Global Experiences' Dublin Location Coordinator Dara give us her insight into living and working in the heart of Ireland: Storied Dublin.
Having lived and worked in Dublin as well as a range of other European cities I definitely think anyone who opts to come here on an internship is in for a treat! Dublin is rich in culture and history and its blend of the modern with the traditional make it an enticing and exciting place to be. Dublin has a wealth of tourist attractions (museums, art galleries etc.), is famous for its vibrant nightlife and from our cobbled streets and ancient castles to our bustling bars and restaurants there really is something for everyone.
Dublin is not only the youngest city in Europe (with 50% of the population under the age of 25!) but it is also one of the friendliest! This geniality extends to the workplace where friendships are often formed over the photocopier and indeed many people’s social lives are connected to work. Mention to your workmates that you’re interested in yoga/jogging/the cinema (or any other activity that takes your fancy) and chances are that before you can say “top of the morning to you” you’ll have been whisked off to join a local club or group by a colleague with similar interests. In the past, our interns have joined football clubs, rugby teams and reading groups amongst other things.
A recurrent observation from our interns is that working life and social life in Ireland are much more intertwined than back home. While most big global companies are now also based in Ireland, the workplace tends to be smaller here which lends to a more intimate experience for employees. Many interns report of being introduced to a Dublin institution, i.e. the pub by their work colleagues and of work outings becoming a regular feature of their stay here. There is no better way to discuss the previous week’s work or dissect the office gossip than over a pint of creamy Guinness in a cozy snug with your colleagues at the end of the working week ! In a similar vein, many of the friendships formed by interns are with their new workmates who are only too happy to act as local guide and host to their new chums!
Something else of note is that that the Irish work approach differs in that hierarchies are less prominent than in the US. You are just as likely to find the company director on tea-making duty as the office junior so interns should not be insulted if required to do menial tasks as these are often shared by all.
Interns are usually encouraged to work on their own initiative but this does not mean that you can’t ask for help or advice. You may be given a project and left to your own devices but this is usually to encourage your independence and should not be interpreted as been left to work alone – your colleagues should be only too pleased to help if you ask them.
While a more informal and personal approach is undoubtedly a feature of the Irish workplace, this should not be mistaken for unprofessionalism. The Irish work environment, while certainly culturally different to that of the US, is an excellent place to gain experience in your chosen profession. Interns based here have been delighted with the skills they have acquired and the valuable experience attained during their stay on our Emerald Isle.