Balancing Dublin and Howth

Leading up to this trip, I was anxious about what my internship would hold, what my employer would expect of me, and how different the work environment would be from those in the United States. I was pleasantly surprised to be assigned relevant and interesting work that applies to both my major and minor (marketing and political science). Public Affairs Ireland works the departments of the public sector of Ireland, and offers training courses in different areas of business (core executive skills, procurement, etc). This week I was able to draft LinkedIn posts for their site advertising upcoming events and classes they were offering, directly showcasing my marketing skills. I also had to do research online regarding their target market for an upcoming project. Doing something both in my comfort zone and something I’d never done before was very nice, as it challenged me and allowed me to ask my supervisor questions while getting to know her better. Before starting any research, my boss gave me some materials about Irish politics and it’s governmental structure. As an international relations minor, I was very excited to get to incorporate both my major and minor.

My schedule for my internship has taken up much of my day, primarily because I am still getting used to the bus system here in Dublin. My work day starts at 8am, and google maps says my commute will take approximately 40 minutes. So, I leave at 7am everyday so I have some cushion time if something goes wrong with the buses and I spend those extra 20 minutes at a cafe close to work. I’m the cafe’s only customer that early, and I always get a chocolate croissant, so the barista will recognize me soon enough.

Once I get to work, I spend the first 20 minutes or so greeting my co workers, making a cup of tea, and getting instructions from my boss for my day. Thankfully, managing my time at work hasn’t been hard so far. My boss either gives me one task for the day, or splits my task into two, one before lunch and one after. I get an hour-long lunch break that I usually spend with my boss. This time has been a great way for me to get an insight into what it’s like to live in Ireland, and for her to hear what it’s like to live in the US as a student. Balancing my tasks and time at work is very simple, as my boss assigns me things one at a time and already has a timetable set for me to follow.

A big challenge for me since starting work is managing my ‘fun’ free time with work time. In addition, balancing a budget with that. Work is always the first priority, so I have to make sure I’m on time to work, and also in bed early enough that I’m prepared for the next day of work. So, my general rule for myself is to be home by 10pm every weeknight. I save trips with big events for the weekends and use my weekday evenings for trying new foods and exploring Dublin.

           This past weekend my friends and I had to work on prioritizing our tasks because we went on a small trip to Howth. Howth is a small coastal town that’s 2 bus rides and 2 hours away from where I live in Dublin. I knew it would be a nice place to visit as it’s close, cheap, and something far away from the hustle of city life. We decided to go on this trip on Saturday, which meant we had to get up early that morning and be in bed early the night before. With all of us working on Friday, we all had to make sure we finished our tasks at work promptly and on time so we wouldn’t lose time on Friday, as we all wanted to spend some time exploring city center.

           Howth was a great experience that took up most of our day, so we were thankful that we left early to get a head start. The first thing we did was do the cliff walk along the coast. We ended up walking along nearly the entire island, and got to see some amazing views of the sea and rocky coast. There were multiple different paths to take, and we ended spending almost all our morning and early afternoon hiking. After that we visited a small market to get some snacks, and then walked around listening to street performers until dinner time. We went to a small pub and got some fish and chips, and then headed home for the day! Balancing work, time in Dublin, and time in another town was tough, but very enjoyable. I have been loving my time here so much, and I can’t wait to continue working and learning about Ireland.