I could not have asked for a better first week in Dublin. The moment the plane landed in the terminal, any pre-travel anxieties that I had vanished, and I felt truly ready to spend the summer in Dublin. The first day that we arrived, Monday, was very relaxed as many students felt tired after a long flight. As a group, we toured the neighborhood surrounding our living arrangements, and then walked through Dublin City University’s campus, which is also very close to where we are living for the summer. After that, my roommates and got dinner together and went to bed early in order to prepare for the long days that we had ahead of us.
On Tuesday, we went to the city center for the first time, and also got Student Leap Cards, which we can use to access public transportation. In the city, my roommates and I saw the Book of Kells, which is located on Trinity College’s campus. I absolutely loved the library exhibit and it amazed me to see how much historians could learn about society from 1000 years ago based on the ancient relics that have been discovered and analyzed throughout the years. After the book of Kells, we went to Christ Church Cathedral, and I found the architecture and history very fascinating.
Navigating the city busses was a little daunting at first, but it turned out to be rather simple. Thanks to the Leap Card, my bus fares for the week are already paid, and I just need to tell the bus driver what stop I plan to get off at. On the busses there is Wi-Fi and USB ports in case you needed to charge a phone. The busses are also on a very accurate schedule, so after riding the bus a few times I felt ready to use them daily to get to my internship.
On Wednesday, EUSA connected us with the opportunity to learn about Gaelic sports, and to play them. We were taught about Hurling, handball, and Gaelic football before sitting down together for a barbeque. I really enjoyed myself while attempting to play these sports, and did not realize how important games like these are to Irish communities.
Saturday has been my favorite day so far, as we went through the hills of Wicklow, Glendalough and saw Lough Tay as well as the Powerscourt Gardens. Standing atop of the hills overlooking Lough Tay, affectionately known as “Guinness Lake,” was surreal. I feel that any pictures or written descriptions could accurately encapsulate how peaceful it felt to be standing there overlooking the magnificent view. I took plenty of pictures and I would love to go back there as the summer comes to an end.In between the activities throughout the week, I was able to prepare myself to begin my internship next week. For the summer I am interning at the non-profit charity Friends of the Elderly. The primary goal for this charity is to provide friendship and companionship for elderly citizens living near Dublin. Friends of the Elderly has a mission to reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation that are commonly found in aging populations. The services that Friends of the Elderly offer are visits from volunteers, personal telephone calls, a social club, and planned social events/excursions. All friends of the elderly services are free, and this organization relies on donations in order to successfully provide its services. As a non-profit that prioritizes the livelihood of its members, in order to be successful in this industry it is important to have a lot of compassion for the people who are being provided the service; for my case, it would be compassion for the elderly members. Since this organization also relies on donations, it is also important to connect with the donors and maintain a positive working relationship with them in order to continue to receive financial support. As a Dublin-based charity, another competency could be knowing and connecting with different organizations around Ireland that could collaborate in providing new and exciting services for members of Friends of the Elderly.
I am excited to begin my internship on Tuesday. I am curious to see how my knowledge of non-profits will expand once I get into the daily routine of working at Friends of the Elderly. Currently I have only worked retail and food service jobs, so I am looking forward to interning at an organization that’s mission statement can be applied to my major of psychology. I am sure that it will be a very rewarding experience, and I can’t wait to see what is yet to come this summer!