Alumni Spotlight: Kiana Cacchione


Kiana recently spent her summer on the GEO "Cinema Studies" program in Dublin, Ireland.

Why did you choose this program?

I chose this program because I have always been fascinated by Ireland and Celtic culture. It has always been a dream of mine to live and study in Ireland. When I found out that GEO had a program which allowed me to fulfill this dream, I was ecstatic.

In addition, my friend/roommate Mary Beth also wanted to go on the program, so I knew we were going to have the best time.

What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

GEO did an amazing job organizing everything. From housing to excursions, everything was well planned out and so much fun. The only thing I had to worry about was booking my transportation to and from the program.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Go out and explore as much as you can. The program only lasts 5 weeks, so take in as much as you can. Spend every moment you can outside exploring the city and countryside because there is so much to see!

Even though I spent a majority of my time outside and running around Dublin, I still wish I was able to see more of the country. I regret not taking more weekend trips out east to Kerry or up north to Donegal. Venture off the beaten path and explore places unknown!

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

The typical week looks like this:

  • Every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were spent in the classroom. Everyone typically walked one mile (about 20-30 minutes) to class at Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology (Ireland's national film school). From there, we spent our mornings learning about Irish film history.
  • We would then have a lunch break and end our day with a film making class. We would start school at 10 am and finish around 3-4 pm. By 4:30 pm, I was always in bed for my daily nap before dinner. After we ate dinner with our host family, my roommate and I would meet up with all the other students in our program for a game of traditional Irish game of "rounders". *Rounders: A mix of kickball and baseball, but played with a hurley (hurling stick).
  • Typically on Thursdays, we would have an all day excursion. We would all meet in the city center by 10 am and spend all day adventuring in Dublin. Places we visited included:
  • Cliffs of Moher.
  • Croke Park.
  • Glasnevin Cemetary.
  • Glendalough.
  • Kilmainhaim Gaol (jail).
  • Newgrange and Knowth.
  • Many castles and ruins.
  • ...and so many other places.

In addition, we spent one weekend on the west coast of Ireland in Galway. There, we went to the Galway Film Fleadh (Film Festival) and ate the most amazing seafood. Galway was definitely a highlight of my study abroad experience in Ireland.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it and/or how did your views on the issue change?

Because I'm not a cinema major, I was worried I would be behind in everything related to film. I knew nothing about cinema before this program. Literally nothing. However, the instructors (Frank and Andre) were so understanding and patient when it came to my assignments. I felt so comfortable asking any question or going to my classmates for help.

Do you have any additional suggestions for someone participating in the program?

Here's a list of packing suggestions:

  • An umbrella: I know it may come as a shocker, but it actually does rain in Ireland! I would recommend always carrying an umbrella with you because it can rain at the most inconvenient times and it's better to be safe than sorry!!
  • A small backpack or purse: no need for a big tote bag or large backpack. All you need is something to carry around a notebook and pen for class every day.
  • Work out clothes: you will hike, it's best to just be prepared.
  • A rain jacket: it rains a lot.
  • Summer and fall clothes: before this program, I was expecting Ireland to be a place where there's gray skies and rain every day (basically Eugene, OR). However, this was NOT the case. For a week straight, the temperature was high 80s and the humidity made you feel like you were melting. Bring some shorts and tee shirts.
  • A bathing suit: like I said above, Ireland can get really hot. Most people on my program went swimming a few times a week after class in the Irish sea. Watch out for the jelly fish though!
  • Peanut butter: this is key. Surprisingly, people in Ireland do not eat peanut butter regularly! Peanut butter and apples is apparently the "weirdest combination" to most (well, at least to my host sister and brother!).

Pro Tip: if you have a DSLR camera, bring it. This is a cinema studies program after all so you will be shooting on it a lot. We also go on a ton of excursions you will want to take pictures of. However, if you do not have a DSLR camera, do not fear! The school (IADT) will provide one for you!