To the left, to the left

Today marks one week in Dublin, Ireland. And what a week it has been. To think that only a week ago I stepped off a plane that took me from New York City to Dublin, marking the start of this wonderful and exciting adventure.

Although it’s only been a week, I’ve already started to develop a routine here in Dublin and pick up on subtle differences between here and the culture I am used to back at home. Adapting to instant coffee (instead of brewing it fresh) and cars driving on the opposite side of the road (always look to the left, to the left) has opened my eyes to the subtle attributes of my everyday life that I take for granted and don’t realize are specific to my culture. It’s through these subtle differences, however, that I look forward to growing the most from.

This past week has been a sort of orientation to Dublin. Upon our arrival, EUSA, the company that connects students with internships abroad, set us up with tools for success including a crash course of the Dublin bus system and tips for how to succeed in our internships once they begin. In contrast to a week ago, I feel much more aware of my surroundings and aware of how to navigate the city. This increased confidence didn’t come without mistakes, however. As with any new place, it takes time to develop an understanding of the layout. I sometimes forget that once upon a time, Pittsburgh was completely foreign to me and finding my way around was a challenge. It takes time and patience. In times of confusion and frustration, I’ve tried to grant myself some grace and remember that it’s an adjustment.

Dublin is overflowing with pieces of Ireland’s history as a whole. It’s been incredible to simply walk down the street and experience the authentic Irish culture seen in live music, historic cathedrals, and significant landmarks. Personal favorite spots have been St. Patrick’s Cathedral (see featured picture), Dublin Castle, and Trinity Library (so many books!!). There have also been opportunities to venture beyond the busy city and explore the country side surrounding Dublin. Saturday involved an excursion to Wicklow, Ireland, with stops at Glendalough, Roundwood, and Powerscourt. Each of these stops highlighted the true, natural beauty that lies in Ireland. I was expecting grass to be greener, but didn’t know such a bright shade of green existed (it must be from all of the rain). Daily runs have also allowed me to enjoy the beautiful scenery.

This week I’ll begin interning at a small company called Caffe Parigi, located right in the City Center of Dublin. Caffe Parigi is a catering company that serves a wide variety of organizations around Dublin. My boss, Victoria, informed me that I’ll have the opportunity to work on projects related to the technical aspects of the company, along with taking a look at other pieces of the operation. At this point, I’m anticipating that each day will look different, which is something I’m looking forward to. I enjoy environments that are dynamic because those environments encourage curiosity and continuous learning. Considering the nature of catering and the food industry as a whole, one can’t go into the day with too many expectations or concrete plans. If one aspect of the supply chain (or food chain, in this case) experiences a discrepancy, the entire operation has to adapt and pivot. I’m very excited to be able to pair two areas of interest (food and technology), and look forward to taking on the “expect the unexpected” mentality. During a phone call, Victoria also mentioned an additional startup she leads called FXCH that I’ll have the opportunity to do projects in as well. FXCH works with blockchain, which is a concept I have little knowledge of at the moment but am excited to learn about from others and through experience.

One thing I’m most looking forward to about beginning the internship is the chance to develop friendships with people who call Dublin home. I look forward to hearing about their backgrounds and who they are beyond their professional lives. Some of the tips EUSA passed along were related to company culture. I’m anticipating some pretty clear differences between how business is operated and how individuals interact with one another in that setting. While it could be an adjustment at first, I’m excited to learn from the challenge and apply that to my understanding of the implications of operations as a whole. Society and business are consistently influencing one another, something that is important to keep in mind when entering any new professional setting.

The slightly cliche saying is true- time does fly when you are having fun. Looking forward to all of the opportunities that await, the conversations that have yet to be had, and the growth that will come from all off it.