I had the privilege of visiting Dublin with my family this fall. Like many folks from Chicago, where there’s a large population of people with Irish heritage, we went with the intention of ‘discovering our roots’ (which my dad was able to do). But we discovered a lot more during our time on the Emerald Isle. The whole experience makes me wish I had done an internship in Dublin. Though I didn’t, here are five things I learned that may be helpful to international interns or study abroad students.
The IES Dublin Internships...
are supercool and substantive. With any internship or study abroad program, there’s the concern of settling in, making friends, and doing well at the workplace or in classes, but fret not. While in Dublin, my IES Abroad colleagues brought me on a ‘Tour de Internships’, so to speak. We visited one part-time and two full-time interns at their placements at an event management company, acting school, and internet safety startup, respectively. It was really great to see how integrated the interns were into their work environment. Though they had been interning for little more than a month, they were already focusing on in-depth projects, such as:
● Planning and hosting an international conference for an organization promoting a more engaging, inclusive, and playful Dublin. The event had an interactive architecture and design focus and even featured a hackathon for kids.
● Facilitating and touring with an acting school’s production of King Lear for high school students, which aligned with their required Shakespeare curriculum. This included creating materials for, and putting on workshops about, the play to enhance students understanding of the subject matter (photo below).
● Surveying students about their online presence and experience to collect analyze data and subsequently provide tailored education to those students, parents, and teachers on ‘digital health’ (online presence, cyberbullying, privacy).
The IES Abroad Dublin Staff and Center...
...are kind of the best. The IES Abroad staff members in Dublin are incredibly warm, welcoming, helpful, fun, and drumroll…mostly Irish! Whether you’re figuring out where to go for a proper scone (Queen of Tarts) or Indian food (Pickle), finding the good tourist spots (Kilmainham Gaol) vs. the tourist traps, want to learn about Irish culture and language, or need help spotting the nearest pharmacy, they’re there for you 24/7.
The IES Abroad Dublin Center, itself, is housed in a renovated, old post office right near the Grand Canal (visit the swans!) and features multiple levels of classrooms, offices, and study and lounge space, not to mention plenty of room for activities (like learning Irish dancing).
Here's more you'll want to know before heading to Dublin:
...is, well...good! Just about everything I ate was fresh and tasty (fish, butter, pastries, even the fries tasted better). What’s more is that so many restaurant menus called out specific allergens, like dairy, peanuts, gluten, etc. My family and I were impressed by this because my sister has Celiac Disease (a severe wheat allergy) and it made it really easy to determine where she could eat. We never felt like we were ‘settling’ on a less-than-stellar dining experience in order to accommodate her allergy.
- Getting Around...
...is easy! Even though Ireland uses the opposite side of the road from the United States and traffic can seem a little crazy, getting around is less daunting than you'd expect. Just be careful to look both (and the correct) ways before crossing the street. Fortunately, crosswalks are painted with “Look Right” so you know to look in the direction of oncoming traffic.
For transportation, we took the Airlink bus from the airport (€7 one-way), a train to other cities in Ireland (€30-40), taxis when it was raining (varies), and walked pretty much everywhere else (priceless). And after a day or two, it was easy to find our way around, just as it will likely be easy for you to settle into a commute when you intern in Dublin.
...is better and brighter than you'd expect. I know what you’re thinking, and yes, it did rain while we were in Dublin. But there were also days of sun and 63-degree fall weather. And, okay, there might have been a tropical storm that hit the east coast and rendered shops and schools in Dublin closed for one day, but where do you think this awesome rainbow came from?! Keep in mind that the rain was never torrential, I didn’t need knee-high wellies, and the hood on my jacket (rather than an umbrella) served me just fine. I’m not saying you shouldn’t bring any of these things, but you just might need them less than you think.
Learn more about full-time semester or summer internships in Dublin, and check out more photos from my trip below!
Shaina Moran, Marketing Specialist
As the Marketing Specialist at IES Abroad, Shaina promotes Customized Programs and IES Internships. Though she regrets not studying abroad during college, she has led students on short-term trips overseas in a previous role, as well as traveled internationally with family and friends. Outside of travel, her interests include fashion, finding free food and events, and following dogs on Instagram.