Hello! I have just completed my second week in Ireland, and I have absolutely loved the experience thus far!
My first week here, I arrived with my dad to get acquainted with the area and explore some of what Ireland has to offer. We were able to explore so many interesting and important locations here: Kilmainham Gaol, the Trinity College Library, the Cliffs of Moher, Grafton Street, Galway, and more! Seeing Kilmainham Gaol, the jail where many of the leaders of the Easter Rising and other Irish revolutionaries were held, was such an enriching experience. While certainly a much more solemn and serious site than our other adventures, it was so interesting to see such a critical place in Irish political history in person. The Trinity College Library was one of my other favorite sites, which hosts more than 200,000 books in an awe-inspiring arrangement. I certainly wanted to buy more books for my own collection after this visit, but unfortunately my 61.1 pound suitcase (that the Aer Lingus staff graciously did not charge me extra for) can not handle that, so I’ll have to wait for my return to the States for that.
Another highlight of our trip was watching the European Rugby Champions Cup between Leinster (the province where Dublin lies!) and La Rochelle in a local pub. My dad and I had never watched a Rugby match before, so we had to learn the rules as we went. By watching the game (and listening to a very vocal Irishman in the pub react to the game) we were able to understand the sport eventually…just in time for Leinster to lose their lead right in the last two minutes. It was disappointing (especially for the aforementioned Irishman), but it was a fun experience nonetheless.
During my second week here, we moved into our accommodation at University College, Dublin and began the International Internship Program! The first week of the program is orientation week, so we have been familiarizing ourselves with the city and getting everything lined up for the program.
We’ve had a busy but incredible first week of the program here! We’ve had several events through EUSA, our partner organization here in Dublin. We had a walking tour of campus, program orientation, on-site interviews, and a trip to Wicklow! The Wicklow trip involved seeing the Powerscourt Gardens, going on a walk around a lake, and seeing a monastic site in Glendalough. The on-site interview was also so informative and exciting, as I was able to meet the office manager of the law firm I’ll be working at and learn more about it!
In addition to the EUSA-planned events, it’s been so great to get to know people from the program and explore the city together! We’ve gone to some amazing restaurants, shops, and sites!
This upcoming week, I’ll be starting my internship at the local law firm. Working in the legal industry will be interesting in Ireland because there are differences between the Irish and American legal systems. One that I’ve already observed is that lawyers in Ireland are called “Solicitors.” Of course, as I begin working in the industry, I’ll begin to note the more substantive differences between the two systems. In any legal industry, some of the skills remain consistent: organization, interpersonal communication, and writing. This has been true of my previous experiences in legal offices, and these skills will certainly be helpful in this upcoming internship.
One competency that will be especially critical in this position will be adaptability. From our orientations, we’ve learned that Irish workplaces are much more relaxed than their American counterparts in terms of attire, hours, and mentality. Not all of this is true in the field of law– lawyers still must dress in conventional business attire and work standard business hours. But, the culture of the office does generally seem more relaxed than I’ve seen previously. With this will come learning to be flexible with regard to my own understanding of the workplace and the variety of tasks I will complete. There’s certainly an adjustment required in working internationally given the cultural differences. One of these differences that already shocked me is that, in Ireland, you should arrive on the dot of the interview or meeting time, as you don’t want to seem overly-eager by showing up in advance. In the U.S., it’s conventional to show up about 15 minutes early to an interview time to show preparedness. This stressed me out when showing up for my interview with the law firm, as I felt as though I was late to my interview. Nonetheless, the interview went well, and I’m so excited to begin working there on Tuesday! Until then, I’m excited to explore even more of what Dublin has to offer with the wonderful friends I’ve made here.
This is only the beginning, but I’ve already had such an amazing experience since I’ve been here. These past two weeks have been unforgettable, and I can not wait for the rest of this incredible adventure!