In her final post, Casey shares key pieces of advice that will help you through your study abroad journey in Dublin. Whatever you do, make sure you have all you need to prepare for the time of your year (and life) in this global city! Take it from a student who has spent a semester abroad in Dublin: plan ahead, enjoy the moments, and become a local in your city.
1. Explore and Get Lost
Spending time with my roommates.
It’s important to wander and be a “flaneur” as my professor Darren Kelly taught us. It helps you understand the city in a way you wouldn’t normally. Getting lost is part of the process. You have to find your way home or to wherever you’re going without a GPS sometimes. Whenever my phone ran out of data, I had no choice but to figure it out for myself, but it helped me find hidden treasures in the city.
2. Take Advantage of Public Transportation
Without a car, you either walk or take a bus. Walking around the city for hours is fun, until it’s winter season and you feel like you might freeze when you walk outside. You learn to appreciate the public transportation—it takes you everywhere. CAPA supplied us with the Leap cards, thankfully, so we had easy access always. Plus, if we wanted to go somewhere the bus didn’t take us, there was always the Luas (tram service) or Dart (transit system) that we could top-up our Leap cards to take them.
3. Budget at the Beginning of the Semester and Again Halfway Through
One thing I wish I kept an eye on was the budget I had originally made for myself at the beginning of the semester. You quickly lose track of how much you actually spend. Having a budget for groceries, clothes, night outs, and travel will help you see how much you should or should not be spending. I updated my budget during our assignment week (halfway through the semester) so I could see where I was at. I highly recommend it, so you’re not constantly having to check your bank account and can actually enjoy the things you’re doing.
4. Eat, Eat, Eat (Without Remorse)
Try every food you possibly can. Dublin has a large variety of food you can eat. From American food—if you’re homesick—to Indian or Asian food if you want a lot of flavors. There’s something for everyone, even vegetarians and vegans. Living with a vegan actually opened me up to a lot of new foods. I became a lot more adventurous and healthy at the same time.
5. Go to Events in the City
With all of the students from CAPA Dublin this fall semester!
Griffith College Student Union will post events going on every couple weeks about events on their Facebook page. From there you will see similar events going on if you want to try something new. I recommend it because it gets you out of that bubble you make as a student and become a civilian in the city. I went to events like poetry readings, trivia nights, and even a comedy show that was only funny because it wasn’t actually that funny. It’s important to go and just try it out, though.
6. Remember to Talk to Your Family and Post Pictures
We all have social media now, so there’s no excuse not to post pictures and update your loved ones. I forgot to update my Facebook the first month, and my friends wondered if I had even left yet. These are the people who care most about you, so don’t forget about them while you’re off having your adventures.
7. Travel Outside of the City, to Other Countries, or to Other Cities within Ireland
Flying and traveling is part of studying abroad.
As Mamma Mia said, “Life is short, and the world is wide”. Traveling is a huge part of studying abroad, and your program leaders want you to experience as much as you can. I went to Greece, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. Definitely do your bigger trips at the beginning before assignments start coming up. You’ll get too stressed and won’t fully enjoy your travels then. Ireland is larger than people think, and even the smallest of cities within it can be fun to visit. Do these trips on the weekends or days you don’t have classes, that way you can get to more places.
8. Ask Questions All the Time
Some of us have a harder time asking for help than others, but this is the time to ask any and all questions. Your professors can help with school work, your program staff can help with literally anything because they’re amazing, the locals will help you find where you are going, and your internship supervisors will help you understand their company and what they expect from you. These people don’t bite, I promise. They’re there to help you.
9. Learn the History of Where You Live
Griffith College in Dublin.
When living in a place filled with history, it’s a good idea to understand it. For me, I found out that Griffith College was a prison at one point and that we were living in what was called the Portobello. I learned about the history of street names and what the colors of houses meant. I learned that Dublin as a whole is being gentrified slowly each year.
10. Put the Phone Down and Appreciate the View in Front of You
The pictures are important, but you can’t capture the feeling you get when sitting with friends at your favorite café. You’ve been given an amazing opportunity that not everyone gets. When you come home and they ask how it was, you don’t want to have to rely on just the pictures you took to explain how great it was. The mental image is important as well. That’s one of the best things I learned.
Casey Rhode is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2018, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. An Interdisciplinary Studies major at Arizona State University, she is studying abroad in Dublin this semester.
See more of Casey's journey in Dublin.