Halfway There?

                Week four is already here which nearly marks the halfway point of this experience. I say this a lot but time really is flying. This week has definitely been challenging but at the same time exciting. I feel like I am taking strides to assimilate to Irish culture in the best way I can. I understand there is a fine line between assimilation and imitation or mockery. In some ways, it is hard not to repeat some aspects of Irish culture that I find the most interesting. I am definitely incorporating their friendly ways into the way I interact socially. This is something I hope I can bring back with me when I return. I wouldn’t want to go back to the states and completely forget all the lessons and experiences I’ve had. Although it is quite scary to think about, I am already starting to think of what it will be like when I go home. I already feel changed at the halfway mark and I can’t even imagine how I will feel as the final weeks come closer.

                Dublin is beginning to feel like home base as I start to travel around. This past weekend I visited the coastal town of Bray. It was beautiful to see the contrast of the green, rocky cliffs and the sandy beach. I have never seen anything like this in my life. It’s amazing how green the vegetation is and how blue the ocean looks. I have tried taking pictures here, but they really do not capture this place’s beauty. I knew somehow I would make it to a beach this summer. In Bray, there were even people swimming in the ocean despite the cool air temperature. After a peaceful walk on the beach, we went to a great seafood restaurant for some chowder. This trip was a great break from work; I felt recharged and relaxed going into this week.

                I am beginning to realize at work that there a several different ways that my coworkers and I communicate. With the other American interns, I am able to speak without a filter. It’s nice to have my lunch break with them because I can communicate in the casual way that I am used to. When speaking to my Irish coworkers, I feel there is an added layer of formality. I don’t believe this is due solely to the professional environment of which we are in. It seems that in the Irish culture they tend to speak more eloquently. I find myself assuming that are Irish people are extremely intelligent because they communicate in a more sophisticated way.

                On Thursday I attended a companywide meeting that really opened my eyes to all the projects that are going. I work in the finance department of a medical college and I know little about the health industry. I was amazed to see how the college addresses both domestic and global health issues. I learned that they have education programs all around the world. The school has satellite campuses in Dubai and Bahrain, while also hosting research projects in different African countries. It feels good to know that I am making some sort of contribution to these causes. Although I play a small role in this institution, just being part of it makes me excited. Not only do I have the opportunity to learn about Irish culture, but I can explore the various aspects of this international organization. One thing that was reaffirmed for me this week had to do with the importance of my industry. Accounting and finance has a stigma of being a boring or meaningless field, however, it is necessary for all companies. As a professional, I feel as though I don’t need to be the most valued or championed individual of an organization. As long as I feel fulfilled that I am contributing to a good cause and mission, I will find happiness in my career. This may sound a bit dramatic, but it’s true to the experience I am having here in Dublin.

                I’ve always strived to have a global mindset; I’m happy that this is being both tested and expanded through my time here. The barriers between Irish and American culture are subtle, but there are still barriers that force me into uncomfortable situations. I’m learning how to lean into these moments when I feel uncertain. When I’m wandering down the city streets I let myself get lost and find my way back to somewhere familiar. Because of this, I am learning how to navigate better. I know there is a lot more in store for my adventure here, but I’m satisfied in how far I’ve come.