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A Universal Love of Coffee

Nov 14, 2016 1:30:00 PM / by Julie Ritz

CAPA Study Abroad Alumna Interview: Angela Vines

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Meet Angela Vines, a business administration major at Hood College who studied abroad in Dublin, Ireland in spring of 2016. In her post below, Angela talks about how her Irish heritage connected her with Dublin, how her love of coffee led her to feel right at home in her new city, and how the classes she took allowed her to see Dublin in many different ways.

CAPA WORLD: Tell us a bit about yourself.
ANGELA VINES: My name is Angela Vines. I studied abroad in Dublin, Ireland, with CAPA at Griffith College. My home school is Hood College in Frederick, MD. I am a business administration major with a concentration in marketing and a minor in public relations. After studying abroad in the spring of my junior year, I returned to Hood College to finish my senior year and start my final internships.

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CW: Why did you choose to study abroad with CAPA and why Dublin specifically? What was interesting about your program?
AV:
I chose to study abroad with CAPA because they have a great relationship with my school and they were one of the most accommodating, helpful, and inclusive study abroad programs. I also had friends who had studied abroad with CAPA before and had really enjoyed their experience. I choose Dublin specifically because I have Irish heritage and wanted the opportunity to learn about my family history. I also wanted to go to a country whose main language is English since I don’t do too well with learning foreign languages. My program was unique in the sense that it gave me the opportunity to bond with other American students in the same position as me, but also put us straight into an environment that gave us the chance to meet both Irish and other international students.

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CW: Talk about academics abroad: Which classes did you take in Dublin? Which was your favorite and why? How were you able to connect your experience of the city itself and your academics?
AV: I took a variety of classes while in Dublin. Two were business classes for my major: "Consumer Behavior" and "International Business". Then I took "Photography", which is a favorite hobby of mine. And lastly, I took the CAPA class, "Exploring the Global City: Dublin". The CAPA Dublin class was probably my favorite of the classes I took. It gave me a chance to really experience the city and its history in a way that I wouldn’t have gotten the opportunity to do as a regular tourist. The assignments in my photography class gave me the opportunity to explore the city and document my favorite parts in a beautiful way and my international business class gave me the Irish take on the business concepts that I’m so used to analyzing from an American perspective.

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CW: While you were in Ireland, you were able to explore your family heritage. Tell us about this experience and why it was important to you. What did you learn from it?
AV: I was able to explore my family heritage quite a bit. I got to meet a lot of Irish students who were able to tell me about the county that my family most likely lived in and I was able to find a painting of my family crest. I actually bought it and brought it home for my grandparents as a gift. It was interesting to learn about such a big part of my life that I’d only ever skimmed the surface of before.

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CW: How important is coffee in your life? Where are the best cafes you've discovered in Dublin? What did you love about them?
AV: I pretty much need at least one coffee a day to survive. At home I live in Starbucks, so when I got to Ireland I was determined to find a nice little coffee shop that I could make my home for the rest of my study abroad experience. I ended up trying a bunch of different places but two stand outs were Noshington, which was right across the street from Griffith campus, and Caffè Nero, which was a perfect place to sit around and do homework. Plus, Caffè Nero has some of the best blueberry muffins I have ever tasted. However, my all-time favorite had to be a café that opened up right before I left. It was called Tram Café and it was a café inside of an old train car. It was right next to The Church restaurant so it fit in perfectly. Their coffee was amazing, the experience was interesting, and the photo-op was a must have.

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CW: Beyond Dublin, which other parts of Ireland were you able to explore? What sets your style of travel apart and what tips and advice would you offer future students who prefer to travel this way?
AV: I got to explore various parts of Ireland: Galway, Howth, Kilkenny, Wicklow, Belfast, Blarney, the Cliffs of Moher, and the Giants Causeway. I actually prefer to travel alone, which might seem strange to some people or even dangerous, but I like it. When traveling alone, you have so much more freedom to do and see the things that you want and to operate on your own time. I also feel like you experience a place differently when you’re by yourself. It’s not for everyone, but I would tell other students to not be afraid, just go. Yes, traveling with friends is amazing and you should do that too, but also make time to see things on your own. Never miss out on an amazing opportunity because you’re the only one who wants to do it. Be smart, just like when you travel anywhere else; honestly, it’s an amazing time!

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CW: A little birdie told us that love is in the air and that you might have a certain story to share! We're all ears...
AV: Yes, yes. So when I left home to study abroad, my boyfriend at the time was in basic training for the Army. I found out once I got to Griffith that assignment week (spring break for Irish students) fell exactly on his basic graduation. I had been upset that I wasn’t going to be able to make it, but when my parents found out I could go without missing classes they agreed to help me pay for a ticket to fly from Dublin to Atlanta, where the ceremony would be held.

So that’s exactly what I did. It’s a two-day event and on the first day they get their infantry cords. After the ceremony he and his platoon grouped together for a nice picture when they asked me to come and take it for them. Although I was a little confused, I agreed since it was their big day. Once I got in front of them all, Kemper (my boyfriend) pulled out the ring and they all yelled "get down with it!", (which is what you yell in the Army when someone drops their rifle and must get down on the ground and do pushups), as he dropped to one knee. It was very cute. I cried, his mom hugged me, his platoon members and his brother high-fived him, and everyone at the ceremony clapped.

I returned to Dublin two days later while my fiancé headed off to his station in Tacoma, WA. It was wonderful and sad at the same time, but amazing to have two of the most exciting adventures (studying abroad and an engagement happen at the same time.) Everyone at CAPA was so happy for me, students and staff, and I promised to send wedding photos once they’re taken.

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CW: Where were the places you carved out as "Your Dublin" - the places you found outside of the tourist sites, the places that were most meaningful for you? What was special about them?
AV: Griffith College runs right along the Grand Canal, so on nice days it was an incredible place to sit, read a book, and people watch. Dublin 8, where Griffith is located, is a little less touristy, so I wasn’t worried much about crowds. The water is my home so I’m never more comfortable than when I can be near it. Plus people tend to walk their dogs there and I missed my dog very much so occasionally, with permission, I’d get to pet one or two. Like I mentioned before, coffee is my thing, so Caffè Nero really became my spot. The staff there knew me well and were always friendly when I came in. Because it was not as recognizable to tourists, like a Starbucks would be, it was definitely more of a European experience when I went in there. I think traveling for long periods of time is all about finding places where you feel comfortable and at ease and that’s what these two places did for me.

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CW: Where do you see yourself taking your career over the next few years? Did your experience abroad in any way shape your career goals and aspirations?
AV: As a senior, I am just about to start my career. I’ve gotten very interested in perusing social media and online marketing lately. My experience abroad helped me see that I really do want to be in business for the rest of my career. It is such a diverse and booming market place, with jobs in every facet of operation. Particularly, it helped me realize that I would eventually like to be in the international business market, maybe even in Dublin because of all the multi-national corporations that have offices and headquarters there.

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CW: What changes have you seen in yourself since you began your study abroad program? What has your experience taught you about yourself, the world around you and some of the larger global issues?
AV: I am a very introverted person, and study abroad was another step in a long line of efforts I have been making to really step out of my comfort zone. It definitely helped me come out of my shell more and open up to not only different people and situations, but also the unique things about myself. It taught me that no matter how anxious I feel, I can do anything I want and even if I am uncomfortable at first, I will be so happy once I do something new. I met some amazing people during study abroad that really fostered my growth and meshed well with my personality. Although we live across the country from each other, we still make an effort to visit when we can. The world is an amazing place and although it might seem scary to take it all head on, especially when you’re so used to your little bubble, you will never be happier then when you look back on the things you did and the memories you made.

Thanks, Angela!

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Topics: Dublin, Ireland, Interviews