Top 5 Things I learned About Myself Abroad
Reflecting back on the past few weeks I’ve spent abroad in Dublin, Ireland, I’ve realized that this Summer has taught me so much. From now on I will know Summer 2016 as the Summer I spent interning abroad. My time in Dublin with Global Experiences is something I’ll cherish forever. I have had some incredible experiences and learned about myself personally and professionally. What exactly did interning abroad teach me? Well, I’m glad you asked! Read along!
Interning in a new country with new people and surroundings teaches you a lot of independence. Don’t get me wrong the GE program allowed me to meet many new people in the program, many GE employees, and co-workers.. However they’re not following you around all the time. Being abroad really allowed me to feel like I had complete freedom with my own schedule. Not being around any family or close friends really teaches you how to rely on yourself, and you never want to let yourself down.
2. Patience in the workplace
Working in Ireland challenged me at times, as any meaningful thing in life should! As an eager intern I so desperately wanted to prove my worth to the company I was working for, I wanted to be the best intern they ever had. That just doesn’t happen by walking in the door. There was a little bit of a work culture shock. These small yet important differences taught me to be patient while at work. I realized not everything was going to come or click right away. So I had to take my time in learning the workplace differences and expand my mind into more than just what I was accustomed to.
Spending time abroad challenged me in ways I wouldn’t of thought of. Overcoming some of the cultural differences is really empowering. Once you get adjust to new ways of learning and thinking you feel really good about yourself.
4. How to Navigate Abroad
There was nothing more difficult and more rewarding than learning how to navigate a new city. I’ve lived in a rural part of the United States for most of my life, so public transportation was something I’ve never been taught. When I arrived in Dublin (which is considered to be a relatively small city) I was still completely lost. After a few days I started to get the hang of using the bus, the Luas (basically an above ground Subway), the dart (train). And after a few weeks I was a pro, and giving directions to tourists. Google Maps and other apps helped tremendously! Spending a lot of time on public transportation I learned that it’s always in your best interest to bring some things to occupy yourself. Like books, headphones, good conversation topics, work you can do from the road.
5. Working with celebrating and appreciating new cultures
Meeting new people is always something I’m in for! Living and working in Dublin, I really got to get a feel for the Irish culture. I was also able to meet people all over the world! On public transportation, in pubs, at work, anywhere at all. Talking with locals and tourists a like you get to share stories, experiences, and unique perspectives on almost anything. Working in Ireland, I got to experience their bank holidays, which was an craic of a time. (Common Irish phrase for good laugh). I also got to see how Europeans experienced Euro games, also treated like a holiday. Just by putting yourself in a new environment you’re able to absorb the culture around you.
A question one of my friends asked me when I got back was “would you do it again?”
I smiled at this question as I had not really thought about it before that moment. My answer was “absolutely” and that was completely true. If I went back to this time last year when I was just thinking about doing an internship abroad. I would do everything exactly the same. Global Experiences really did give me the experience of a lifetime. I may have spent all of my savings in Europe but the experiences I had will stay with me forever, and just look at how much I learned!