Samantha Gauvain - 2014 Program Participant

Visiting the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland

Enjoying the Western Ireland Coast - Cliffs of Moher.

How did you decide to study abroad?

One reason why I chose to attend Arizona State University was because of the number of study abroad programs it offers. I wanted to be a foreign correspondent for a very long time and studying abroad seemed a natural step in accomplishing my career goals. I still want to work internationally and I feel that studying abroad definitely gives me a competitive edge. To be honest though, I chose to study abroad on a whim at the last minute; there wasn't a lot of conscious thought, I just knew I wanted to travel while I was still in school.

What about CAPA’s Dublin program attracted you?

I chose CAPA Dublin because of the support offered by the staff. You aren't just thrown into a foreign land and left to fend for yourself. There are a group of CAPA staffers who make sure things run smoothly, from visas to choosing classes, they're there for you.

What was your favorite part about studying in Dublin?

I liked how walkable Dublin was; the grocery store is about 20 minutes away, as is downtown. Dublin also has a vibrant nightlife that fuses traditional Irish culture with modernity. However, the campus is in a quiet part of the city, so it's easy to focus. The airport is relatively close and public transportation is easy to maneuver.

Galway Hooker boat in Ireland

Galway Hooker.

What made your program unique?

Again, I think it was the CAPA staff and structure that made the program unique. Almost all paperwork was taken care of for me, so that I didn't have to focus on the legal aspect of studying abroad as much as other students may have. My classes were also a mixture of CAPA classes and Griffith classes, they complemented each other nicely.

How would you rate the support of CAPA’s local staff?

THEY WERE PHENOMENAL! I don't think I can say this enough. I've already talked about them in the previous responses, but I feel I enjoyed the program as much as I did because of them.

What is one thing you wish you would have done in Ireland?

I wish I could have seen more of Ireland. I spent most of my free time traveling around Europe, rather than Ireland and I feel as though I missed out. There were so many places on my "to see" list that I ignored. However, this means that I have to go back later in life!

What was a typical day like for you in Dublin?

My class schedule and homework took up most of my time during the week. However, I had no classes on Wednesdays and spent that time visiting museums and walking around Dublin. After class, I would return back to my shared flat and cook dinner before heading out for a run along the south-side canal.

On the weekends, my roommates and I would go downtown to either a pub we liked or catch a show at Whelan's. Most weekends though, I spent the time traveling across Europe. There was no set schedule, just one impromptu trip after another, which was wonderful!

Sacre Coeur in France

Climbing the Steps of Sacre Coeur after Seven Croissants.

What was your favorite thing to do on your free time?

Every Saturday there is a farmer's market in Temple Bar Square. Think fresh produce, hand-made Irish crafts, olives, and so much cheese. It was glorious. After that I would go to the open-air art market at Merrion Square and walk around Grafton Street. I also managed to incorporate Butler's coffee and chocolate into most days; honestly, I think I persuaded myself I needed groceries just so I could go to Butler's.

What was your accommodation in Dublin like?

The accommodation was okay. It was a shared flat with three other students: two CAPA and one French girl. There were two bathrooms and it was basic but clean. My only complaints are that we didn't have an oven and the shower was basically the entire bathroom. I wouldn't say I particularly liked anything about it, it was clean and a place to sleep and eat. From what I understand though, CAPA Dublin is changing the type of accommodations.

In what ways has studying abroad in Dublin left a lasting impact on you?

Positive impacts: Studying abroad changed my career goals and influenced my view of the world. Because of my experience in Dublin, I am considering teaching abroad and plan on learning a new language.

Negative: I feel slightly behind in terms of course work and it is difficult to find work during this time. Obviously, these things can be remedied.