I’m leaving the USA… again.

I’ve made a big decision within the last few months—one that will greatly change my academic and professional career. I have decided to take an eight-week marketing internship in Dublin, Ireland this upcoming summer. Yep, that’s right! I just couldn’t get enough of Ireland in the one week I spent there this past winter.

The internship is through the IES Study Abroad program within the Tippie College of Business. As a requirement for this internship, I am taking a global internship preparation course and have been asked to write my reflections before and during the internship. So here goes my first reflection piece as I prepare for an amazing summer.

Why I Chose to Intern Abroad

The choice to find an internship abroad was a simple one for me. As I’ve previously mentioned, my goals are to study abroad after I finish my undergraduate degree. I have learned through my studies and through friends that are international students about how difficult it is to transition culturally and professionally in a foreign country. I knew that if I wanted to make a long-term move overseas, I would need to get a real sense of the culture in which I hope to immerse myself. I’m hoping that spending eight weeks abroad will give me an experience adjusting to traditions, norms, and business behaviors that are completely different than my own.

I hope that I'll get the chance to go back to the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge in Ballintoy again!

Why I Chose Ireland

I’ve been thinking about graduate school ever since I enrolled at the University of Iowa three years ago. I did a lot of research for the top marketing programs around the U.S. and I discovered that I really wanted to push myself and look beyond American borders. I’ve lived in this country for 26 years, and up until recently, I had never really explored the rest of the world.  Ireland was always a place of interest to me because I have a great appreciation for the culture, music, and countryside. After looking into marketing programs in Ireland, I found that there are pretty decent options for graduate marketing degrees in Dublin. So, now I have the target location pinpointed! But how do I actually make this happen?

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned over the years in business and in college is that your network is your ultimate power. I know that if I want to build a career in Ireland, I need to start making professional connections in that country. My hope is that this internship will allow me to make those connections and to get my foot in the door for when I am looking for job opportunities in Dublin.

What I’d Like to Learn from The Global Preparation Course

One thing that I’d really like to get out of this preparation course this spring is what it’s like to do business in Ireland. I’ve explored the city of Dublin, I’ve met a few locals, I’ve seen the west coast and beautiful countryside of Ireland, and I’ve started to get an idea of the tension between the UK and Ireland as I traveled Northern Ireland. What I haven’t quite fully grasped are the inevitable differences in Irish business culture that I may experience during my internship and post-graduate career. For example, I’ve read that business in Europe (in general) is a lot more laid back than what I am used to working with in the US. This makes me worried some people may not appreciate my overly ambitious and driven nature that I seem to exude on a daily basis. I’m hoping that the research and discussion in this course will shed some light on these differences, and prepare me with the skills and knowledge I will need to succeed this summer.

Who Influenced Me

I have to say that I really did make the decision to apply for this internship all on my own. I’m the kind of person that decides I want to do something, and no one is really going to change my mind once I have that goal set. That being said, my parents have been really supportive of this decision. I’m sure that the idea of their daughter going overseas again for an extended period of time brings about some concerns, but they have been very excited for me as they know this is really what I want. I’ve been very lucky in that respect.

Other people who have influenced me to study abroad are my professors and advisors. It really has been amazing to have all of these people around me at the college that are huge advocates of challenging yourself and gaining cultural knowledge. It may be because I’m surrounded by individuals who strive to educate future business leaders in a globalized world, but I really appreciate having the support of the Tippie faculty and staff.

Well, that’s it for now! I’ll be posting all of my reflections for this course online as I write them. Hopefully it will serve as a great tool to look back on how my thoughts and ideas have changed over time.

Slán go fóill!
(Goodbye for now!)