Of the 2 months I have been in Dublin, last week was the busiest week I’ve had yet. On Tuesday, four fellow students and I went to a Michael Franti and Spearhead show. We wasted no time after our night class and hopped on the bus to head over to The Academy on Middle Abbey Street. I was expecting there to be a huge line outside with many people crowding the venue, but to my surprise it was fairly empty. We got through the doors in no time at all and stood around waiting for the show to start. Before we knew it, Michael Franti appeared on stage!
For those who don’t know, Michael Franti and Spearhead is a well-known band from California and luckily for us, he was ending his European tour in Dublin. The show was incredible and he brought so much energy to the crowd. We stood right in front and even got a chance to touch him. As the show went on, we made friends with the Irish people around us who helped us get even closer to him. Toward the end of the show, two of my roommates were chosen to go on stage. Alex got to play guitar and Sarah got to sing with Michael. It was beyond amazing and we couldn’t even believe it was happening. We all agreed that it was one of the best nights we’ve had here in Dublin and it’s definitely something we will never forget.
The next day, a bunch of my classmates and I went to the National Concert Hall for our Cultural Immersion through Music class. We got a chance to see VladimirJablokov’s Classical Twist. To be honest, all I knew about him was that he plays violin and I knew what that would mean – a night of boring, classical music. My little brother has been in orchestra ever since he was a kid, so I know how unentertaining listening to an orchestra can be. I was dreading the night and really wished I didn’t have to go. I should have known, though, that our professor Caroline, would have better taste than that.
We had a meet and greet with Vladimir and he seemed like a really down to earth guy. He told us that he takes classical music and mashes it up with well-known songs like Eleanor Rigby and Free Bird. I was a little impressed by him telling us that, but I just wanted to hear it before I decided if I liked his style or not. After a few minutes the show finally started and I was immediately captivated. Cool lights were going on and I heard the theme song for James Bond mixed with Mozart. There were loud drums and bass playing and then I heard the violin. It wasn’t boring at all! The music was fast paced, exciting, and even made me want to dance. Every song afterwards had my full attention and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the evening. It was a wonderful night out and I am glad that my view on orchestral instruments and even classical music has considerably changed for the better.
On Thursday, after all classes had ended, we had a BBQ at the Academic Center. There were all sorts of great food and were accompanied by students from the LinguavivaCentre. The students there were not Irish; but Spanish, German and French. At first they didn’t really talk to us, but we knew we had to break the ice if we wanted to have a fun night. We all sat around eating our dinner and talked about anything we could think of. I learned that most of the girls there had just learned English only a few months ago, but to be honest it seemed like they knew it for years.
I was surprised by how willing they were to talk to us, even though they didn’t feel they knew the language well enough. I also found out that most of the girls I spoke with knew about four other different languages. It made me put my own education in America into perspective. Americans never feel the need to learn more than one other language, but almost everyone else in the world knows how to speak English. I felt like it was kind of unfair. I took Italian in high school and I couldn’t imagine living in Italy and being expected to have an actual conversation with anyone there. So I was very impressed by how much the students spoke to us and how they wanted to learn from us.
A few of us stayed in the Academic Center after everyone left and continued conversation with our new friends. When it started to get late, we decided to leave but we didn’t want the night with the international students to end, so we invited them back to our apartments. We all hung out in my room for the night. We played card games and got a few lessons in German, Spanish and French. We all had such a great time together that we exchanged numbers and made plans to hang out again over this weekend. The international students know about a Halloween party in the Temple Bar area, so we are excited to meet up with them again and have another great night. Even though the students we just met aren’t Irish, they certainly aren’t American. I think at this point the students here at Champlain are willing to meet anyone since so far the only interactions we’ve had with students our own age have been American. I think that our new found friends can help us learn a few things about ourselves and hopefully we can help them learn some things as well, even if it is just English. I can’t wait for our friendships to grow and to become go home with a sense of overall knowledge on more than just the Irish culture.
Champlain College Dublin Student Blogger
Champlain College Class of 2013