The night before a big event almost guarantees 8 hours of dealing with your heart about to pound out of your chest, stomach in knots, and mind running wildly. Whether it be the night before the first day of school for us nerds out there, the night before a big game for an athlete, or even the night before going on a vacation, most people can recall the feeling that you get while lying in your bed with your mind racing a thousand miles a minute, anticipating something in the near future. This is the exact state of mind that I was in just one week ago, the night before the first day of my international internship experience.
Imagine you are a freshman in high school again—not that anyone really wants to go back to that time in their life—but think back for a few seconds and remember how you felt walking into your high school for the first time. Sure, you might have known a few peers, or maybe you knew a lot of your classmates, but it was still unchartered territory for most. Walking into a corporate office alongside important looking people in business suits, I felt like I was 14 again standing outside the main doors to my high school. Sure, I might have looked the part, dressed in a black suit and wearing high heels, but I sure didn’t feel like I belonged. Not to mention, for anyone that has seen The Devil Wears Prada, I was convinced that while I sat in a boardroom waiting for my manager, I would be met with Meryl Streep’s character from the movie. I panicked, thinking that I would be ordered to fetch 13 specifically-ordered Starbucks drinks and pick up dry cleaning.
This was all obviously a bit ridiculous of me, and the second I met my manager any of my worries were diminished. We chatted over a cup of coffee and got to know a little bit about each other. My first day ended up being a great success, and I even got to start working on research for an annual company report. Aside from the actual work, being that this is an internship in another country, there are definitely some cultural differences that I have had to get used to. For example, while a corporate hierarchy exists, it is pretty laid back and relaxed. Immediately, I was told to call everyone by their first names and interrupt anyone at any time if I had any questions. This completely aligns with the general disposition of Irish people. They are very welcoming, kindhearted, and simply nice people. I can fully say that now, having completed a full week of my internship, I am excited to see where the next 6 weeks take me. For anyone that may be thinking of studying abroad and doing an internship abroad, while I did deal with a slight learning curve, I am sure that by the end of my time in Dublin I will take with me more than just work experience.