The 'Study" Abroad Experience: CAPA Dublin Classes

Oct 24, 2019 9:15:00 AM / by Ellie LaFountain

Curious about what your classes might be like abroad? Ursinus college student Ellie shares her favorite classes at Griffith College in Dublin and the differences she has noticed between classes in the US and abroad.

Hi everyone! In today’s blog I will be discussing the classes that I am taking while abroad in Dublin.  Not only will I discuss the logistics of the classes, but I will also discuss some of the major and minor differences between classes at Ursinus and classes at Griffith.  I hope you enjoy!

CAPAStudyAbroad_Fall 2019_Dublin_Ellie LaFountain_Dublinia_ChristChurchChrist Church is one of the most beautiful buildings in Dublin, so I was ecstatic when I found out that we would be lucky enough to tour it for free!

Seeing that I am studying abroad this semester, I think it is finally time to talk to you all about the classes that I am taking this semester.  Although many might think that the school part of being abroad is the least interesting (and fun) part of my journey, I am actually very excited to share and discuss what it is like to be an international student for a semester.  I have come to learn so much from my classes already, and I am not even halfway through!

This semester I am taking 12 credits, which is less than what my usual course load of 16 credits.  Although I am taking less credits, I am still quite busy as I am completing a 6 credit internship. My credits break up as: 6 credit internship (20 hours a week), 3 credits for my International Human Resource Management class, and 3 credits for my Irish History and Culture class.  It works out that I spend about 30 hours a week in class or at my internship which definitely keeps me busy and on my toes, but I am lucky to have my Mondays free for travel and catching up!

CAPAStudyAbroad_Fall 2019_Dublin_Ellie LaFountain_TrinityLibraryTrinity Library is a much see!  There is so much history in this library, and it is one of Dublin’s most popular attractions.

Irish History in Culture

I highly recommend that any student studying abroad should take this class.  In fact, just about all of this semester's CAPA students are in my class! Not only is our professor, Tommy, extremely knowledgeable, kind and cool, but the class brings us to some amazing locations in Dublin and even across Ireland!  The class time is set up as a one hour lecture and then a two hour tour relating to the history lesson we were just taught. This method of teaching has helped keep me to really grasp the information that Tommy lectures to us due to the fact that just minutes after we learn about a place we actually get to explore it!  Some of the places we have been to and will go include; The Book of Kells, Dublinia, Belfast, National Museum of Ireland and many more! I feel so lucky to be able to learn so much about the place that I am living in for 3+ months and do not regret taking this class for a minute! The tours also give me the chance to feel knowledgeable and credible when showing my family and other friends around the city. 

CAPAStudyAbroad_Fall 2019_Dublin_Ellie LaFountain_BookofKellsWe were not allowed to photograph the actual Book of Kells, but here is a guide that can help one understand the Latin Alphabet used.

CAPAStudyAbroad_Fall 2019_Dublin_Ellie LaFountain_ButterfliesatNationalMuseumDuring our second tour of the National Museum of Ireland we saw Bog Bodies, which are mummified bodies from over 2,000 years ago! However, those photos were a bit too graphic for the blog…

CAPAStudyAbroad_Fall 2019_Dublin_Ellie LaFountain_IrishRepublicI am still in awe of how much history I have already learned about Ireland in the past 4 weeks.  I cannot wait to learn about and see even more amazing artifacts and documents.

International Human Resource Management (IHRM)

The second class that I am taking, IHRM, meets twice a week for a lecture and once a week for a tutorial.  A tutorial is basically like a lab or a chance to work on what we were taught in the lectures from the previous week through group exercises.   I chose to take this class due to my interest in Human Resources after completing an internship in Talent Acquisitions this summer. I have already learned a lot about working with and managing people from different cultures, different theories regarding how we should manage people based on their similarities and differences and the strengths and weaknesses of multinational companies.

I have noticed a few differences in my classes at Griffith compared to my classes at Ursinus.  For starters, the assignments here are quite different! At Ursinus I may have a homework assignment for each class and multiple exams and quizzes throughout the semester, but here my only grades will be from one assignment and one exam.  Although this might sound very nice, it does add some pressure to do extremely well on these two parts of the class as there are no other factors that go into our final grade!  

One extremely interesting aspect of my classes here is the diversity of students in each class.  In my IHRM class we are able to talk a lot about our own cultural differences in the workplace, so I get to hear stories about places all over the world.  In that class alone I have classmates from; Ireland, Germany, Spain, France, Nigeria, Malaysia, Bosnia, and the U.S. Before coming abroad I would have never imagined that I would be able to work in a group alongside people from 8 different nations, not only just learning from them but also teaching them about my own culture!

CAPAStudyAbroad_Fall 2019_Dublin_Ellie LaFountain_CityHallSome fellow CAPA students and I on our first tour which included City Hall!

I feel so blessed to be able to be a part of an abroad program like CAPA that encourages us to take Griffith's courses and really immerse ourselves in a global experience.

Thanks, Ellie!

Ellie LaFountain


Ellie LaFountain is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2019, sharing her story in frequent posts on CAPA World. A Media & Communications major at Ursinus College, she is studying abroad in Dublin this semester.

Ellie's journey continues all semester so stay tuned.

Learn More about the CAPA Dublin Program

Topics: Dublin, Ireland, International Education