Reflecting back on these past two weeks, I just can’t believe how fast it all went. We visited large tech companies like Google and Amazon and we also compared their business strategies to small local companies such as Pearse Lyons Distillery. We had the opportunity to go on some astonishing day excursions like the Cliffs of Moher and the Wicklow Mountains. I’m still in awe at the pure beauty of Dublin and I truly hope to go back someday.
Throughout this entire journey, I feel as though I have learned so much both personally and professionally. From a business perspective, I’ve seen the drastic differentiation between U.S. and Irish companies. The Irish are more relaxed and casual in their business practices. They focus on a more relational approach while Americans tend to be largely transactional. I noticed that I felt more comfortable with the Irish in numerous circumstances because they always made sure to ask about how you’re doing before getting down to the actual business of the visit. They were also always sure to thank everyone for their time and attention. One of my absolute favorite expressions used by the Irish on a daily basis was “thanks a million” because it showed how truly grateful they were for the interaction.
On a more personal level, I’ve learned that I’m absolutely horrible when it comes to my internal compass. I’ve become heavily reliant on my cell phone and using Google Maps so when I was in a foreign city with no data, I realized just how much I don’t know about my surroundings. I did, however, realize how much I truly enjoy international businesses and meeting with new people outside of my comfort zone.
As I mentioned in my pre-departure blog, I had never traveled outside of the country before this trip. After meeting with so many amazing people and learning about a new culture, I can definitely say that I’m much more comfortable and interested in traveling internationally for my future career. During this adventure, I was consistently challenged to absorb my surroundings and ask questions to take in as much information as possible. I also learned about the importance of emotional and situational intelligence, especially when interacting with professionals within an unfamiliar culture. Whether I use this takeaway during a professional or personal trip, I now know how crucial it is to study up on the country you are traveling to before arriving. Many cultures and societies may have norms or business practices that are unfamiliar to the U.S. By prepping myself before hand, I’d be sure to get the most out of my journey while still acting in an appropriate manner.
Moving forward, my bank account is pretty empty from this trip but my heart and my mind are both so full. Those 14 days were a once in a life time opportunity and I do feel as though I utilized that time to the best of my ability. I was attentive while just walking around the city and I always tried to ask questions to be involved during site visits. I could go on and on about everything I learned during this program, but overall, I definitely feel like this experience prepared me so much for my future career. I am so thankful to had been given this opportunity and I hope that this program continues for many years in the future so other students can also experience something so amazing.