Road to Galway

Greeting from Heuston Station! I am currently writing this blog post while waiting to catch a train from Dublin to Galway. It’s so weird to think that I’ve officially reached the last section of my internship and time abroad. I’ve now shifted into the mindset of thinking about “lasts” – what are the last things that I want to make sure I do? What are the last few places that I want to try to visit? What are the last sights that I want to see? I’ve started thinking about what returning home and returning to Pitt will be like, and it feels fitting that I’m thinking about travelling and leaving Dublin while sitting in a train station. Sitting at the station looking at all of the other people around me that are also headed to their various destinations from Dublin, it’s hard not to think about all of these other people having their own individual connections to Dublin and their own individual journeys on which they are about to embark. These past couple of days, it’s also been hitting me that I’ve spent six plus weeks in a foreign city living and working. When I’m waiting for the bus or grabbing dinner after work, I’ll look around and notice the slight differences in how the houses, roads, and buildings look. I’m trying to take pictures to remember the small details – the small parts of Dublin that don’t necessarily stand out much but are actually really important to the feel and look of the city. I’m excited to be going to Galway, as well. This will be my first time on the West Coast of Ireland, so it will be interesting to compare the two cities from different parts of the country.

The topic of this week’s post is also really fitting with my travels. Communication is a really fundamental part of travelling efficiently and safely. It’s especially helpful that in Ireland, one of the primary languages is English. This eliminates a lot of stress when travelling to other places in-country. While good communication is essential for making sure you know where to go at a train station or airport and know how to find your way around a city, it’s also an important part of my internship. A couple of communication differences have stood out to me during my time as an intern at my publishing office. Mainly, there have been some differences in expressions, phrases, and unique ways of notating stuff. Sometimes, my supervisors will use informal expressions and names to refer to things when giving me assignments and tasks. When this happens, I will usually have a moment of confusion. I’ll think, “did I hear them correctly, or are they using a specific name for something that I’ve never heard before?” I’ve also noticed that there are some differences in the subtle and implicit humor that my coworkers will use. In certain emails and conversations, they’ll use phrases and make certain cultural references that also take some nuance to fully understand. I wouldn’t necessarily classify these moments as instances of miscommunication, however. Really, I think these are closer to moments of just needing to ask for some clarification. Whenever I come up against these instances of needing clarification on something, I resolve the misunderstanding by asking questions. This has been a common trend during my time here in Dublin, both in the city and at my internship. If there’s ever a moment where I don’t understand something, I’ve found the easiest solution and the quickest fix is usually just directly asking someone else for help. Similarly, if my coworkers give me instructions that contain some ambiguity or a reference to something with which I am unfamiliar, I will repeat the instructions back to them to make sure that I’ve understood correctly and to let them know what I have gathered from what they have said.

Although I work from the office pretty much every day, there will be the occasional day when I am working from home or spending half the day in the office and the rest of the day working from home. There aren’t lots of problems that come up when I have these full days or half days from home. The main challenge will usually be the occasional electronic communication delay. I’ll get started on one assignment and I’ll get pretty wrapped up in it. When I do take a break from it, I’ll check my email and my Teams messages. Even though I have the sound turned up on my computer, sometimes the new notifications won’t make any noises. One time when I was working on a task from one of my supervisors, I was so focused on it that I had missed an email from another one of my coworkers asking for help on something that had a more urgent deadline. I caught the email in time, thankfully, but instances like this have taught me to be even more vigilant with checking my online communication channels, especially when working in a hybrid model. Since deadlines in publishing are especially crucial and nonstop, I’ve learned that it has to be one of my personal responsibilities to reply timely to emails and messages and to make sure I’m on top of all electronic communications.