Life Lessons Learned

Good evening from Dublin, Ireland! I am writing this paper from one of the UCD lakes while looking out over beautiful wildflowers and interesting birds. It is now the end of week three and I can not believe how quickly the time has passed! There’s so much advice and information I want to share but I’m going to wait and collectively do it as my last blog post. As for my internship, there are several culturally fantastic things that I wish I were available at a job in America, and there are also some very difficult to navigate cultural areas I’ve experienced during my time here. 

As I’ve noted in all of my blog posts, I work for patientMpower. It is a start-up tech company that is right around eight to nine years old. The company has approximately 15 employees and provides spirometers and other key medical devices for people with lung diseases to remotely monitor their condition.

The company was founded in Dublin but works with patients all over the world. After Covid, most all of the employees have continued working remotely, which is proving challenging as an intern. I love talking with team members from all over the world, such as the US, United Kingdom, and even India. However, this is sometimes a barrier and a hard-to-navigate challenge because my manager works in the United States. If I have questions, I can have them answered until 2 PM. This challenges me to work through my problems on my own and find a different route to navigate when approaching a problem, which is definitely a good life lesson but hard to learn at first! My internship did not have many clear goals set for me. Instead, they let me decide what projects I wanted to do and which area of the company I wanted to work with. This is exciting but also a challenge because there is very little direction on how to do each project, especially when I’m new to this field. I don’t have a medical background, and even though I extraordinarily enjoy learning, it creates a complicated learning process. My team members are very kind and continuously patient with me when I ask questions, especially about healthcare terms. They use a lot of lingo that I am very unaware of so it may take several times repeating things to me before I fully understand. One of the funnier aspects of my job is the Irish humor. Leaving home I expected Irish people to have the same type of sarcasm and humor that I use at home but they don’t! For example, I was a judge in a contest we were holding last Thursday titled‘Innovation Days’. It was very fun and educational and if I have my own company I hope to mimic that one day. My one coworker joked with me that based on my judgment, I would make or break friendships. I joked back and said I am so scared and my coworker looked at me funny and said why would you be scared. It made me realize the difference in our definition of humor as I assumed the Irish naturally had dry wit. I am actually very glad I’m having these experiences because it shows me a broader perspective on my own capabilities, and the challenges I may face continuously in the future whether I work in the US or abroad. I am very fortunate to be a driven person and I’m hoping I positively represent all US interns!

On a more personal note, I attended the Taste of Dublin food festival this past Friday with my coworkers. It was hosted by local restaurants and had samples of their main dishes you could try. Everything I tried was phenomenal with rich flavors and complex spices that melted it on my tongue! I’ve tried several new drinks that I have not even heard of in the United States, and look forward to replicating them when I get back home. I am continually learning the bus system, which is gotten easier over time but continues to be interesting every time I step on the bus. It is fascinating to watch the people as they go to their jobs as they talk about their lives. I am looking forward to doing some travel next weekend as my flatmates and I are going to Galway!