What if my phone stops working my second day abroad? What if I spend a really long time messaging Vodafone online to get my Irish sim card to work? What if I am not ready to leave? All of these questions were things I never thought to ask myself before traveling. All of which were situations I had to navigate. Despite these bumps in the road, my time abroad was an experience I will never forget. When I say it was one of the best things I did at Pitt, I mean that wholeheartedly.
Personally, this program offered so much growth. Every unexpected encounter showed me how much I could rely on myself and the ways in which other people would happily be there for me. I think the amazing part of our program was that it reminded all students from the US, not just from Pitt, how important a support system is. We all joked as rising seniors and juniors that it felt like freshman year all over again trying to make friends in an unfamiliar place. That being said, I met so many people and built lots of new friendships that I can carry with me into my final year at Pitt.
Showing up for other people is easily one of the biggest takeaways I have from interning abroad. Forming a strong community within all of us from Pitt made every week a new adventure that we could all take on together.
On working days, where I spent time on my commute alone, I felt an increase of self assurance. Staring out of the window on the bus and taking in each moment was when I knew I made the right decision. Each day I would just keep thinking: Oh wow! Like I’m actually in Ireland. I have a whole two months here. It was simply insane. Even getting off the plane from Newark, NJ landing at Dublin the next morning was the same experience. I kept thinking now I am actually in Ireland. I have so much time to do all of these different things. Let me just say, the time went by so quickly.
Everyday offered a new learning experience whether that was at work, exploring, or just everyday interactions. Since this was my first internship ever, working this summer gave me a lot of confidence in my career journey. I now have a stronger set of hard skills and transferable skills that I can take with me along my path. When applying to full time jobs in the fall, I will be able to demonstrate to employers everything I have learned. If I could ever go back to Ireland, I know the ins and outs of my industry to be better at the work I do.
At first, studying abroad was always on my radar. When I toured colleges I would always ask what types of programs they had to go abroad. When things got tough with my degree, I shifted studying abroad to the back of my mind. It did not seem feasible on top of completing my degree requirements. The minute I switched my major for the better, going abroad was still on the back burner for the same reason. That was until I learned that I could fit it in the summer. Again a decision that I am super grateful for.
Taking on this opportunity showed me that pushing yourself in new directions is essential. Without applying I would have never been able to experience one of the best summers ever. It seems rather intuitive like Wayne Gretzskey style “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”, but it can be intimidating. Logistics such as will it even fit and what if’s can always get in the way. I am no longer too worried about those concerns. There is simply no way you can account for every single problem you might have. As I started off this post, it is clear that I missed a few. Some of them were definitely worse than others for sure.
To wrap up this final blog post and prepare for my upcoming senior year at Pitt is another kind of bittersweet all together. There are a million memories I will continue to make over my time and tons of memories I have made that I will hold on to. If anything, my trip abroad has reminded me how fast time moves. My senior year I hope to take advantage of every minute I have. Hail to Pitt!