Currently, I am not that deep in the placement process. I have submitted my first IES journal entry, CV, and cover letter. I have been reviewing what it takes to do well during an interview by reading the information that the Dublin program coordinators have provide and I’m ready to get started with mock interviews.
I felt like I did pretty well with my CV because I have been lucky enough to have my resume reviewed by faculty several times during professional preparation courses and within the Marketing Institute at the university. It took a bit of adjusting of my resume to make it a full CV, and to have it up to par with IES’s recommendations, but this was an easy thing for me. The hardest part of the placement process I’ve had so far is writing the cover letter. In general, I have a really hard time with cover letters. This was even harder for me because it requires that you write it a “potential employer,” meaning I have nothing to go off of in regards of targeting the cover letter. For instance, I would like to be able to know if I will get the opportunity to work with a sustainable company (one of my goals during this internship), but I feel I can’t really address that interest in my cover letter if it is possibly being sent to an employer who doesn’t have that focus.
Three things I’ll enjoy about living abroad
Learning new things: One of my top strengths (from the StrengthsQuest test) is Learner. I really do enjoy the process of learning and challenging myself to be out of my comfort zone. That is why I’m so excited to get the opportunity to live in Ireland for more than just a week this time. Spending eight weeks in Dublin will allow me to find out if I can adjust to living overseas after graduation. It will allow me learn about perspectives from other countries, and how business conversations and norms differ. This is really critical for me if I want to have a career in international brand management and I can’t wait to dive in!
The food/juice: It might sound a bit materialistic or corny, but ever since I came back from Ireland, I seriously miss the traditional breakfasts, beef stews, soda bread, clam chowder… pretty much everything in regards to food. Most of all, I miss the juice! Especially the fresh squeezed orange juice from Centra. I don’t know what it is about Europe, but the juice is just on another level. It is really hard to find juices in Iowa that are pure, unsweetened, and unprocessed. Okay, so I miss the Guinness a bit, but the juice, man.
Building a network: The biggest reason I made the decision to intern in Ireland was to get the chance to network and make connections that will help me with job placement when I move to Dublin after graduation. At the very least, the experience working in Dublin will let potential employers know that I am capable of adjusting and working within Irish cultural norms and business environments. This step is critical for my future career and I’m going to really enjoy having this opportunity.
Challenges I expect while living in Ireland
I’ve been lucky enough to spend one week in Ireland and two weeks in London, which has given me a lot of resources for finding my way around Dublin. I know that if I need a pharmacy, I look for a Boots. If I want to stop by a convenience store I stop at Centra and, if I want to pick up some groceries, I can find a Tesco just about anywhere on the way back home. Nonetheless, I know I’m going to run into some issues adjusting to the daily life in Dublin.
1. Public transportation: When I was in Ireland over winter break, I did walk around town a majority of the time, but I relied on taxis when a trip was too far. I know that I am going to need to get used to the Dart or the bus system. That is always a big adjustment for me, but I plan on researching these things when it gets closer to the internship.
Random errands: Things like needing something printed, finding a laundromat or dry cleaner, taking the trash out seem like they aren’t a big deal. I found out the hard way that being a large foreign city, much less one that you haven’t spent an extensive amount of time in, can really slow down the process for these types of things. First of all, the Irish don’t always run the same hours that I’m used to in the U.S. Secondly, even if Google maps says there is a laundromat down the street, that doesn’t mean it is still there. These are things I am going to heavily rely on prior research for.
How much things are really costing me: The USD to EUR exchange rate is fairly close to even (about 1 USD = 0.92 EUR currently), but I still expect to have issues trying to budget and save money while I’m living abroad. I’ve always lived in a small town (~30,000 population towns most of my life and ~70,000 population in Iowa City now) and I don’t have an abundance of experience living in a big city. Dublin is about 565,000 in population and a lot larger than my hometown. With big cities come a higher cost of living. Everyday items and transportation will cost me more than I’m used to, and there is not a lot that I can do about that. It will take careful planning and budgeting on my part to make sure I spend a reasonable amount of money while in Ireland.
That’s it for now! Overall, my enthusiasm for going back to Ireland trumps the issues I expect to encounter. This will all be a learning process, and that is the kind of thing I love!
Tá sceitimíní orm!
(I’m very excited!)