Pre-departure jitters

Cassie Hansen
July 5, 2016
Pre-departure Jitters

“You will soon be traveling to a distant land.”

That’s the fortune I was given in my fortune cookie the day before I depart for Dublin (no joke). I don’t think it really set in at that point—I’m not even sure it has set in yet!

Soon I’ll be catching my flight for a summer in Ireland and I’m so excited to begin working with an Irish company. Pinch me! I’ve been fortunate enough to have landed a marketing internship with Aspire Digital, which is located in the heart of city centre. The company delivers website design and development, conversion optimization, and digital marketing services. I’ll be working with their team on their internal strategy, project planning, and other various tasks throughout the next seven weeks.

This is a really great opportunity for me because I’m looking for more experience in marketing and because it will allow me to become assimilated with the Irish working culture. One of my goals is to enroll in a graduate program in Dublin for a MSc in Marketing and in order to do so, I’ll need a job in the city. I’m very excited that I’ll be able to have this experience working in Dublin to prepare me for that future. I visited Ireland last year, and although it may seem like I have a small advantage for this trip, I am still feeling a tad nervous before I leave.

Packing for two months

How does a girl pack for 8 weeks? I’ll tell you how it went for me. I spent several weeks panicking about the process, and about 1 hour putting my luggage together. When it came down to it, I just had to keep telling myself to bring only what I need and not what I thought was too cute to pass up. I learned my lesson on my previous trip to Dublin when I realized I would be walking everywhere and I wouldn’t be able to survive without comfortable shoes. Three hours dragging my blistered feet through the city centre because I didn’t try out a new pair of cute sneakers was definitely not my idea of adventure.

This time, I’m bringing clothes that are flattering yet comfortable. I’m pretty lucky that my internship doesn’t require formal attire (it is a very casual environment). My bag consists of about 4 pairs of bottoms, 2 pairs of leggings, interchangeable tops lasting 2 weeks, 20 sets of underwear and socks, 2 pairs of pajamas with tops that could double as lazy day clothes, 2 casual dresses that could work in a formal situation, COMFORTABLE sneakers, 2 pairs of flats, cheap flip-flops, minimal everyday jewelry, and other toiletries. I’m wearing leather calf-length boots, my raincoat, and one of my pairs of jeans with my outfit on the plane (to save space in my bag).

I ended up having extra room in both my carry-on and my checked luggage bag, which initially scared me, but I think it will work. I packed only what I needed and if I’m in a pinch I can always buy something in Dublin. Yay for shopping opportunities! (Just kidding, Mom.)

Sounding too American

Is this even a real concern? Yes, it definitely is. When I studied in London for two weeks last year, I started to notice how much Americans stand out in a crowd of Europeans. Maybe I was just focused in on the disparity, but we are really loud in public. I quickly realized how out of place some of my American classmates seemed, and how irritated natives would get.

I’ve been taught in my pre-departure course and my previous travels that the typical “American stereotype” isn’t always so flattering to other cultures. I’ll have to watch my “likes” and “awesomes,” while observing the behaviors of Dubliners around me, in order to not stand out so much.

Being 4,000 miles away from my support system

As much I like to act like I’m an very independent person, I know I’m going to feel a bit lost without easy access to my family and friends. Yes, I can Skype people back home, but if I get in a pinch (say for money or just having a bad day), I know that I may not get instant consolation from my loved ones whose schedules are now completely different than my own. Eight weeks in a foreign country on my own will definitely be a new challenge for me, and I’m expecting to find out if I have what it takes to be fully independent.

How I’m coping

In order to calm my nerves and keep myself in check, I’m reminding myself of why I made the decision to do this internship in the first place. A major goal of this internship is to make connections for my future graduate degree and to have something on my resume saying I already have experience working in Dublin. No matter the obstacles I may face in the next eight weeks, I have to focus on that milestone.

Secondly, how many people get to say they completed an internship abroad during their college career? I’m very fortunate to have this opportunity. To be honest, I know my excitement for being in Ireland this summer will likely trump any doubts I encounter.

That’s it for now! I’m headed off to a great summer in a country I love so dearly.

Slán go fóill!
(See you later!)

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Cassie Hansen

<p>A non-traditional marketing and psychology student who has a passion for exploring different cultures around the world. I work in marketing and consumer behavior by day, and am a foodie and music lover by night. I hope to someday say that I have written blogs about my experiences from every continent!</p>

Destination:
Term:
2016 Summer 1, 2016 Summer 2
Home university:
University of Iowa
Major:
Marketing
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