Dorothy was right- there is no place quite like home. After a long but smooth day of traveling back across the pond first to New York City (JFK Airport) then to Syracuse, we (my mom and I) arrived back home safely late yesterday evening. I realized rather quickly that I was over dressed for the warm summer weather with my sweatshirt that was the perfect layer when we left Dublin. To my surprise, I feel rather re adjusted to the time difference already. Perhaps I’m speaking to soon and it will catch up to me in a few days time. There is much unpacking to do, but I made a point to give myself the morning to go for a run to relax and begin re aquatinting with reality. In addition to unpacking my clothes, it’s important that I unpack (metaphorically) the experience that has been had and process it now that it’s over.
The question “why did you choose to go to Dublin?” was posed rather often while I was abroad. One of the reasons I chose to venture to Dublin was based on the thought that Dublin would be a representation of Ireland as a whole. After spending just under two weeks outside of Dublin, I now see that there is so much to the country and culture that isn’t captured in Dublin. Dublin is a wonderful city, one with a lot of character and unique qualities. But Ireland as a whole can’t quite be captured in Dublin. Over the course of our travels beyond Dublin, we hiked mountains, swam in the ocean, and witness some of the most magnificent views that I hope linger with me in the months and years to come. I was left speechless on multiple occasions. We saw life take on a different, much slower pace. Witnessed the most magnificent sunsets. And dined at small cafés that have been around for generations. We drove… well, my mom drove (I was a supportive passenger as she navigated all of the opposite’s of the road) all along the western coast of Ireland, making our way from Ballycastle (Northwest) to Galway, Doolin, Dingle, Cork, and then back to Dublin. Seeing the rural parts of Ireland actually left me with an increased appreciation of aspects of Dublin, including the diversity seen in the international work force and tourists that are drawn in from all over the world.
I’m incredibly grateful to have been able to stay in Ireland after my internship was complete as it welcomed time to reflect on my experience with FXCH and Caffe Parigi. As I’ve discussed in previous blog posts, some of the most valuable pieces of my internship were completely unexpected. Like working with a crypto currency start up, for example (I still can’t believe that actually happened). Getting to work with technology that I had no previous experience with was challenging but incredibly rewarding. Even though my contribution wasn’t specifically with the technical aspects of the exchange, I saw the importance of understanding the significance of the technology and the meaning behind it. One of the most challenging parts initially was not being able to answer the question, “so what?” I struggled to understand why the work I was doing was important in the grand scheme of things of not only the company but the world and society. As the internship progressed and I began to see more of the bigger picture, I was able to see the importance of this technology and the implications it can have on companies and industries.
Additionally, I was completely taken by surprise by all that I was able to learn just from being with the people that I worked with. Working with such a small group of people with vastly different contexts and beliefs allowed me to re asses my own context and beliefs and see with new eyes the pieces of conventional wisdom in my life and how those are seen from the outside. As valuable as the previous professional experiences I have had are, the international piece of this experience- not only going to another country but being in a community of people from all over the world- was so very unique and has left me with a broadened perspective on the world and the lives around me.
There are so many ‘thank you’s’ to be said. Where to begin. I am incredibly grateful to have been able to have this experience abroad and am aware of how much of a privilege this opportunity was. There were multiple occasions when I reminded myself of a favorite phrase, “I get to do this.” In the mishaps, the challenges, and the moments spent caught in the rain without an umbrella or a raincoat, I reminded myself of the opportunity it was (and still is) to have had this opportunity to work abroad and learn in such a dynamic environment (I don’t have to but get to be standing in the rain without an umbrella in Ireland!). I truly believe this experience will reflect it’s way into many that are to come- academically, professionally, and personally. I see this experience as a reflection of all of the individuals who were a part of it. I am immensely grateful to my boss Victoria for fostering such growth through the experience she provided me with. Thank you to the entire Pitt Business Study Abroad team and EUSA for coordinating opportunities for students to grow in the midst of going beyond our comfort zones (literally and figuratively). Thank you to my parents and all those who support and encourage me in ways that are beyond measure and understanding. It is with gratitude that I bid a final farewell to my summer abroad, knowing that much of this experience will stay with me far beyond.