My two months in Ireland were spent not only doing the duties involved in my internship, but also experiencing the culture and lifestyle of a different country. I spent 6 hours of each workday doing statistical analyses and expanding my professional skills. After I was let off from work, I would randomly walk around the city and find new places. As far as development, this was one of the main ways that I feel I developed personally. As an already independent person, I feel that I became even more independent. I became aware of abilities I didn’t know I had or worked on aspects that needed improving. One example would be directions. I am directionally challenged and having to navigate a new city without help, taught me to pay attention to my surroundings so I knew where to go if I ever needed anything. Halfway through the program, I needed to exchange more money and rather than having to put directions into maps, I knew where to go due to all the walking I always did after work. This also applied when my friends would come see me after they got off work. Some of them weren’t placed in the heart of the city and so I was their makeshift tour guide for when they were looking for something and didn’t know where to find it. Another way I developed personally was through setting goals of what I wanted to do and see. Part of the reason I chose Ireland was because it was a country that I would never think to visit with family or independently. When it was offered as a study abroad location, I thought why not go see a new country that I most likely wouldn’t have seen otherwise. Also taking into consideration that I don’t normally go back to the same country twice, I wanted to see all of Ireland in the two months I had. Before the trip, I researched day trips that I wanted to go on and created a list. Once in country, I researched new trips every weekend so I wouldn’t run out of things to do. I not only did touristy things, but also got to go to different farmer’s and flea markets beside locals.
Along with personally, I academically improved from the insight I gained through my internship. One unique thing about my internship was the fact that it was with a school. This allowed me to take classes alongside my internship. I took three classes while at Dublin Business School: data mining, data analytics and machine learning, and IT essentials. All three classes provided me with new information about either the field my internship was in or the field of study I was engaged in at Pitt. I learned about different career paths I could take with my finance and information system degrees. I also learned that since data analysis is in every field, it is an important skill to be able to understand and conclude from the data that is collected. From my experience, I redirected my academic path for the next two years and decided on adding a data analytics certificate.
Starting off with my internship, I didn’t really have any expectations going in. I knew that it was a data analytics internship with Dublin Business School, but I had no idea what my eight weeks would entail and what type of work I would be doing. After being at work for a week, I quickly realized that data analysis mainly meant running frequencies, distributions, and other statistical analyses that the organization can make conclusions from. I grew professionally in terms of research, participation, and increased duties and responsibilities. Much of the data I worked with was already gathered and stored in a data warehouse so my work involved presenting the findings in report format. I also participated in the organization by going to two research conferences and sitting in on meetings relating to the value of the data to the organization and how to best move forward with the findings. Lastly, as my time within DBS went on, my supervisor gave me an increased number of projects to work on. The later projects compared to the first one, allowed me to test my hypotheses and weigh in on how to best analyze the data and continue forward with it.
The experience overall was extremely beneficial and gave me a lot of experience that I can work with going forward. There were many personal, academic, and professional takeaways, including what I learned I can do, which direction I should consider taking my future in, and how I can go about doing that. Now that my chapter in study abroad is closed and I’m looking at another two years in Pitt Business, there are a couple ways I’ve considered bringing my experience back. The easiest way is simply telling people about my experience in various organizations I am a part of. Sharing everything I gained through study abroad not only helps me put my experience into words, but also helps others decide if a similar experience is something they want to consider. Another way is to join the study abroad office as an ambassador. Speaking with students who studied abroad before me really helped me narrow down the program and location. I only hope to help future study abroad students in the same way that I was helped.