Tag Archives: Study Abroad Tips

Tales of a First Time Traveller

BY Erin Warner, ’20 // MANAGEMENT and Innovation, CHAMPLAIN COLLEGE

Hadley Roy is a third year Marketing major and Psychology minor at Champlain College. Though having never traveled overseas, she was inspired to come to Dublin because Champlain provided her with an easily accessible opportunity to live abroad long term. Coming to terms with the unknown is a huge barrier many prospective abroad students face before making the decision to commit.  In past situations, Hadley has found herself incredibly flustered when struggling to communicate with a heavy accented individual. Foreign environments tended to pull her out of her comfort zone, making the decision to commit to the Dublin Abroad program difficult.

However, the ability to lean on the Champlain abroad community for support empowered her to remain optimistic about the experience. Having peers with a range of travel backgrounds provides any first-time traveler with both the wisdom and empathy needed to feel comfortable abroad. In addition, staff members such as Tony Langan, International Student Life Manager, and Lilly Johnsson, Assistant Director, have been noted to be extremely encouraging during the transition. Tony and Lilly have answered any and all questions about the city to help Hadley make safe and smart choices while abroad.

“The tight-knit Champlain community follows you to Dublin and you realize how kind and caring your fellow students are. Everyone looks out for each other and we have become a family here.” -Hadley Roy

A piece of advice Hadley would give to another prospective first-time traveler is to accept and embrace that the unknown is scary. Once you embrace the unknown, the excitement and awe of travel is right around the corner! A great way to tackle the unknown is to bring some items of comfort from home with you. A recommendation from the first-time traveler is to bring a pillowcase that smells like your family’s detergent or a box of Annie’s Mac & Cheese. Packing something that can keep you grounded during the lows of culture shock can make it easier to transition into an environment outside your comfort zone.

“Try as much as you can, be as bold as you can, and enjoy every second of it.” – Hadley Roy

After a few weeks of being abroad in Ireland, Hadley has learned to embrace the unknown. She has mastered the Dublin bus system, visited a series of castles, and danced Irish step in a local pub. This month, with the help of some friends a weekend trip has been planned to Copenhagen, Denmark. She is even daring enough to attempt a four-country Spring Break to Budapest, Vienna, Prague, and Bratislava. While first-time travelers may find the Dublin Abroad program daunting, a close-knit community, supportive faculty, and a little bravery can allow any student to flourish.

If you want to read more about how to break out of your comfort zone, check out this blog post from Rachael Elmy, ’19.  She describes her trip to the caves of Keash as “probably the most uncomfortable (and best) day trip ever!”.


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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

Being Homesick in the New Place You Call Home

Everyone tells you that studying abroad is one of the best experiences you will ever have.  This is the time to learn about a new culture, country and about yourself. It’s one of the biggest opportunities of a lifetime! While all these things are true, there’s still something that people forget when talking about taking the leap abroad: homesickness.

Feeling homesick while abroad sucks and it also sets in a bit of guilt. How dare I feel sad or homesick when I’m so lucky to be embarking on one of the greatest journeys a college student can take?

Being homesick is inevitable and that’s something everyone should learn before coming abroad. It’s also important to know that feeling this way is completely normal.

I think I can speak for most students in our group when I say that this is our first time away from home. Sure, packing up your room  and making the trip to Champlain College in Vermont, just to have your parents send you on your way for 8 months can be pretty tough. Being away from your family when you’re not even in America is definitely a greater challenge!

During orientation back in August, we learned about the  highs and lows of a student’s journey abroad. Generally students start off in the honeymoon phase- where everything is fresh, new and exciting! About a month to two months after, that excitement slowly declines and we become homesick. (It’s safe to say that this is where most students have been at these past few weeks!) This lull happens even while home and at school; midterms are piling up, Fall break and Thanksgiving is just around the corner and going home sounds more and more tempting. After this, students are back on track towards a gradual incline- Fall break happens, homework has slowed down a bit and going home is in the near future!

It would be a travesty to sit around and wish your time away! Here’s a list of things you can do when you’re feeling homesick, whether it be at school or abroad:

Distance means nothing with friend Skype dates!

Distance means nothing with friend Skype dates!

Utilize social media and Skype

This tip needs to be done very carefully. It’s so easy to be sucked into life back home. There’s a fine line between catching up with family and friends and then catching up with them constantly, shutting yourself out from everything else your time abroad has to offer! Make time to talk to your family and friends and update them on your life because they really do want to know all that you are up to. (You are on an exciting journey after all) It’s easy to forget that life is still happening back home so it’s nice to catch up and stay in the loop. Skype is the best way to talk to people- it’s free and it’s almost as if you’re still talking face to face! Continue reading

Adaptation and Independence when Studying Abroad

By: Karisa desjardins, ’16 // business administration/global studies When I thought of studying abroad in Dublin, I didn’t expect it to be very different from our Burlington campus. I would be with Champlain students, Champlain staff, and everything would be relatively the same. I soon learned that I was completely wrong! Studying in Dublin is […]

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Independent Living Abroad

I honestly never thought I would enjoy apartment living as much as I do. Like many other students studying with Champlain Abroad Dublin this semester, I have lived in dorms up until this point. Therefore, being here in the apartment is honestly the first time that I’m really living on my own. And I have to say; I’m really enjoying it. The student apartments are located in the city center with a 25 minutes walking commute to the Academic Centre.


Living room Champlain Abroad Dublin student apartments

My roommates hanging out at the end of the day. This is a typical living room of a student apartment.

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Lessons from Oslo

A great deal of Champlain Abroad students go to Ireland because it is the so-called “gateway to Europe.” Dublin is a home-base, and now that you’ve already crossed the Atlantic, almost anywhere you’ve ever dreamed of visiting in Europe is a quick flight away. Cheap flights from airlines such as Ryanair make country-hopping affordable. One thing I believe many of us want to take away from study abroad is establishing ourselves as travel-savvy— able to breeze through the airport with a week’s worth of possessions tucked away neatly in a backpack, scoffing at the newbies frantically sorting through their luggage at security for a tube of toothpaste that exceeds the allotted volume.

View from the roof of the Oslo Opera House

View from the roof of the Oslo Opera House

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The 5 Biggest Differences Between Burlington and Dublin

My study abroad semester in Dublin has been going along swimmingly thus far. I’m having a blast, seeing tons of wonderful places all around Ireland with plans to see more of Europe super soon. I can already tell my time here is going to go by way faster than I’m currently willing to accept.

A map of Dublin

A map of Dublin

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ABC’s of Dublin


Adventure- Don’t just sit in your apartments!
One of the biggest mistakes you can make on this trip is just staying at home and sitting in your apartment. You are in a city with millions of opportunities. Even if you can’t travel much outside of Ireland, there are so many cheap and exciting things to do around you! Always make an effort to get out of your apartment and experience all that Ireland has to offer.

Champlain Abroad students in Italy

Myself and Kaitlin in Italy

Book your trips early – Don’t wait, it’ll only get more expensive!
The first thing you should do when you get here is book your trips. Get the schedule for the semester, check your syllabi, and book your trips. The earlier you book them the cheaper they will be and the more prepare you can be to travel.

Cook – Make your own meals and save millions (or at least a couple of bucks)!
Almost every night my roommates and I cook dinner together and it has worked out beautifully. We’ve saved so much money by going in on food together and sharing the responsibilities of cooking. It has definitely made a huge impact financially because you know you aren’t going to eat that 18 pack of eggs all by yourself before they go bad! Continue reading