Another week in Dublin has flown by!
This week, I completed the third week of my internship, and it was an action-packed week. This week involved attending a lot of court, which is always my favorite part of the work day. It’s so interesting to observe the courtroom, as I get to see many different cases called while awaiting the case I’m present for. Sometimes 30 cases are scheduled at the same time in the same courtroom, so I arrive at the scheduled time but could wait for hours until the case is called. During this time, I get to see other proceedings, which can involve anything from a requested adjournment to a full hearing including garda (police) testimony. When the case is called, I sit across from the Barrister to take notes and assist the Barrister in any way I can. While waiting for our case to be called, sometimes we step out of the courtroom to finalize any arguments with the client prior to the hearing. While there is still so much for me to learn about the courtroom, I feel much more comfortable in the procedure now and am able to attend court as the sole representative of the firm I’m working at. Court can be stressful at times, but it is such a fulfilling experience nonetheless.
Overall, I believe the transition into the workplace was relatively seamless. I have worked in a law firm before, and my colleagues were always willing to explain the legal system here to help adjust to any unexpected differences. I also have two fellow interns, and we’re able to guide each other along different processes we’re familiar with. While the process can still be an intimidating one to navigate, the support of my coworkers and firsthand experience have helped me to understand the industry well.
There are, of course, areas where I’ve needed to adapt. I’ve noticed minor differences in language that I’ve had to learn and utilize. When I’m taking notes, I try to make sure that I’m saying things the way they’re said in Dublin, not the way I’d say them (car park instead of parking lot, petrol instead of gas, etc.). One other minor change between the U.S. and Ireland is that in Dublin, dates are written as Day/Month/Year as opposed to the American convention of Month/Day/Year. When I’m pulling files, sometimes I need to search for certain dates, which can become tricky when it’s in a format different from what I’m used to. While I’m aware of this difference, it is still counterintuitive to me. One other cultural difference is the use of Celsius instead of Fahrenheit. We talk about the weather a lot in Ireland since it’s often rather cold and rainy, so the temperature comes up quite frequently. This makes it difficult to join in the conversation sometimes, since I have no concept of the Celsius system.
I’ve also needed to adapt my mindset with regard to what I see in court. Ireland has a different outlook on the criminal justice system than the United States. Their prison system looks different from the system in the United States, and there are often differences in how people view criminal activity and punishment. This stark difference in mentalité can yield results in sentencing that defy my expectations, but I have learned about the different priorities in terms of crime prevention through first-hand observation.
One final area where I’ve adapted this summer has been developing a new routine. Adjusting to a 9 to 5 role requires effort, but I’ve also wanted to maximize my time outside of work, aiming to experience Dublin with the time I’m not working. I’ve really enjoyed the workweek because I have more time outside of work than I do during the typical school year to pursue my own interests. While there’s always a lot to adapt to while abroad, some of these changes have been welcome adjustments or enlightening experiences.
Outside of my internship, it was a beautiful day on Thursday, so I took a trip after work to Dún Laoghaire, a beautiful waterfront area nearby. I’ve been meaning to see the town, and the great weather gave me an excuse to make the trip. It was well worth it, it was really a beautiful place!
This weekend, my friends and I took a weekend trip to Galway! We hiked from Doolin to the Cliffs of Moher, saw Salthill Beach, and enjoyed local restaurants and shops around Galway. Galway is a beautiful city, boasting a completely different feel from Dublin. Galway is a much smaller city, and it was nice to experience a change of pace. I really enjoyed being outside and appreciating the scenery of Ireland, even though the weather wasn’t quite conducive to our hike or walk along the beach. Inside the city, we had the opportunity to chat with so many locals, which is such a great way to feel immersed in a culture. Overall, Galway was such a great experience, and I’m excited to see what the next week in Dublin brings!