As my trip in Ireland has come to an end, I am finally able to reflect on my growth as a person and student. When I first sat at our orientation before we embarked on our Ireland trip the Pitt study abroad advisor gave us a presentation and told us we would come back to Pittsburgh as changed people. She told us our views of the world would be different and our scope of understanding would become wider. Now that our trip has ended, I am able to understand what she meant.
One of my main goals over the course of this trip was to understand Ireland and Northern Ireland’s history a lot better than before. I now understand much more than just an important decade of their history. I know how the Irish live their lives, the things they value, like to do, eat, drink etc. I now understand that the conflict between the Protestants and Catholics in the counties of Londonderry and Belfast were much more than a religious quarrel. The conflict had to do with deep rooted conflict in British acquisition of land that was originally Irish in the 11th century. Much of this conflict is still a paramount part of many peoples lives in Ireland and Northern Ireland. There are survivors of paramilitary organizations giving tours to people to enjoy whose family and friends were killed in the conflicts.
I have grown an incredible amount in being able to connect with other people. I must admit the study abroad group I was assigned to be a part of was not the easiest to get to know. There were many shy individuals with different personalities who took a while to warm up to. Being so close to this group of twelve students for three weeks has given me a better understanding about how to deal with people in uncomfortable situations, how to handle conflict in a peaceful manner and much more.
When returning to the business school at Pitt I will now be able to communicate with people I meet in a business setting a lot easier than I did before this trip. The trip has helped me understand and more easily communicate with a diversity of personalities. Communicating is one of the most crucial traits in a business setting. I have also gained a greater sense of poise. There were many situations (ex: public transport, restaurant ordering) where I disagreed with others over simple decisions and resolving these disagreements with a sense of calm was the best way to go about it. I will absolutely try to remain calm when making business decisions in the future. Lastly, I simply understand more about history in a part of the world I did not know about. There are many Irish Americans in Pittsburgh and all across the United States. Knowing about their history in a business and personal setting will no doubt help me build stronger connections.