Communication in Ireland

Hello again everyone from virtual Dublin, Ireland! This week I completed the final week of my data analysis internship with Wrkit, and I am amazed just how far I have come since I started with the company earlier this summer in May. I took this weekend to look over some of the projects that I did over my time with the company to reflect on the total experience, and I couldn’t believe how much my abilities had improved since the first few weeks of the internship. Since the first couple projects I worked on, I have discovered much easier ways of using both Excel and Tableau more efficiently, which has allowed me to produce far more complete analyses on larger datasets in a shorter amount of time, and as someone who is pursuing a career in data, I could not be prouder of the work I have done. While I am sad that this experience is already over, I have made some very meaningful connections and memories through the program that I am sure I will never forget.

As I think back to before I started this internship, the thing that I wanted to improve upon most was my communication and understanding of communication. In a few of my previous blog posts (check them out at these links if you haven’t already: https://pittbusinesstotheworld.com/2021/05/31/the-technology-industry-in-dublin/ or https://pittbusinesstotheworld.com/2021/06/14/wrkplace-ambiguity-at-wrkit/), I mentioned how Ireland is a high-context country in terms of communication, meaning that it takes a lot more context to decode what an Irish person is saying, as they are much less direct than say the United States when it comes to communication.  As I am sure you can guess, interacting with colleagues from a high-context country whilst living in arguably the most low-context country in the world takes a decent bit of concentration and may result in some miscommunications. One of the things I have noticed most out of everything that is much different in Ireland than the United States is that instructions are often much vaguer and more freeform in Ireland than the US, allowing for much more freedom in my work. While it is nice to have freedom to attack a project at whichever angle you feel is best, one of the benefits of stricter directions in the US is that you may be forced to look at something in a different way than if you are given little direction.

I think the best example I have of a miscommunication I had in my work with Wrkit was when one of my supervisors sent me several datasets that related to the web traffic of various pages on the website, with each page corresponding to one of the modules that Wrkit offers to its clients. With this data, I was instructed to basically see what trends I could find, and that was my only instruction, so I began building charts from the data to show how the total number of clicks on the website were made up by each module. At this point in the internship, I had gotten used to the lack of instruction; however, in this data, there was a set labeled “Portal,” and due to the lack of clear context I just assumed that this was another page on the website such as the home page. When I went to present this data to my supervisors, they asked me about the “Portal” data and I was very confused as to what it was, until one of them explained to me that the “Portal” data was in fact the total amount of clicks coming to the entire website, rather than a separate page. This miscommunication would likely have not happened, had I reverted back to my low-context US way of communication and asked a bunch of questions to clarify what the data was, rather than trusting the high-context Irish way of communication that I had gotten used to at this point, but I think this was a valuable learning experience for me, while also showing me that I had in fact succeeded in assimilating into the Irish culture from a virtual environment.

I am so thankful to everyone at Wrkit and at the Pitt Business International Programs office for organizing such a great experience in such difficult circumstances in this pandemic, and I am excited to use all of the skills and lessons I have learned through my internship in my classes and career going forward. I can’t wait to one day visit my colleagues at Wrkit in Dublin! Until next time!