GoAbroad Interview

Susanne Bach - Resident Director

Susanne Bach holds a Master's degree in Film Studies from University College Dublin. For her thesis, she researched the depiction of Native Americans in documentaries and fiction film. Susanne has taught Irish and German cinema modules at University College Dublin and at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts Dublin program. With over fourteen years of experience in academic administration and instruction at the collegiate level, Susanne brings with her a vast experience in student services, student welfare, and curricular development and implementation. She is highly networked within the Irish media, art, and business world which is a huge benefit to her students. At the heart of Susanne’s work with CAPA in Dublin is a complete commitment and enthusiasm for the students to achieve their academic goals while enjoying a rich cultural experience living in Dublin. Along with being resident director, she also teaches CAPA’s course on "Cinema in Contemporary Ireland."

Teaching in Ireland, CAPA International Education

Through your job as Resident Director in Dublin, how do you help individuals join, prepare, enjoy, or successfully complete CAPA programs?

As CAPA’s Resident Director, I am responsible for our students during their time with us. I am always there to guide and orientate our students and to lend a helping hand. We look after the welfare and needs of the students and acclimatize them to their new home. It is my goal to make students understand the culture and beauty of Ireland and help them “find their feet”, enjoying this special time of cultural and academic immersion into Ireland.

Being on-site at the Griffith College City Centre campus, where our students live and study, makes me instantly accessible to the students. I can oversee their progress helping them in all matters from academic to health care needs. We provide an on-site arrival orientation; organize trips and unique cultural events as part of the program.

What makes CAPA’s program in Ireland different from other programs in Ireland?

CAPA in Dublin prides itself on being able to guide the students on every level and ensuring their experience is both rich academically and culturally. We also provide wonderful internship opportunities ranging from work placements in business, journalism, charities, etc. Working with the amazingly helpful staff at Griffith College puts us in a unique position where the student’s needs are met. Griffith College has an open door policy which makes for a warm and friendly atmosphere on campus. The students become a part of this welcoming network of relationships.

What makes Dublin the perfect location for international education programs?

Dublin being at the western edge of Europe has not only a very interesting history but also provides for an amazing learning experience for our students. The friendliness of the Irish combined with English being spoken makes the students feel at home right away. It also offers great possibilities for weekend travel to other European destinations. 

What is a typical day like in Dublin for students in your program? 

After the initial orientation sessions, the students will be able to join trips to get to know the city of Dublin and ease into the routine of studying and being placed in internships. The students will be part of Griffith College’s Global Village. Its current student population is comprised of 79 nations. Students will mix with other Griffith College students both through their academic courses and within the residencies.

A typical day would see the students in class after which they can either take their meals in the College food hall, enjoy coffee at Starbucks, or prepare a meal in their own apartments. The Students Union offers a variety of events which include a vast array of societies introduced during “Fresher’s Week”, Halloween Parties, the Griffith Ball, etc.

We also offer excursions to the West of Ireland, Belfast, and guided events through our “My Education Calendar”. The suggested events and listings are designed to help orientate the students culturally and enjoy the city’s unique attractions. A great example would be a trip to one of Dublin’s best kept secrets “Marsh’s Library,” which is Ireland’s first public library and still maintains the same character it had when it first opened in 1701. 

How does CAPA ensure the safety of participants during their program in Dublin?

The wellbeing of the students is at the heart of CAPA’s centers worldwide. We provide the students with a CAPA 24/7 emergency number, while Griffith College Security is also present day and night on campus. The main College Gates are closed at night time and only registered students are allowed on campus.

I personally meet with the students every week to ensure everyone is doing well and in a position to fully enjoy and receive as much out of their time with us as possible. Griffith College also offers access to counseling services. Should students experience a serious health issue we will always be there to accompany the student to hospital and look after their needs. Our student resource materials also provide advice and helpful tips for keeping themselves safe.

What is the most important thing participants take home with them from participating in CAPA’s Dublin program?

I think CAPA students feel very much looked after and bring home a solid understanding of Ireland, its history, and people. A lot of our students return to Dublin after having found a welcoming home for their study abroad experience.

The students also leave with a great sense of professionalism after completing their internship placements. Having interned in carefully selected placement in another country provides our student with transferrable skills second to none.

What component of your program makes it stand out from other Irish programs?

CAPA Resident Director’s representation at Griffith College is invaluable. It helps the students focus on their study and guides them through any difficulty they might encounter. Our guided cultural events serve as a “key to the city”. Internships in a large variety of fields are also a unique selling point to CAPA in Dublin. Through our membership with the Dublin Chamber of Commerce, we have thousands of business contacts available to us.

Can we expect any new developments, excursions, or components to CAPA’s Dublin program in the near future?

CAPA in Dublin is growing at a vast rate and we keep our program offerings and cultural activities up to date combining learning with fun. We are always looking at new ways to enhance the students’ study abroad experience whether it is through new courses or cultural events.