Brendon Johnson ’16 / Champlain College News
As I finish up the final weeks of my two summer jobs on campus, the Class of 2018 is just a few short days aways from starting their journey at Champlain College. However, I will miss the excitement of orientation at the place I have come to call home this fall; I will be a junior studying abroad in Dublin, Ireland, having what i expect to be one of the best semesters of my life.
On Aug 16, I will board my overnight flight to Dublin to join 25 of my fellow students in Dublin — each one embarking on their own adventure. This is all possible through Champlain College’s International Education study abroad program. Champlain students have the opportunity to study abroad at Champlain campuses in Dublin, Ireland and Montreal, Quebec for the same cost as tuition/room and board in Burlington plus some additional living and travel expenses.
A common regret that I hear from most people who attended college is that they wish they studied abroad, I did not want to be that person. To those of you thinking of studying abroad, I have one piece of advice and that is to prepare and to start preparing early. Class of 2018, I’m talking to you. You should talk to your academic advisor as early as your first year to figure out your study abroad strategy related to your major.
One of the best parts about studying abroad is the classes. My fall schedule is amazing this semester, I am done with five classes by Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. Another difference is for Core requirements you can take any class relating to the culture of the country where you are studying. For example, those studying in Montreal can study French for Core. I am particularly excited for my Core class “Writing the City” which includes guided tours and will help us meet a variety of people in Dublin. I’m also looking forward to “Cultural Immersion through the Fine Arts” which will also feature explorations of the city and museums.
Champlain’s study abroad programs also offer opportunities for students to get real-world job experiences through internships. Many education majors will spend their semester abroad teaching in a Irish school — invaluable experience when looking for a job. Students in Montreal often find internships at top gaming companies. While I won’t have an internship in Dublin, as a communication/marketing major in the Communications and Creative Media Division, I will join my digital marketing classmates in conducting a digital marketing audit and creating a marketing plan for a local Irish businesses.
With all these great things that Champlain offers while studying abroad it is easy to get caught up in what is referred to as the “Champlain Bubble.” Senior Will Saxe, broadcasting and streaming media major, who studied abroad in Dublin last spring explains: “The best advice I can give is to get away from each other. You’re going to be seeing a lot of your roommates and your classmates, and as nice as it’ll be to get close to people, you’re going to get sick of them all too soon. Find your happy place; a park, a cafe, something like that, and go there when you need a break.”
I plan to get outside the “bubble” by traveling to Europe since it is relatively inexpensive to fly from Dublin to other cities in Europe (sometimes as low as $100-$150 round trip). On my list for fall trips — Poland and France.
Saxe offered one final piece of advice I plan to follow: “Studying abroad is a once in a lifetime opportunity. You should come to Ireland (or wherever you are going!) with a clean slate, and a sense of adventure.” That’s exactly the attitude I plan to carry with me as I board my plane in Boston ready to embark on this amazing life-changing opportunity.
To see Will Saxe’s experience in Dublin check out his video here.