Who knew four weeks could feel so long and so short at the same time? Today we left Dublin and headed back to our hometown destinations, marking the end of our month long study abroad program. It was an experience like no other, allowing me to learn new things, visit amazing destinations, and meet great people. It has set me on a solid path to start my college career and makes me excited to study abroad again in my future.
Ireland is such a spectacular country. We were able to do so much in just the short span of two weeks that we spent there, allowing us to immerse ourselves within the culture and gain an understanding of how both everyday life and business in general differs from that of the United States. The high context society with which the Irish abide by invokes them to create relationships and build an understanding of each other through their networking. We were able to experience this high context firsthand through the speakers we heard from at our company visits, as well as some of the people we interacted with in the city and on our trips to various tourist destinations. The company culture as a whole in Ireland was something that continually intrigued me throughout our stay in Ireland. They all seemed to focus on collaboration and individualizing yourself within the company, contrasting the business culture of the United States. Davy and Airbnb seemed to especially embody this culture.
In addition to the various company visits, the guest lecturers we had were also very interesting. Most of their talks consisted of the ideas of entrepreneurship and innovation. And although I don’t have a particular interest in starting up my own company, it gave me great insight into the soft skills necessary to make yourself stand out in the business world. You can’t abide by the norm, you have to individualize yourself through skills such as communication and leadership.
Lastly, the part of the program that I will never forget – our tours and excursions. Throughout the two weeks in Ireland, we were able to travel all across the country, exploring not only the attractions available in Dublin, but the huge tourist destinations throughout the entire country. The tourism industry in Ireland has vastly expanded over the past few decades, and we were able to see just how important it is to the economy of Ireland. Everywhere we went, there were a variety of cultures represented from all over the world, and it’s no wonder that Ireland has become one of the most traveled countries in the world. From the Cliffs of Moher to the towns of Howth and Galway, it was amazing to see all that Ireland had to offer.
Over the past month, I have been able to learn so much and have created so many new friendships along the way. This trip has changed my perspective on the way I view culture around the world, and I am so grateful to have been able to experience this program as the inaugural group of Woodcock Fellows. Thank you to Brad and Cathy and the entire Pitt Business and CAPA organizations for making my first experience as a college student one that I will never forget.