May Term in Ireland

Daniel Newberry
May Term Abroad
Dublin, Ireland

Ireland has been an amazing experience, with so many new places to visit and people to meet from across the world! Summer at University College of Dublin has been an amazing opportunity. I love learning about conducting business in international settings while meeting people from all around the world!
Since we arrived, life on UCD’s campus has been interesting. I woke up at 9:00 everyday and got ready, then I would walk to Centra, a small market, to pick up a pastry and coffee on my way to class. I would be with a group of friends from time to time, but I tended to walk by myself and explore the campus before class. I would always see people eating with their friends outside of the Centra or walking to class while looking around and admiring the campus. The business center was not far away from where we were living, and from 10:00am to 1:00pm I would be in class.
Afterwards, most of us in the program would get lunch together. The cafeteria was conveniently next door to the business center, and we would sit down and eat really, good food that we normally would not experience at any other college cafeteria.
After lunch, we normally took naps before either going out or doing homework, unless we had an early excursion into Dublin. We lived in a chain of apartments buildings called the Glenomena Student Residencies, which had three apartments per floor. I lived on the second floor (or first in Europe) and had a nice room with a bathroom, desk, and wardrobe; six of us shared a common area fitted with couches, refrigerators, and a stove. The apartments were very clean and pristine and didn’t seem very old at all. Most of UCD is still expanding at a fast rate with new halls! I personally found my room to be smaller than a Hampden-Sydney room-smaller than the Carpenter rooms-but the bathroom was definitely a plus. As time progressed, I found that I had less space to put things away, just because I bought so much! There were some books, hygiene products, and some clothes that I wish I could’ve left home; I packed a little more than I needed to, but I had everything I needed!
Whenever we went out, I noticed that many people don’t wear shorts, except for Americans. Everyone seems to wear khakis with either a t-shirt, polo, or button up. By the end of our first week, I could already tell who was American and who wasn’t just by clothing styles. However, there were other ways of telling if someone was American. As said by someone back home: “we walk around like we own the place.” I didn’t think it was true until I came to UCD. I usually wore khakis (occasionally jeans) with a button up, which is normally my style in the United States. I would say that I fit in to the point that Irish speakers would come up to me at a museum and ask me questions, as if I knew Irish! It must have been the red hair.
During the trip, I also noticed how the Irish have a different perception of time than we do. The sun sets later than in the United States, around 10:00pm, so the towns are always full of actively late into the night. People seem more active due to the increased amount of daylight throughout the day. It wasn’t terribly hard to adjust to eating dinner at 9:00pm, but it certainly felt off. Normally I eat at 5:00pm, so going an extra few hours is always weird, but well worth the wait. The food in Ireland fills you up fast because it’s so hearty and thick! My two favorite meals were Beef and Guinness stew-namely the one found on the fifth floor of the Guinness Storehouse-and seafood chowder with soda bread. Lamb was also popular at all restaurants that we went to, and I can say lamb is definitely a new favorite as well. Overall, the nightlife proved to be fun. Since people were always up late, it was always interesting to see what people were doing throughout the day: working and shopping followed by dinner at a pub or going out to a club to dance. There was always something going on.

May Term in Ireland

Daniel Newberry
May Term Abroad
Dublin, Ireland

June 7

At Dulles Airport with Trip Gilmore

Today is the day that I finally get to leave the country. I have waited for this moment my entire life: to travel somewhere abroad and be immersed in a new culture. I knew Ireland was my best choice from the very beginning, when I saw a poster full of abroad opportunities for business classes in the fall. Ireland was an amazing place from what I had heard, and I knew that going there would yield memories that would last for the rest of my life; being able to walk in the same city my ancestors walked was fascinating knowing how old the city of Dublin. From what I can see sitting in the terminal with other Hampden-Sydney brothers, I know it will be a trip to remember. I look forward to walking around the city and meeting the locals, and I cannot wait to experience trips to the countryside, where I will find myself in an endless sea of green. The first thing of course, is to conquer my fear of flying! I’m not as nervous as I thought I would be, but who knows how long that will last.

June 8:

Beautiful Irish Countryside, taken right before landing.

Turns out, flying is not that bad. I stayed up on the plane for the entire ride. I couldn’t sleep because I was so fascinated by the passing lights as we flew up the east coast. The night consisted of small bits of closing my eyes then watching movies, and every so often looking out at the sunrise closing in as we moved across the Atlantic. By 8:30am we had landed in Dublin Airport. Through a tedious hour and a half wait, we managed to get through customs and grab our bags. We met with our bus driver and proceeded to head into the city. It was only on the bus ride to University College of Dublin that I realized I was truly in a foreign land: every aspect of my environment, from reversed lanes to the people and buildings, were not recognizable! I truly felt in a different world.

UCD Campus

We eventually arrived at our apartment, and I couldn’t be happier to see my room. I share my apartment with five others and have a beautiful commons room. That same day we attended orientation with Dr. Isaacs and met our tour guide, a student named Liam, who showed us around campus. The campus was stunning, and I felt amazed going into the many halls that made up the University College of Dublin. He told us where to go for local attractions, including the Irish Emigration Museum and the beautiful views from Howth, and told us about the local customs and culture.

Temple Area at 10pm!

Later that night, me and three others went into the town for dinner and to see the night life. It was spectacular! So many people were on the streets having a pint or listening to local musicians play The Beatles’ “Hey Jude” as we passed the Temple Bar. We ate Irish stew at a restaurant called Quay’s; I have never had such a great stew in my life! We continued on and went exploring across the city late into the night (did I mention the sun is still up at 10:00pm?).
I though the first day would be intimidating, but I have never felt more in love with such a city.

June 9th:

Today was a free day to do whatever we wanted. That night we went out with friends we made who attend the University of Kansas. One thing I love about our trip is that the people are always friendly, and I can say I have met many Irish and Americans who I now call my friends. It’s funny how being so far from home can bring people together!

June 10:

Today we took a bus to the city center for a lunch and a tour of the city! We finally met with Dr. Dempster and his wife at a restaurant called the Wollen Mills, a restaurant with quite a view from the rooftop. From here we met with our tour guide next to Ha’penny bridge, a walking bridge built in 1816 over the Liffey river.

Through the tour, we learned a great amount about the history of Dublin. We visited multiple monuments and buildings throughout the trip that had significant history attached to them. One such monument was located near the Dublin Custom House and depicts the hardship of the Irish potato famine. The statues of the people were tall and incredibly thin and had faces full of sorrow. The statues felt eerily alive, as if they were staring directly at you with every last bit of strength they had. IT was quite an emotional sight to see. A portion of the tour also revealed the struggles for Irish independence from Great Britain, such as the O’Connell monument, which has bullet holes in the bronze statues from the Easter Rising of 1916.

Throughout the tour, we also witnessed the newly developed portions of the city and found out that Dublin is a significant European city. Ireland has been an attractive location for multi-national companies for the past few decades due to low corporate tax rates and a growing technology sector and financial sector. According to our tour guide, Dublin has become a new financial hub for companies throughout the world. The financial sector is located on the northern side of the Liffey river, with the Central Bank of Ireland shimmering in the sun with its golden exterior. On the opposite side of the Liffey, you walk past large buildings housing many high-profile companies, such as Facebook, Google, and Amazon. The entire area is a shimmering paradise of modern buildings and innovation culminating into the gorgeous Grand Canal.

The city is absolutely stunning. Afterwards I felt as if Dublin was, in a way, underappreciated. There is so much to do, so many nice people, and so much opportunity just lying in one place: Dublin. I was transformed by the depth of the city itself and I have never had such an urge to come back to somewhere!

Our tour ended around 6:00pm.

Later that night I was shocked to find out that two of my aunts were in town! We met at O’Donoghues pub, one of the many places that Hampden-Sydney men visit during their trip to Ireland. Prior to my aunts’ arrival, I sat in an alley way that was a part of the restaurant and listened to a man sing a shanty as a crowd watched, sipping on their beers and enjoying his song. My aunts arrived 30 minutes later, and we sat and drank a few pints before we ate a delicious Irish stew. I left around 9:00pm and went back to my apartment to work on homework for the next day.

June 11:

Today was our first day of classes. I woke up at 8:30, got dressed, went to the local Centra deli, and picked up a breakfast sandwich before arriving to class. My friends and I sat before class with Dr. Dempster to talk about our future excursions, class topics, etc. We started at 10:00am and presented our findings to the class. The class is very communal and consists of daily presentations on international business topics. Next, we have Michaux Dempster’s communication class, which focuses on cross cultural communication and presenting information. Class ends at 1:00, and most of us went to lunch and went back to do homework before a late night out.

Trip and I took the bus from UCD to Temple to eat dinner at Quay’s tavern and look at souvenir shops. We walked around for quite until we hopped on the bus…what could go wrong?

Well, unbeknown to us, we got on the wrong route. In my defense we don’t have public transportation where I live, and so the safest bet for a bus with the same number would be to hope it turned around once it got to the other side of town…that was a bad judgment. Trip and I were dropped off in Ongar, far north of Dublin, at 11:00pm with not Wi-Fi! It would have been a five hour walk to campus if it weren’t for a taxi driver passing by! His name was Cyprian, and when we described what happened, he laughed for ten minutes straight. During the ride we got to know him more: He was Romanian, loved basketball, and planned on taking his first trip to the United States by going to Hawaii. He was very personable and by the end of the night we had gotten to know each other really well. We thanked him for helping us and he went on his way, probably happy about the money he just made.

June 12:

After class we took a bus to visit Trinity College! The campus was massive and full of Victorian buildings that were centuries old. Our tour guide told us about the history of each hall, and even told us about how most of the architects weren’t payed because Trinity had a bad taste in each current building designed at the time. Trinity, unlike most American institutions, still honors its traditional scholarly practices and boasts one of the largest collections of books in the world. Speaking of libraries, The Trinity College Library and the Book of Kells were breathtaking. The inside of the library felt endless as you walked past artifacts and thousand-year-old text books. It was a rare sight to see, and it felt as if I had flashed back two hundred years ago.

The rest of the night consisted of Karaoke night, which some of us partook in. Needless to say, we were “excellent”.

June 13:

Irish stew!

After class, I went to visit the Guinness storehouse at St. James Gate. My aunts had just come back from Cork and wanted to tour Guinness, so I took the bus to the Liffey and walked through town to reach them. The Guinness Storehouse is the largest tourist site in Ireland, and I have wanted to go my entire life! I remember the excitement of when I first witnessed the four or five block of seven-story buildings, all with a golden harp painted on them. One of my aunts grabbed me and took me into the building. The storehouse that tourists see today was once the main fermentation building for Guinness, which has now moved elsewhere. I met both of my aunts at Arthur’s, the restaurant on the fifth floor of the building (named after the founder himself, Arthur Guinness.). I had a pint of freshly brewed Guinness and Guinness and beef stew, by far one of the best meals I have ever had! Later we toured the sky bar, where we saw an overview of the entire city! It is one of the highest places in Dublin and the highest pub in the city.

Next, we moved on to the first floor to start our tour. We learned the history of Guinness and how Guinness is made. What struck me the most was the impact Guinness had on Ireland and the world: Guinness maintained a large fleet of automobiles, boats, and airplanes just to transport Guinness around the world! You can still see some Guinness vehicles driving around Dublin: it is not uncommon to see a giant tanker of Guinness being hauled by a truck to the port.

After Guinness, my aunts and I visited the old Jameson distillery on Bow St. The brewery was also a massive complex, full of bars and fancy restaurants for tourists like us. My aunts and I signed up for a tour of the distillery. The tour went through the history of Jameson and showed us how much of an impact the distillery had in the local community, as well as the international outreach Jameson had in the 19th and 20th centuries. We also learned how Jameson was made through an interactive table of ingredients. After the tour, I had to depart from my family to meet the Hampden-Sydney group at the “Irish House Party”

The Irish House party isn’t a giant rave in the middle of the city. It was more of a dinner with traditional music and dance. The music was amazing, and each song the band sung had a fantastic story involved. The one I loved was about a family’s journey from Ireland to New York, and their hardships at sea as they tried to make a new life in a new world.

June 14:

After class, we went to the Archaeology museum in Dublin. We were brought into the center of the museum to start and found that were surrounded by a priceless collection of gold! Most of these relics were dated 800 B.C.E! The intricate bracelets, collars, and knots seemed too modern to be so old! It was hard to believe that the Celts had such an advanced craftmanship with gold. As we moved on, we were surrounded by Viking ships, medieval crosses, and depictions of Jesus Christ; nothing is more intense or interesting as the last exhibit I visited: The Mummy section. Within the exhibit, there were four spirals that led into a tomb: almost perfectly preserved remains of four men, trapped in an Irish bog for thousands of years! Their corpses were surprisingly intact, with their red hair, nails, and some skin still in perfect condition!

Afterwards, we left to go back to our dorms and study for most of the night.

June 15

Today we had our ten-minute presentation on my partner and I’s research proposal. We want to analyze what government policies in the 1990’s-a time when Ireland had the name “Celtic Tiger”-affected economic growth from multinational companies in technology, finance, and pharmaceuticals. My partner Marcus and I were inspired by our tour guide as he was taking us into the financial and technology districts, and we wanted to know how Ireland, a place we barely knew about, was so economically strong. We had fantastic references through discussing our topic with locals and through the intensive studies of Ireland’s transition into an economic powerhouse. Overall, we did a good job for our first proposal and we look forward to presenting our findings with our peers.

All of us wanted to experience the night life. Some of us met a new group of people from Iowa and became friends with them. One of my friends and I decided to split off from our Hampden-Sydney group and go out with them. By the end of the night we had already exchanged information.

Little did we know, we would meet up with them during our trip to Galway!

June 16:

I woke up to a knock on my door: “Come on and get ready, we need to catch the bus.” At the last minute yesterday, me and three others bought bus tickets to take us to Galway. We left at 9:30am and arrived at 11:3. We walked from the bus terminal to a local pub to eat, where we watched Ireland play Australia in rugby; Ireland won! We had delicious seafood, watched the game, and then walked 25 minutes to our hotel. We were so tired between the food and bus ride that we napped for two hours before leaving.

Afterwards, we visited downtown Galway. It was entirely pedestrian and the streets were lined with old fashioned pubs and boutiques! People were playing music and dancing in the streets as we walked by. It took us a while to decide on a place to eat until we finally decided to try McDonough’s, a well-known seafood restaurant that had some of the best fish and chips in Galway!

One of the people from yesterday messaged me and wanted to meet us to Galway. Two of us went into town and decided to go clubbing to meet up with them.

June 17:

We woke up early again to take the bus to the Cliffs of Moher! Our bus ride took us through an amazing countryside full of barren mountains, endless green fields, and castles that dotted the countryside! The bus took us two and a half hours before we arrived outside of a seaside village called Doolin. We were let off on a misty hill, where we could not see the countryside (and we could barely see where we were going!) We followed a path towards where the cliffs form, and we managed to reach a small castle. Turns out the building was an observation post was built by Napoleon! By the time we reached the observation post, we could see what lied below: the ocean howling as it smashed into the cliffs. We were standing on top of a seven-hundred-foot wall! The waves would crash and echo throughout the bay as we walked the edges of the cliffs. There were a lot of travelers on the road and talking to them always was interesting and fun. I even managed to practice my French with two girls studying at UCD during the trip. We wandered around for three to four hours before we took the bus back to Galway. We had to take the bus to Dublin, but we were disappointed to find out that we missed it!

Fortunately, another bus driver snuck us on. We drove the two hours to the city center where we came home and did our homework. The whole time riding back, I couldn’t help to think about the cliffs and the countryside being so alien. Seeing Ireland has given me a new perspective on how immense our world really is. I felt like an adventurer, and I can’t wait to see what else Ireland has for me.

Thomas Bourne (May 4)

Now that the semester is over and I have just a few weeks left in Ireland, there are going to be a few things that I will miss a lot. Probably the biggest thing I will miss will be just living here. Yes, it is semi-expensive to live here, but being surrounded with all the history and also the beautiful scenery negates the cost of living. Now if I were studying in Copenhagen, it would be the other way around, Copenhagen is very expensive, and just not nearly as beautiful as Ireland But looking back at Ireland, I have developed a greater love for the country and have been able to do a lot of things that I could have never done in the States. Whenever I would travel around Europe, the best part of my trip was when I landed at Dublin Airport and knew I was home. Personally I have never really felt that way back in the States, and it is kind of hard to explain, Ireland just makes you fell welcomed.

Besides missing Ireland as a whole, I will also miss the food here. Now this might seem strange, but the food here is fresher and better tasting than back in the USA. When I first cooked a meal here it took me a while wondering why this meat tasted better here in Ireland than back in the States, when I have cooked this same meal in the States hundreds of times. The short answer to this whole thing is that the food is fresher here. The meats don’t have to travel far, most of it is locally raised and are not trapped in huge factory farms, but in grass pastures. The same is true for the potatoes, carrots, and apples which are either grown in Ireland or Scotland. But overall, the farmers and government actually care about the quality of the food and look to a higher standard for all of it.

Finally, the last thing I will miss about my time aboard is the opportunity to travel to different countries in Europe. Since I have been here, I was able to see various landmarks and places that I had dreamed of visiting and had seen often in photos. I haven’t been able to see everything I want yet, but I hope that I will be able to visit those places this summer when I am at Oxford. Good luck on your finals H-SC and have a great summer.

TB May 4

Thomas Bourne (April 27)

So I know that I haven’t really talked much about what the classes are like here at UCD Dublin, but I think it is the right time now. First off, the classes here are much easier than at H-SC. At H-SC we have a paper due every other week it seems and lots of reading to do, but here at UCD Dublin there is none of that. Do not get confused, there are papers that need to be written and books to be read, but not on the same level as H-SC. For most of my classes, there is one paper for the class, which is also the midterm, and then a final which makes up either sixty to eighty percent of your final grade. Having only two grades in a course can also place a lot of pressure on each graded piece; there is little room for error. I like the comfort of several different graded opportunities to engage more deeply with the material and to ensure a solid mark in the course. Let’s look at my Russian Revolution class, I have really enjoyed the class and having taken Dr. Frusetta’s Russian History class prepared me for it.  But there are only two assignments for the class, a midterm paper and a final. I know Dr. Frusetta would never have structured his class that way and seeing this different structure made me question the class.

There are two classes that I have really enjoyed while being here. My British Atlantic and Canadian Art History class have both been the classes that I look forward to every week. My CA History class is my closest style class to what I would get at H-SC with two papers and two exams (final and midterm). My teacher for this class is Canadian and he is pretty awesome, he is really helpful and willing to work with the students helping them out with the classes, all the same qualities of an H-SC professor.

My British Atlantic class on the other hand is fun, since it has the most work I have to do. Every week we do a reflection journal of what we found interesting in the class and what we think needed to be added. This class has been fun since I am learning American History, but from a different view point, and being able to help the Irish see the American view of certain things.

Overall, based on what I am used to there just seems to be not enough work. I have some days where I just sit in my room waiting for something to happen and wondering what is going on at H-SC. At H-SC I am used to lots of work and little free time, besides having a lot of free time scares me. Finally, just the vast size of UCD Dublin, in that there are a lot of international students here, makes me sometimes second guess whether I picked the right school. The only Irish people I have gotten to talk to, were on the rugby team and the only time I seem to see them is at games and practices. Overall, what I am getting at is, think carefully about the school and classes you pick for your study abroad. Some potential questions to answer ahead of time are: what type of school size/environment works best for you, what do you want to get out of a study abroad experience, and what types of classes you want?

Thomas Bourne (April 2)

Thomas Bourne, April (Dublin)

I believe spring has arrived in Ireland, but possibly not. Last week, the weather was perfect. The temperatures were comfortable, the sky was clear, and there were lots of students with ice cream playing on the various greens around campus. I really wanted to imitate them, but I had to get to class and I had way too much sugar last week. This week, however, the weather has changed for the worse—it’s cold windy, raining, and sometimes hailing. The drastic change in weather reminded me a lot of the weather back at HSC. Fortunately, the weather forecast predicts improvement. I’ve been looking in to visiting some nice Dublin beaches, so I’d love to do that when I have a day off.

 Bourne soccer

               I played my last competitive rugby game last Thursday with UCD Dublin, and I’m sad that the season is over. It was an honor and an amazing experience to play rugby in Ireland and learn more about the game from them. We lost our game Thursday by one try, after a hard fought game. We were determined the underdogs, but we didn’t let that get us down: the other team really had to fight for their result. It was a dream come true to play rugby in Ireland!

Thomas Bourne (Dublin, Feb. 22)

Hello again, Hampden-Sydney! I just got back from a long weekend trip in Slovakia and Austria. I skipped by Friday class to fly to Slovakia, where I immediately was faced with a challenge—the language difference. I wasn’t sure how to react, so I figured that the safest thing for me to do was find my hotel first. I had no idea how to navigate through the city because all of the road signs were in Slovak. I eventually found it and checked in, then spent the evening walking around the old city. The old buildings looked amazing and there were a lot of little cute shops around. I didn’t explore for very long because I had to get up early to get to Vienna.

In the morning I left for Austria, and the trip was lovely. I decided to ride the train to Vienna, and I was rewarded by views of the beautiful countryside. It looked like something straight out of a movie! When I arrived, I didn’t get as much of a culture shock as I did when I got to Slovakia, but it was still present. The biggest change between Bratislava, where I stayed in Slovakia, and Vienna was how much more advanced and modern the city was. The train station was massive in comparison.

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I finally set out to explore the city, and it was stunning. The imperial palace at the center of the city took my breath away. Unfortunately, the museums in the area were rather expensive, so I didn’t get to tour any. My stomach started rumbling, so my next objective was to find dinner. It hadn’t occurred to me that it was Valentine’s Day, so many of the restaurants I tried to get into were booked, but I eventually found an Italian place for the evening.

The next day, I spent the day hiking through the hills surrounding Vienna. On one of the peaks, I found a quaint little alpine village with an incredible view. I made my way back into the city, and that night I went to a Mozart concert in one of the royal palaces. Overall, the trip was fantastic. That being said, when I got back home to Dublin, I was glad to be somewhere familiar.

 

Thomas Bourne (Dublin, Feb. 10)

Hello, my friends! I hope all is well back on the Hill. I can’t believe that the semester is already flying by; it feels like just yesterday that I arrived in Dublin. UCD Dublin so far is great, but nothing can compare to good ‘ol HSC. Since arriving in Dublin, I have missed a couple of things. The first are my friends back at Hampden-Sydney. When Hampden-Sydney says that the friendships you make there last forever, they’re right! I wish my friends were here to experience everything. Besides missing my friends, the one other part of HSC that I miss very much is, surprisingly, The Moans. I never thought that those words would come out of my mouth, but they have! Cooking for myself has been a struggle. I know how to cook, and the food comes out great when I do, but I can’t get myself to cook very often. What The Moans does for us is amazing, and my respect for them has grown since being away from campus. Since we are on the topic of food, I really wish I brought pretzels. The only pretzels that I have found in the store have been rather expensive for how much food I actually get. I asked my dad if he would be able to send me some—he said that they should be here in six to eight days, but that’s just way too long for me.

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The Sunderland EPL game

In my last entry, I said that I was going to attend an English Premier League game soon. I went to the Sunderland game and it was amazing! Sunderland won the game by two goals and the atmosphere of the crowd after the game was unbelievable. That day, my group and I went to explore Newcastle, England. We met a nice couple who we talked with for several hours. That experience is something that I will never forget, since this was the first time that my friends and I were able to sit down and really talk to some locals. The couple introduced us to some of their friends, one of whom was a former Oxford Professor. I told the professor that I was hoping to participate in the Virginia Program at Oxford (VPO), and he looked so excited. He started listing off things so many things for me to remember about Oxford, but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to remember all of it!

Thomas Bourne (Dublin, January 16)

Hello from the Emerald Isle! I’m really thankful to Hampden-Sydney College for giving me the chance to fulfill my dream of traveling to Ireland. One might ask: why would I pick Ireland instead of somewhere like Germany, Spain, or Australia. The answer is fairly simple—history. The history engrained in Ireland is both mystifying and rich. The preservation of the Catholic Church at the fall of the Roman Empire and the multitude of bloody battles over centuries for Irish independence are two fine examples of the history of this fine country. However, history was not the only factor in my decision to study in Ireland. The vast and beautiful natural world that Ireland offers, with rolling green hills and spectacular cliffs, appeals to my love for nature and to my Environmental Studies minor.

Now that I’m in Ireland, the long wait for classes to start has begun. My biggest fear is how different these classes will be from Hampden-Sydney College. When I got to University College Dublin (UCD Dublin) on Tuesday, I walked around campus to soak in the atmosphere. The campus is huge and really spread out; I have to walk way further to get to my classes here than I did at HSC. Another big difference is the environment for classes: instead of small classrooms,  UCD Dublin uses theaters that seat nearly three hundred students. Hopefully my anxiety for these changes subsides, but we’ll have to wait and see.

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I’m trying to plan a trip to Sunderland, England to watch the Sunderland A.F.C. (Go, Black Cats!) face Burnley F.C.. Hopefully, this won’t be the only time I travel; I hope to travel to Iceland, Norway, Denmark, and Germany and see more of our incredible natural world.

An incredible experience

On September 6, many of the nearly 60 Hampden-Sydney students who had engaged in international study during the past year gathered to talk about their experiences.

Most frequently used expressions: “I would go back in a heart beat,” “It was good for me,” “I made great friends,” “It made me appreciate Hampden-Sydney.” Consensus: the food was so, so; it rains a great deal in the British Isles, much beer and wine was consumed; we learned a lot, and it was an incredible experience.

For Hampden-Sydney students who grew up in small towns, one of the greatest adjustments was to city life. During a metro strike in Paris, David Price ’02 from Collinsville, VA, who was with the Sweet Briar Program, had to walk two and half hours to class. “Really, once you get to understand how the French think and what their ideas are and what their customs are, they are very nice people, and I made numerous friends.”

For Edward Finnerty ’02 from Charleston, SC, Dublin was a challenge. Good public transportation is nonexistent, “everyday something happened, but you just had to laugh.” Despite the municipal shortcomings, Teddy, who studied psychology at Trinity College, asserts that in Dublin, “every night was a brand new experience; it was really fun. Anybody our age should definitely go there…just to witness the madness.”

Logan Wanamaker ’02 spent a year in Granada. He stayed with a host family for the first semester. “It was a little overwhelming when they picked me up and drove me into the city; I am from a small town [Durango, CO] and had never lived in a city.” Second semester, Logan lived in an apartment downtown with two young Italian women and two young Spanish women, which was “a big switch from Hampden-Sydney. First semester I got in a rut and I was hanging out with Americans and going out with Americans but once I moved in with my other roommates, my Spanish really took off.” He spent free days on the beach at la Costa del Sol and on weekends went skiing in the Sierra Nevada. “I brought my skis over and made great friends up at the ski resort, so I had buddies that I got to go skiing with. To have something that you really enjoy to share with someone from another country was really special to me.” He traveled all over Spain, to southern Portugal, Morocco, into the Sahara by camel to Marrakech, to Majorca, and through the Basque country. “Now when I look at a map of Spain I know what every town looks like and all the history behind it. It was an incredible experience.”

McKay Johnson ’02 from Atlanta, GA, studied international business at the University of Victoria in Wellington, New Zealand. He traveled all over New Zealand, which is “absolutely beautiful, very green, mountains everywhere.” The New Zealanders call hiking tramping, and McKay did plenty of tramping. The study was initiative based. There were no textbooks; it was up to you how much you learned, and people there study “real hard.” The New Zealanders are “absolutely great people, friendly, real nice.” He encountered the indigenous Moari culture that, although poorly treated in the beginning, the New Zealanders did not try to exterminate them as was done to the indigenous populations in the United States and Australia. Today, the two cultures live well together. McKay visited Australia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Burma. “It is incredible [in Burma] to see the struggle that is going on for human rights.” He spent a month in China traveling from Hong Kong to Beijing meeting local people. “It was an incredible experience. The government is screwed up, but I cannot tell you how nice the people are and how beautiful the country is.”

Bert Drummond ’02 from Hampton, VA, participated in the Antioch College Program in Germany, Poland, Hungary, and the United Kingdom. There were 11 students in the program with a 23-year old Polish leader: according to Bert, “she is beautiful with a moving personality.” The program centered on an independent research project based on interviews and experiences. “Our professor, Manfred McDowell, is a brilliant man and an atheist, which contrasted to me as a Christian, and one of my majors is religion. My independent study had to do with the theory of secularization in terms of Europe. I had to be extremely objective and use nothing but facts and data in writing. It was really challenging for me and healthy. Poland and Hungary are extraordinary places with extraordinary people. Hungary has a large Romanian population who, believe it or not, are more discriminated against than African-Americans in the United States. In the Polish villages, people are under such [economic] duress. They are in a completely different situation than we are; yet, we had so much in common when we talked to each other. I lived with a Jewish family in Budapest; Jewish life in Europe, especially Central Europe, is an whole different world.”

“We stayed in London for a month. We went from Poland where people are warm, compassionate, and friendly to London where everyone is not so warm, compassionate, and friendly. England is an extremely secular society. I think I saw the sun for maybe two consecutive hours on one day, but you get used to it after awhile. It was so fun, so fun.”

Six Hampden-Sydney students participated in the Virginia Program at Oxford and studied at St. Anne’s College. According to Kerr Ramsay of Raleigh, NC, dormitory life was less than luxurious, “the shower was the size of a toilet,” but “the library you study in was founded by James I, I think about the time of Jamestown. In the upper reading rooms you can see where Charles I had his government during the English Civil War and there is a place where you can still see the burn marks where Bloody Mary [Mary Tudor] burned Protestants at the stake.”

Andrew Walshe ’02, from Herndon, VA, spent a year at the London School of Economics. “It was more work than I thought it would be, but it was a good experience.” The school was filled with a very diverse group of people and “absolutely brilliant” people. “I was just hanging on for dear life at the beginning, but, by the end of it, I was doing OK, and everything worked out really well. We had amazing lecturers. It was tremendous. After lectures, you go to class with graduate students; every graduate assistant I had was from a different country: England, Germany, Italy, Greece, and Holland. On all, it was good experience and a good time. Living in London was tremendous.”

Andy Yarborough ’02, Gulf Shores, AL, studied for a semester at James Cook University in Cairns, Australia, a small, about 3000, university on the northeast coast. He lived in student lodge with students from all over world. “The land is unbelievable: it is nearly impossible to be bored: you can draw so much enjoyment from the land.” In his indigenous studies courses, Andy learned that the treatment of Aborigines was comparable to that of Native Americans, and race relations in Australia are still delicate. He went out into different aboriginal communities and befriended a head of a clan who took him out into the bush, interpreted aboriginal rock art, and to ancient initiation sites. “I was lucky to be able to go and to get in with the people I did. I saw places where land is still totally pristine and untouched by civilization, a far cry from anything that I have seen in the States.”