Greetings from across the pond! My name is Hannah Kempel, newly arrived in Dublin, Ireland. I am one of this year’s Roger M. Jones Fellows and I look forward to sharing my journey with you over the course of the year. I graduated last year with a major in Electrical Engineering and a minor in History. That minor is what pushed me to apply for a program studying history here in Europe. Well, here I am, enrolled in the History of Welfare and Medicine Masters program at University College Dublin.
I’ve always had an interest in history, especially medical history. I was lucky to have access to a variety of amazing classes on the subject and related ones at Umich, and these classes only increased my interest. I applied to several different history programs, from modern to ancient history, but this program at UCD stood out to me from the beginning. It’s an area of interest of mine but also unfortunately very topical in 2021, with the pandemic continuing to rage around us.
The pandemic has and will continue to affect the parameters of my stay here. From having to wear a mask all through a 6.5-hour flight (an experience I wouldn’t recommend to anyone) to the extra documentation I had to show at Passport Control, I’m already having different experiences than those of previous RMJ Fellows. I’m lucky to have in-person instruction this term, but who knows what will happen next?
All I know is that I’m very excited to see what this year has in store for me, to meet new people and learn new things. I move in to my apartment on Monday, a side unit on a larger property that I am renting from a local family. It’s bright, cozy, and 10 minutes from campus! Until then, there’s plenty to do, from setting up an Irish phone plan to getting acquainted with the city that I will call home this year. I can’t wait to share my experiences here with you!