Belfast? More like Belslow!

As I am now approaching the end of week six, time is flying more than ever. The workdays fly by and weekends go even faster as I am trying to fit as much in as possible. I’ve been so lucky to call Dublin my home for the last six weeks, and I do truly feel at home here. It seems like everyone I’ve been in a lot of contact with, from my coworkers to my coffee shop workers to the employees at the local convenience store, have welcomed me with open arms. I can already tell that it will be really hard for me to leave in just a couple short weeks, but I know I will be back soon!

Leadership

Even growing up, I have never been the most outspoken individual, so I have always seen my leadership style as leading by example. I have a good work ethic and am usually able to work through a lot of problems, so I have been someone that my peers can look to for an example and a pick-me-up. This, however, has often pushed me into a less dominant position in groups whether this be friends, school projects, or work. I have turned into more of someone who “goes with the flow” rather than someone who makes the decisions. I’ve never minded this and I like going along with other people’s plans to make them happy, but I know this puts me at a disadvantage as I enter the working world. Employers want someone who will really take the bull by the horns and always be the first one to step up. While I know I can do that, it has concerned me in the past that my quieter nature will not gain me as much credibility even when I do try to step up. I think this abroad experience has changed this quiet nature of mine and has given me the ability to push myself and hold myself with the confidence to succeed.

While I have twelve other students traveling and gaining similar experiences as me, this is the first time I have been on my own. I’ve lived outside of Pittsburgh my whole life and a lot of my really good friends from high school came to Pitt as well. That has meant that I am always close to home and have the safety net of lifelong friends to go to if I ever need help. It seems like I have always had someone at Pitt that I can talk about home with and knows how I’ve been my entire life, but here that isn’t the case. No one from home is here in Dublin with me, and that is a really weird feeling. It seems like a little detail, but if you would have told me a year ago even that I would be in another country for eight weeks with all new people I wouldn’t believe it and I would be really nervous. This has helped me grow leaps and bounds and become a whole new person as there were no preconceived notions about me that other people on the program had. I did know a few people before coming on the trip, but they didn’t know as well. This has forced me to be comfortable with being uncomfortable on my own. I have gained so much confidence and assurance in myself. Anytime I have left the comfort of my apartment here (alone or with someone else), I have felt just as comfortable because I know I can make it around and will be able to get myself home every time. 

I feel like this added confidence has evolved who I am as a person and as a leader. While I probably still won’t be the most outspoken in the room, I will hold myself with a lot more confidence, which will help me gain the credibility to succeed. Being at my internship and doing something completely new has helped me gain the confidence to ask a lot of questions, which will help me in my future with new jobs and internships. I think anywhere, but especially in business, confidence is a major key to have to help you succeed. Gaining confidence in myself and my abilities was one of the major goals I had before coming to Dublin, and I have certainly achieved that. I worry that I will have the challenge of continuing to use this confidence and pushing myself when I get back to the mundanity of Pittsburgh.

The Fun Stuff

This past week I’ve surprisingly fit a lot in while still relaxing a lot! I find myself constantly tired, but I’ll sleep when I’m back home! On Saturday, two of my roommates and I took a bus tour to Northern Ireland and saw Giant’s Causeway, Belfast, and the Titanic Museum. Giant’s Causeway was beautiful, but nothing super new to other cliffs I’ve seen since being here. Belfast was just like any other city, but our tour guide told us the people there are nicer than Dublin (which is hard to believe). From what we saw, it was very slow paced, which completely contradicts the name of the city (and I know, my title this week is so bad it hurts). The Titanic Museum was actually really interesting. I’ve never really been interested in the Titanic but after learning about where it was built (Belfast) and what happened, I feel like I need to watch the movie as soon as I get home! On Sunday, I checked out a flea market and rode bikes through Phoenix Park, which is the largest park in Europe enclosed in a city. I also tried Boojum, which is Ireland’s Chipotle; it was good but not quite as good as good ol’ Chipotle. 

On Tuesday this week, I tried out a restaurant with my roommates that has been endlessly recommended: Meltdown. It’s a grilled cheese place in Temple Bar and it was one of my favorite meals in Ireland so far! After, I got gelato and went to Riverdance, a big performance that travels around. EUSA got tickets for any students that wanted to go, and it was really interested to see traditional Irish dancing on such a big stage. 

I have a lot of things to look forward to this week still! Thursday is of course the Fourth of July, so we have to ring that in properly! This weekend I’m also traveling to Lisbon, which will be a huge change from Ireland. I’m excited to get into some warmer weather and experience a new country! 

I’m enjoying my time in Dublin more than I could have imagined and I’m nowhere close ready to leaving! I’ll be making the absolute most out of my last few weeks, so stay tuned to see what I get myself into!