Is This Real Life?

We’re already on our second week of classes. It still hasn’t hit me yet that I live in Dublin. Sometimes I wake up, look out the window, and think, “Is this real life? Am I seriously in Ireland right now?” Being here is something I never thought I would do and now that it’s happening, it feels like a dream. I’m not complaining though. Being here is absolutely incredible, whether it feels real or not.
I’m amazed by how friendly everyone is and also by all the opportunities presented to me in just two weeks. The Irish are so willing to open up and talk about pretty much anything, even if it’s for only five minutes. As long as you’re willing to come out of your comfort zone and small talk with the people around you, you will be interacting with people who have some pretty fascinating stories. So far I’ve met a River Dancer who performed on Broadway, a UFC fighter who offered me boxing lessons, the CEO of JAM Media, and so many other interesting people. Had I seemed too busy to talk, like I usually do, I never would have gotten the full cultural effect of being abroad.
Aside from meeting tons of new people, I think what I love the most about being in Dublin (so far) is the way our classes are set up. It’s only been two weeks and already one of my classes has been outside of the classroom. I heard from other people that have been here that the professors love to have class somewhere other than the classroom, but I wasn’t expecting it to happen so soon. In my Cultural Immersion Through Music class this week we went to a local samba workshop. Samba is a form of Brazilian music and can be very powerful and exciting. I’ve had a little bit of experience playing samba from back in high school, but this was beyond anything I’ve ever done before. We played all sorts of percussion instruments and in about 20 minutes we had a solid groove going. The best part was that none of us had any real knowledge of playing samba, but were able to pick it up in a matter of minutes.
The man who ran the workshop said the group has open rehearsals on Wednesdays, so I decided to go check it out. I met a bunch of people who were so welcoming and helped me learn the music literally as we were playing it. I had no idea what I was doing, but eventually I got the hang of it. I was able to play the bells, some sort of bass drum, and the snare drum. One of the players told me that if I come to rehearsals for four weeks straight I can become a member. That means I can play gigs with them, make decisions within the group, and maybe even travel around! I’ve only gone once so far, but I am ready to go back. Playing the drums has been a part of my life for a long time so to be able to participate in something like samba drumming with a huge group of people is going to be an amazing experience – especially in Dublin. This just goes to show that Dublin has a lot to offer and that great opportunities are awaiting us all as long as we seek them. I can’t wait to see what else gets thrown my way!
Cat Stamm
Champlain College Dublin Student Blogger
Champlain College Class of 2013
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