Hi everyone, my name is Allyson and I’m one of the bloggers for the Champlain College Dublin campus and I’ve been here in Dublin for 8 full days now. So far it’s been an entertaining, confusing, and thrilling experience. There is a lot of adjusting to do with all of the differences in culture, especially when it comes to money. Attention everyone: dollars and Euros are not worth the same amount. That’s something I’ve had to learn quickly because what might seem like an amazing deal in American dollars might not be in Euros. I come from an Irish family and so I know a little about the culture, but I didn’t realize how different everything here would be from the United States. Sometimes it even feels like the locals are speaking a different language because their accent is so thick.
Since I arrived two days before orientation, I had a chance to get my bearings and recover from jet lag. Orientation began on Thursday and consisted of lots of walking and exploring. We got to see the academic center which is near the lovely Saint Stephen’s Green (which I plan to make a detour through on a daily basis). Our classes are held in a beautiful old building that has multiple floors for studying, Skyping on computers in the computer lab, and hanging in the lounge (but watch out for the antique drafty windows). We met the director Stephen Robinson, Head Resident Claire Gannon, and Operations Manager Lilly Johnsson and they told us about the program and how hard they were going to work to help us adjust to the culture and explore Ireland. Their enthusiasm only made me more excited to be participating in this program.
On the second day, we went on a trip to Howth which is a cute little seaside village on the East coast of Ireland. It looks just the way I imagined Ireland to look: green grass, breathtaking views of cliffs and the water, and beautiful, old stone buildings. On our hike, we ran into some mud (literally) and when we got back we got to brag to everyone about how we trekked through the wild and muddy lands of Ireland! A group of us met a very nice Irishman who told us he has lived in Howth all of his life. He proudly told us how he walks the trail around the town every weekend. After talking with him, I learned that if you take the time to talk with the locals, they will have some truly interesting stories to tell you.
Now that orientation is over and classes are starting, things are finally starting to quiet down a little bit. While everyone else is still running around trying to see every part of Dublin as quickly as they can, I plan to rest up a little bit this week so I can explore this weekend. My feet are still getting used to walking up to 10 miles in a day. I will keep you all posted on the adventures, field trips, and science labs I get to participate in, but until then, cheers!