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A Lass in Class

Classes at CEA started two weeks ago, so now I have a pretty good feel for what the classes are like. One of the main reasons people choose the Dublin study abroad program is because of the service learning program that’s offered.  The service learning program gives students the chance to volunteer abroad and help others while they’re here. I’m not in the service learning program because I’m taking a lot of course credit while I’m here and my class load is pretty heavy. However, one of my roommates, Sloan, is in the program so I sat her down to talk to her about her classes and what the program entails.
 Sloan and I at Blarney Castle in Cork, Ireland

How are your classes at CEA structured?

Sloan: We go on lots of excursions to experience the Irish culture and to apply things we’ve read in class. The assignments are really meant to get you involved in your city. Like today I was assigned a photo essay that requires me to take pictures of how I see Dublin and write about how that represents Dublin in my eyes.

How would you describe the professors?

Sloan: The professors here are very different from American professors. It’s a lot more informal here, for example it would be normal go grab lunch with them. I call all my professors by their first name; they’re really personable and easy to talk to!

What’s your favorite class and why?

Sloan: My favorite class is service learning because I get the opportunity work with children and apply what I’ve learned in class to real life. That’s especially important to me as a Social Work major.

What do you do in your service learning placement?

Sloan: In my placement I am working with elementary school kids in an after school program. So, I’ll be helping them with their homework and having dinner with them once a week. In the service learning class, I have to read articles, chapters, and books that we can apply to our placement. What we read explains to us how to have a greater cultural competence because we’re volunteering in a different culture and we need to be aware of the differences and how to communicate properly. At the end of the class, we are going to reflect on how we changed as a person.

We’re mixed with a lot of French and German students. What do you like about it and what don’t you like about it?

Sloan: I think it's great. However, I will say that it’s difficult because even though the French and German students have studied English for years there’s still a language barrier sometimes. I think my favorite part about being in class with them is that it’s really cool seeing their perspective on American and Irish culture and seeing how similar their perspectives are to ours.

 Street art I see on my walk to school every morning

Overall, I agree with everything my classmate has to say about the academic structure at CEA in Dublin. I can’t speak for service learning program, but the classes I’ve attended have been informal but not unprofessional. Being with students from different cultures is one of the most interesting things I’ve ever experienced.  There’s a lot of reading and outside work, but it all ties in to give you a better experience and understanding of the culture. Most of my class time has been spent going on walking tours or visiting museums, and I think one of the most valuable things I’ve learned has been that life in the classroom does not have to equate to life behind a desk.

Alice Corcoran  is the Spring 2016 CEA MOJO Blogger in Dublin, Ireland. She is currently a junior at Texas A&M University.

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