major at Champlain College, currently studying with Champlain Abroad Dublin.

Apartments for Champlain Abroad Dublin students

Student apartments for the Champlain Abroad Dublin group.

It’s been about a month now since I arrived at my student apartment from the Dublin International Airport and, yes, it’s also been a month since I have left the familiarity of the US for the first time. While there are some brands and chains here that I recognize from home, like Burger King, Special K, and even Starbucks and their pumpkin spice lattés, there are many new things that I have never seen before. Spar, Tesco, and Lidl have become frequent stops for grocery shopping and the green crosses of pharmacies can be seen on most main streets. Café Sol is perfect for a quick bite for lunch and Penney’s is the best place for affordable clothes.

But, of course, I have learned more in the past month than where to do my shopping for the semester.

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Dublin’s Endless Opportunities

I was baffled this morning to look at my school planner and realize that I’ve been here in Ireland for a week now; it all passed in a blink. Maybe it’s that Orientation Weekend keeps you so constantly busy that time speeds by, or that being jet-lagged and drooling with eyes glazed over leaves gaps […]

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The Dublin Adventure Begins

By: Julianna Pratt, ’16 // Early Childhood and Elementary Education What a whirlwind first month it has been. I can’t believe that I’ve lived in Ireland for this long already. I feel like I haven’t stop once since being here. But I can’t complain. I’ve gotten to explore the West of Ireland, traveling to places […]

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Fall 2014 semester off to a great start!

The Fall 2014 students were met at Dublin airport by Director Dr. Stephen Robinson on August 19, ready to begin their Irish adventures. Orientation was held over 3 days and covered all of the critical information on health and safety, program policies, and living in Dublin.  Afternoons during orientation were for activities designed to help […]

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