A Successful Last Week

My last week in Ireland was brought with many final bouts of adventure. In this last week I have really tried to soak in every last moment I had and make memories with the people I care about. Over the weekend I made a quick trip to Berlin to visit a friend for his 21st birthday. Visiting Germany has been a dream of mine for a while, and while I can not pretend I managed to see everything I wanted to in such a short period of time, we definitely saw a lot! We visited the East Side Gallery, Brandenburg Gate, Reichstag, Topography of Terror Museum, remaining portions of the Berlin Wall, Jewish Memorial, Templehof Airport, and more. What really struck me in the city was the haunting presence of its tragic past. Wherever you go it is evident that something terrible happened there. The line of bricks through the city marking the place where the Berlin Wall once stood, occasional informational placards describing the significance of a former plot of land, and of course the gold bricks marking every spot where someone was deported by the Nazi regime all serve as constant reminders of the horror the city once stood for. The architecture throughout the city varies from old German style to more modern buildings because of how much of the city had to be rebuilt after World War II. 

As a Political Science student, I was most intrigued by the architecture of the government buildings. Most buildings were done in a very modern style and many were made of glass, so the public can see inside very easily. Unlike other major capital buildings, there was limited security. I could go up and touch the walls of the Reichstag, offices of Parliament, and even the Chancellors home with ease. In the United States and many other nations something so open is unfathomable. Considering this from a Political Scientists point of view however, I believe the glass, transparency, and tangibility of the physical government structures represents an accountability to the people the government is meant to serve. The Reichstag features a large glass dome the public can visit free of charge which is situated directly above the Parliament chamber. As you walk through the dome, you can see directly into the chamber. Those governing are placed in a fishbowl, for the public to keep a watchful eye over, ensuring that no one can ever corrupt power the way they have before. 

I spent my last week in Ireland visiting plenty of places for a quick, last minute burst through the city. On Monday a few friends went out for fancy dinner in center city. While I have certainly loved my internship, one complaint I have is working out in the suburbs took me away from Dublin often. On the bright side, I got to see different parts of the country in my hour long commute every day, but I was not able to stroll around the city on breaks, getting to know my way around and picking up tons of new places to go the way my friends did. Fortunately, dinner Monday night brought me into the city. On Tuesday, I visited Kilmainham Gaol. Kilmainham Gaol represents an important part of Irish history, as the leaders of the 1916 rebellion were jailed and executed on the premises, sparking the movement that led to Irish liberation from British rule. I had to book the tickets over a month in advance because it is such a popular attraction in Dublin. On Wednesday EUSA hosted a Ceili and pizza party for us. If I could offer one piece of advice for EUSA in the future, it would be to encourage more interaction between students. Mixing housing assignments to include students from different schools in the same apartment and hosting more in-person activities would foster more connections between students and build lasting friendships between people from diverse experiences. 

Success in my internship was defined very clearly. If I did my work well, correctly, and efficiently I was defined as successful. Completing my work often had a final outcome that directly benefited another person, solving their problem, or creating a new program that helped someone else. I find that this is very similar to success in the United States. Generally doing my work well meets the standards set out for interns. Now that I feel I have become confident as an intern I am excited to try to take on more challenging programs that will push me to be successful in a different context.