After being home for about two weeks now I have begun to reflect on my time spent abroad in Ireland. My internship at Dublin City University Business School was the first time I was able to apply some of the skills I gained in college to the workplace. It is also the first job where I developed some concrete skills that may be able to aid me in the future. Prior to this summer, I had only had summer jobs working as a camp counselor. This was a very enjoyable job, but it did not give me a very good sense of how a more traditional workplace was run. Being able to experience a more traditional workplace of a researcher, albeit in a foreign country, was a tremendously valuable experience. My job this summer was to gather data on government corruption in Ireland by reading newspaper articles from assigned years, and sort the information based on the details of the corruption occurring. I did this through the use of the online Irish Times Digital Archive and Microsoft Excel. This job taught me a lot about patience and perseverance. For example, there were instances when I would read hundreds of article and headlines before finding an article that truly pertained to government corruption in Ireland. It was important to stay patient in those moments and remain patient and focused on the working at the task at hand.
I believe I have developed a great deal personally due to my time spent in Ireland. For one, I am far better at managing my time thanks to working a job with traditional hours. Working 9:30-5:00 on most days, this gave me far less free time than I would have taking college courses with no job. As a result, I had to quickly learn how to budget my time efficiently in order to get everything I wanted to get done outside of work completed. I also think I grew personally by interacting with Irish individuals throughout my stay here. I had to adapt to a different style of conversing and another culture, which should help me in the future if I choose to travel to another country. I believe I have grown academically as a result of this experience because I was able to perform real academic research. At DCU Business School my work will be used in the future to help identify trends in government corruption and perhaps even be published in the future. Additionally, I learned a lot about government in general in Ireland due to my time spent reading Irish Times articles. I had to learn many terms about government officials in Ireland that differ from United States terminology. This was so I could accurately determine what was going on in a corruption article and what position an individual being charged for corruption was in. I have certainly grown professionally as a result of my time spent in Ireland. As previously mentioned, this was first time working in a professional environment. While I was not working in the most formal workplace with a strict dress code, it was important for me to get some experience in this work environment before looking for a job next summer.
In addition to spending time in the city of Dublin, I was also able to take some interesting trips to other cities on a few weekends. I was able to visit my cousin in Cork, an Irish city about three hours south of Dublin. Additionally I was able to travel to Barcelona in Spain. This was perhaps my favorite weekend of the trip, as the culture and weather in Spain was very different to what I had experienced in Ireland up to that point. I believe this trip has made me far more prepared and confident to enter the world of business upon graduation. My bosses at Dublin City University Business School were very helpful and kind people who created a great work environment, and this makes me confident I will be able to find a strong work environment in the future. Additionally, working in a foreign country and adjusting through the cultural barriers I had to deal with while doing so makes me confident that I will be able to adjust to a full time job in the United States successfully when the time comes. I also feel much more prepared to attack my classes this semester, as I have had the experience of managing my time working and wanting to travel, so I feel very capable of managing my college classes.