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!

If I didn't check the Meetup App, I would have never found a free yoga class (or the one of the yummiest paninis I've ever had!)
If I didn’t check the Meetup App, I would have never found a free yoga class (or the one of the yummiest paninis I’ve ever had!)

2. It’s hard to be bored (or broke) in Dublin

Like every big city,  Dublin is always alive and kicking due to its endless events.  Lovindublin.com,  the Meetup app, Le Cool Magazine, The Lonely Planet… these tools will quickly become your best friends! Anything you could ever think of is most likely happening in Dublin and is probably free. Before coming to Dublin, I wish I knew of these guides so that I could’ve started planning what I wanted to do sooner! Free Yoga in St. Stephen’s Green? A group that bakes cookies and shares poetry?  Sign me up! With these apps and websites, along with the weekly email update from Head Resident & Activities Co-coordinator, Ciaran, you can fully immerse yourself in the culture while keeping your wallet happy. Check them often, I promise you will never be bored!

3. Appliances work differently here

I wish I knew how… interesting European appliances were before coming to Ireland.  Wall outlets have  on/off switches. Washing machines have a dryer setting that doesn’t work so stringing clothes across your apartment to dry becomes the norm. Your apartment’s oven will be more temperamental than you think, leaving you and your roommates scrambling around trying to fan smoke detectors. And you cross your fingers that no one uses the kitchen sink whilst you’re in the shower or you’ll be playing a surprise game of water temperature roulette. All the above things create for some comical times; it’s all apart of the learning experience!

I never thought that Greece would be crossed off of my travel bucket list so early! Where to next?
I never thought that Greece would be crossed off of my travel bucket list so early! Where to next?

4. “Travel is the only thing you can spend money on that makes you richer”

This quote has stuck with me this whole semester.  Talking about money tends to be a tricky subject. Past students will tell you a rough estimate of how much money to bring with you.  Whether you bring more or less, I cannot stress enough how important it is to budget wisely. The world is at your fingertips more than ever before so it is very tempting to just dive right in and book all of your trips. Before you know it, you’ve gone overboard on hostels, plane tickets and more. However,  with a little bit of planning, you can make the most of your money and still cross things off of your travel bucket list.  Money can be stressful, but I can assure you that weekend trips are undoubtedly the most rewarding part of the study abroad experience.  With each place you go, each person you meet, each thing you see- you’ll realize just how lucky you are and that the world isn’t so big after all.

I'm going to miss events happening near O'connell Street.
I’m going to miss events happening near O’Connell Street.

5. Dublin is so wonderful that you’ll never want to leave

Alright, so maybe I’m cheating on this one. Every past Champlain Abroad Dublin student has praised their semester abroad. Although I’m still here, I’m already missing Dublin.  With finals just around the corner, it’s truly a bittersweet time. Words can not begin to describe how much I’ve learned and experienced in just 4 quick months. Each day is new and exciting and before you know it time comes out of nowhere and hits you.  What do you mean it’s already time to leave!? There’s so much to do and see in Dublin, Europe and beyond- make each day during your semester abroad count.

Ireland has a popular saying, Cead Mile Failte, which is Gaelic for ‘a hundred thousand welcomes’. I’ve never seen a truer statement. Everyone I’ve encountered in Ireland has greeted me and my fellow classmates with open arms.  We’ve all learned about so many different people; their stories, the Irish culture and even all about their families. It seems wrong to leave it all now with just one goodbye.

Whether you’ve read every post from Amanda, Lindsay and I or only checked back once or twice- thank you for following us studying abroad in Ireland, you will be a part of me indefinitely.


Sarah Steward



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