As I began my second week abroad, the biggest and most daunting task ahead was starting my internship at Focus Ireland. Though I have had two previous internships, I had never interned anywhere but Pittsburgh, so I was incredibly nervous and anxious about working in a foreign country.
But as soon as I walked in for my first day on the job, I instantly felt a bit better about the whole process. The receptionist welcomed me in and started asking me all kinds of questions about myself. Then another woman walked out and joined the conversation like she had known me for years. This kind woman happened to be my supervisor Eilish.
Eilish showed me around the office and it immediately became apparent to me that the workplace is pretty different in Ireland than it is in America. At my company, each department works in one big room with one desk next to the other. My desk is by my supervisor’s, which makes it really easy and efficient to ask questions because I don’t have to go hunt her down every time I need help or have to ask her something. The head of my department sits right across from me and everyone chips in to do basic, quintessential “intern” tasks. For example, everyone takes turns making coffee or running to the supply room for more paper or pens. The even distribution of menial tasks puts everyone on an even playing field in the office environment, even though some people involved may have more senior positions than the others.
Overall, I appreciate and enjoy the open environment in my office and I think it makes for good business. I learned that offices like this are quite common in Ireland, and I can tell why. It makes it convenient to toss ideas around, collaborate on work projects, and ask questions. The informality of the office offers comfort, which in turn opens the employees up to offer their input on issues and tasks at hand. In America, offices tend to be more segregated based on rank in the company but without this firm hierarchy, I believe that some of the best business can be completed.