I entered this international internship program with several goals for my personal and professional development. Reflecting on my experience, I can not think of a single goal that was neglected. Numerous aspects of my international experience have shaped me to become a better individual, student, and employee. I am forever grateful for this opportunity and all the assistance I was given to make this experience a reality. I am looking forward to sharing everything I possibly can with my hospitality friends and campus peers. Everyone can achieve something from studying abroad and working internationally, and I think more people should have the opportunity to do so. From my experience, I was able to gain a global outlook, embrace a variety of cultures, obtain new competencies, enhance employable skills, and grow into the person I want to be. As I start the next semester as an Orientation Leader for the incoming class, I hope I can mentor new students and show them how obtainable and important studying abroad actually is. For my fellow peers in the hospitality program, I hope I can instill a similar desire to explore the world while developing their skills and perspective on the future.
Where do I even begin reflecting on how my international experience has shaped my personal development? I mentioned in a previous blog post that I spent my entire second year as a virtual student at Pitt. Although I was a very productive student during this period, I still feel like I lost a year of my life. I never thought studying aboard was possible when I stepped back onto campus for my third year. Thankfully, I easily completed every step of the process and was able to travel to Ireland. During this experience, I learned to be self-reliant and confident in my abilities and personality. I was an ocean away from any friends or family, and I only had myself to depend on. It was a truly freeing experience because I felt like an actual adult for once. In two weeks, I will be moving back to the Bradford campus to start my final year as a Pitt student. On a serious note, it is completely absurd to even think about it. One of the first questions my older sister asked once I arrived back home pertained to when I was going to start looking for jobs. It is notably crazy how fast my college experience has flown by, but I owe everything to the time I spent in Ireland because I truly feel prepared now for my life moving forward.
Looking back at some pictures from my two months abroad, I cannot believe how bright my smile can be.
As a result of my time abroad in Dublin, I gained much on a professional level. To start, this was the perfect experience where I was able to test my preferences in the workforce. During my internship at the Stephen’s Green Club, I moved around the operation to get a feel for every department and discovered the areas I enjoyed the most. Moving forward with this knowledge will help me narrow down future job searches. I also further developed my professionalism and work ethic. I am better prepared for a career, as I can demonstrate personal accountability, effective work habits, workload management, integrity, and ethical behavior. Throughout my time at my placement, I was able to fine-tune my transferable and interpersonal skills. As a result of my refined communication skills, I can articulate thoughts and ideas successfully to a variety of audiences, write, present, and listen effectively. The general manager at my placement said my only opportunity for professional improvement would be to learn how to be stern and say no when the situation calls for it. Not to mention, I built several professional international relationships, and I also attained valuable resources and references for my resume.
By far, one of the most important aspects of my experience, I was placed in a setting where I could apply what I have already learned in courses. This meant I gained a better comprehension of the current standards in my future industry and was able to quickly absorb new information. Starting in the hospitality industry, experience is extremely vital to success. I had no prior working experience before this internship, and it showed me that I genuinely have a passion for the industry, but this was not the case for everyone. Another intern in my program from another university learned she did not enjoy the hospitality industry and started to rethink her career goals. There were several times throughout my international experience that I realized how my academic habits have prepared me for success in a working environment. I cannot wait to tackle this academic year with everything I have gained from my experience abroad.