Dani Saliani - 2015 Program Participant

Astoria metro station in Budapest, Romania

The town I'm from, Astoria, seen at a metro station in Budapest!

Why did you decide to study abroad?

I knew when I was applying to college that I wanted to study abroad in Ireland. It was something I was on-and-off fixated on since high school when an interest in my family's heritage sparked in me. Moreover, I found out a coworker of mine had done his entire bachelor's degree in Glasgow and I began to want to go overseas even more. After that, it was just a matter of when. I wanted to find the perfect time to go, but eventually it became clear to me that now is the best time.

Why did you choose CAPA International Education?

I chose CAPA because they had one of the simplest application processes and also because their program did not offer classes for my major. I knew I wanted to experience Dublin to its fullest extent, and taking classes for my major would just become too stressful. Instead, I took an Irish cinema class for my film minor, an Irish history class to meet a core requirement, and a creative writing elective. This way, I wouldn't be too stressed to explore this new city and I would be taking classes that taught me about my surroundings. CAPA's program was everything I could have wanted it to be.

What was your favorite part about Dublin?

My favorite part about my location in Dublin was that we were so close to the city center. In the beginning, the bus ride to Trinity College seemed daunting, but that was just because I wasn't confident enough to find it on my own yet. It was actually less than 20 minutes away by foot, as was everything I would have wanted to do in Dublin City. The accessibility could not have been beat.

The Colosseum in Rome, Italy

Because a European trip isn't complete without Rome...

What makes CAPA’s program in Dublin unique?

One of the things that makes CAPA unique is that we were attending a very small college that had a cozy campus. It was easy to find your way around campus, unlike places like University College Dublin or Trinity College that have massive student populations of over 15,000. Griffith College had under 10,000 students, many of which were commuters. It gives you a feeling that you are at home when going to a small school; you tend to see the same faces everyday of students and professors alike. It makes you appreciate where you are a little more.

How did local CAPA staff support you throughout your program?

The CAPA staff members in Dublin were always around to answer questions and help us out with anything we needed. They were incredibly friendly and supportive of us. They even offered a weekly tea session in which we could catch up and they would give us advice on things to do around Dublin. I couldn't have asked for a more supportive team abroad.

What's one thing you wish you would have done differently?

I wish I had put in more of an effort to see more places in Ireland. I always was under the impression that I had more time, but time tends to move really fast, especially when you think you have plenty of it. I remember one day when my friends were going to Cork, they thought they were definitely going to go back, so I didn't think it was a big deal missing out this time; but they never made it back and I never saw Cork. It's times like those where I wish I put in an extra effort to see and do things. It's gone before you know it.

Scupture of a bird made from a car in Prague, Czech Republic

A cool art exhibit made from a car in Prague

Describe what a normal day was like for you in Dublin.

On a normal day, I would wake up, make breakfast, get ready for class, and then make the very short walk from my dorm room to the classroom. After that, I would do something with my roommates, from going out to the pub to going to a concert to just getting dinner. On the weekends, we would all get together and attempt to do something touristy in Dublin or go somewhere else in Ireland. Sometimes it would happen, but not always.

What did you enjoy doing on your free time outside the classroom?

When the weather got warm, I loved going to the park with friends, getting some ice cream from Gino's on Grafton Street, and then maybe heading out to a pub later in the night. It was always a good time.

What type of accommodation did you have? What did you like best about it?

I lived in the dorms at Griffith College. It was a suite-style dorm room with two rooms and two people in each room. It also had a full-kitchen, dining area, and couches to simulate a living room. One of my favorite parts about the dorm was the kitchen. I was able to save a lot of money by cooking my own food. The last time I was in a dorm, we had a fridge and a microwave, nothing else; I was eating terrible frozen dinners and non-perishable foods for way too long. It was nice to finally be able to have a working stove and oven when I wanted to actually cook.

Students at Iveagh Gardens in Dublin, Ireland

Fun day out at Iveagh Gardens in Dublin

Now that you're home, how has your time abroad impacted your life?

I've been overcome with a sense of confidence, not only in talking to strangers but in myself. I feel that I can take on challenges a lot better and find myself thinking "If it doesn't scare you, it isn't worth it," within reason. I want to do things that are a little scary to me because I know the experience will help me grow as a person. I don't think I need the comfort of knowing where I am and what I'm going to do anymore, because I want to take opportunities as they come to me. It's a place I'd always wanted to reach, but never could until I went abroad.