After spending two weeks in Ireland, there are many valuable lessons and takeaways that I gained from the trip, both personally and professionally. Ireland was different than I expected it to be in some aspects, but in others it far surpassed my expectations. Most notably, the country’s commitment to sustainability and environmental consciousness really stood out to me and impressed me the most. Unlike in the United States, the Irish government and businesses alike are equally concerned with maintaining high environmental standards and preserving the country’s natural beauty.
One aspect that surprised me a bit about this trip was the diverse interactions I had with Irish natives. On one hand, there were individuals who were extremely warm and welcoming. However, there were quite a few that were not. Prior to this trip, my preconceived notion about Irish people was that they were extremely kind and loved Americans. However, on this trip I observed more than a few instances that proved that this is not always the case.
This lesson taught me to not expect that people from other countries will view you in a positive light, especially being an American under the current political administration. In business, I now think that it is best to assume that folks don’t necessarily have a favorable opinion of you, and you should always make sure to make an extra effort to make a good impression on people from other countries so as not to fall victim to stereotypes they may have about Americans.
Overall, this trip gave me the opportunity to bond with other Pitt students who I may not have crossed paths with. I am glad to have been able to share this experience and build relationships. Though I enjoyed my time studying in Ireland, I realized I would definitely not be able to live so far from home for a whole semester. At least not at this point in my life, anyway. In the meantime I hope to continue to travel by myself and with family so I can grow my understanding of cultures all over the world.