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Irish Exchange Student Enjoys a Taste of Texas

BROWNSVILLE, TEXASNOV. 11, 2013A native of Dublin, Ireland, Alice Chubb is an adventurous business student who is spending a semester at The University of Texas at Brownsville. As a foreign exchange student, she will be participating in the International Education Week activities taking place on the UTB campus from Monday, Nov. 11 to Thursday, Nov. 14 in the Main courtyard.
 
“Everybody here has been lovely and helpful, and my roommates are great,” said Chubb, who lives in Casa Bella student housing.
 
This is Chubb’s first time living out of her family home, an ironic situation because her parents’ business is student housing in Dublin, where they own and manage student apartment buildings in several locations throughout the city.

“Aside from my school,
Dublin Institute of Technology, there are numerous other universities and colleges in the city,” Chubb said. “All these schools can’t manage to accommodate their students on campus, so off-campus student housing is quite common.”
 
Chubb’s family is involved with students in another way – through basketball, a sport that is gaining popularity in a country where Gaelic football is the national sport. Basketball in Ireland is played by all ages in county and national leagues.
 
Basketball, aunts, uncles and cousins have brought Chubb to the United States before on several occasions, but this trip is her first time in Texas. She selected UTB from a list of schools that have reciprocal agreements with Dublin Institute of Technology.
 
Dr. Alla Paroiatnikova, Executive Director of the Office of Global Engagement at UTB, said Chubb is the first student from Dublin to participate in the exchange, but hopefully not the last; she hopes to see UTB students soon taking advantage of the program to spend a semester in Dublin.
 
While there, UTB students might be interested in studying Irish, a language that Chubb said is mandatory for all students from ages 5-18.
 
“We all speak and have schooling in English, along with the Irish; then when we are 12 or 13, we add a third language – French, German, Spanish or Italian – that we stick with until we are 18,” she said. “Another option is to attend a Gaelscoil, where it’s all Irish all the time. Over here I’ve heard our language referred to as Gaelic, but at home we simply call it Irish.”
 
Chubb now knows she was misinformed that she would need to have some command of Spanish in Brownsville – by a man in the visa office and again by the taxi driver when she arrived – and she admits to having learned only a few Spanish phrases thus far.
 
Chubb’s academics at the School of Business include classes in e-commerce strategies, new venture creation, supply chain management and business principles. She said she prefers the approach to classes at UTB as opposed to what she describes as the typical method in Ireland.
 
“There, we attend class about 20 hours during the week; there might be one essay or project, a mid-term exam, and then the final exam counting about 70 percent of your grade,” she said. “Whereas here, I spend about 10 hours in the classroom and there are a lot more assignments that add up to contribute to the final grade, making the final exam weigh a relatively small percentage. This gives you more continual assessment, so you know where you stand. Honestly, this approach makes me stay more on top of things – and still have time for socializing.”
 
Chubb said she was lucky with the roommates that she was assigned. They enjoy doing things together – going to parties, shopping and cooking Mexican food in their student apartment kitchen. Chubb said she often prepares Mexican dishes for her family at home. 
 
“I’m so lucky, they’re sweet girls, just great roommates,” Chubb said. “Really, everyone here has been tremendous, from the first day in class, when everyone gave me their numbers and said to text if I had questions on the assignments or about anything. It’s true what I heard about Texans – they’re great people.”
 
For more information on International Education Week activities, contact the Office of Global Engagement at 956-882-798 or global.engagement@utb.edu.
 
 
 

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