Surely, everyone has praised Ireland for its beauty—the hills, the fields, and of course, the sheep. Photographs and videos are in no way comparable to the actual scenery one sees as they are standing at the top of the hills, overlooking the landscape. Dublin city itself has its own quiet, bustling atmosphere and yet as a person walking through the streets of O’Connell Avenue or crossing the River Liffey, you feel at ease. For example, major cities, such as New York City or Philadelphia, have a characteristic of rushing down the streets as if time is running out and no one is willing to give you the time of day.
Throughout the week venturing the city, there was always a marvel to see. From Saint Patrick’s Cathedral to the National Museums of Ireland, there seemed to be something to do every day. Even more intriguing is the people. The volume level is always low and not a single word would be uttered on the bus rides. Everyone speaks kindly and with a kind of formality unseen in the United States. At all the parks I went to, dogs would roam around without a leash and were incredibly well-behaved. Individuals would sit at the benches for hours either reading or just enjoying the environment of a peaceful afternoon, as well. As strange as everything was—driving on the opposite side of the road to using the metric system, I still felt as if I was simply in another area of the United States. Perhaps, it could be contributed to the fact that everyone spoke English apart from the accent; however, it was places like Glendalough and Wicklow that genuinely resonated within me and made me truly believe that yes, I was in a foreign country.
Along with my peers in the program, we all went on a tour to Glendalough and Wicklow, a rural area and park south of Dublin. We were surrounded by green fields and the sound of birds and though it was raining, it made the experience better and more natural than exploring with sunny skies and warm weather. After walking through the park alongside Wicklow’s Upper Lake, the tour guide took us to the top of the hills for a look at the “Guinness Lake,” formally known as Lough Tay. As the bus made its way up the high hills and we were able to hop off and explore, my breath was absolutely taken away. A sensation of freedom and awe encompassed every crevice of my mind and I remember being unable to stop smiling. The view overlooking the Lough Tay lake is a surreal experience. To me, it was one of those moments where I felt as if I was dreaming, but the strong winds and cold air made me realize that everything was, in fact, real. To think there are communities that wake up to such beauty every morning amazes me and fills me with envy because throughout the entire time, I couldn’t help but continuously think “this is where I want to be forever.”
On another note, my internship placement is involved in the Higher Education industry. Research and studies are performed about economic policy as well as corruption. In order to be successful within this industry, there are specific skillsets and strengths that are needed. Adapting to consumer wants and trends is vital in attracting prospective student applicants and well-renown faculty, especially since competition between universities is high. In terms of the production of research, attention to detail is another crucial aspect of the industry. Research is a primary source of accreditation and funding, thus attention to detail to avoid errors in the compiling of data or writing is important in the creation of innovative and groundbreaking research. The ability to sustain and formulate strong business relations with outside vendors is a strength and skill any university within the industry needs. Partnerships expand a university’s opportunities in all aspects, whether it is funding or recognition.
Specifically, within Ireland, the industry focuses immensely on research of the economic, political and environmental climate. There is a consistent notion of innovation as well as the production of high-quality research. Enhancing the student experience is always an objective of any university; however, if ambition were to be considered as a competency, then the determination to exceed is just as significant as, for example, the competency of problem-solving. There is a spirit of academic freedom and vigor that manifests itself into the dynamic environment of Ireland’s higher education industry.