This is a bittersweet blog post, and the last one that I will be making about the Plus 3 Ireland program. It all went so fast but boy, what an incredible experience. I have grown so much as a person and a professional in such a short time. If I could do it again, I’m not sure if I would have changed a thing that I did over in Ireland. In the quick 2 weeks, I made life long friends, unforgettable memories, ongoing professional connections, and learned countless life lessons.
Professionally, this trip has opened my eyes to an entirely new way of educating people and doing business. Before this trip, all I knew when it came to running a business was how they do it here in the states. The work hard play hard mentality, the rat race that is associated with start ups, intense competition, and all the focus being on bottom lines and profits. That is all that is really emphasized in the US corporate culture, and it is what I assumed existed everywhere. Coming to Ireland really forced me to accept other ways of thinking, other ways of doing business, and most importantly, other ways of educating. The Irish love to keep things light, and although they aren’t afraid to use their quick wits and joke around, they can really turn on their competitive side when they need to. Any time we talked to somebody new, it seemed that they would open with a joke or small talk conversation. Something nice and light so when they did get into serious things it all seemed to flow smoothly. Site visits felt like conversations, not info lectures. We also learned that that kind of laid back culture allows the Irish to solve complex issues and think outside of the box. I hope that I can take this way of thinking outside of the box into my professional career here in the states. Also, even though the Irish company culture may not play well here where business leaders are much more serious and to the point, seeing how there are clear differences in how international locations may differ in their ways of doing business will help me adjust and adapt better if I do ever have the opportunity to work with people/companies outside of the US.
Personally, there are even more things from this two week period that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I always knew that I was a very social person and really liked joking around with people, even when I was at school or work. I never put much thought into why I was like that, but after being in Ireland it was like everything made sense. I’m an Irish-American, and the way that the Irish people joke around and act is what I have been doing for years! I finally got to realize what it means to be Irish and found things that I can embrace as my Irish heritage. The traditions, the people, and the culture are all things that I found myself fitting into almost seamlessly. I felt like Ireland had been waiting for me and being there and learning about all these similarities allowed me to look deeper into who I am as a person.
All in all, there is so much that I learned in Ireland and will be taking with me into my adult life. Wrapping it up into one blog post is almost impossible, but the main message that I want to stress is that going and seeing another culture allows you to open your mind up. You see so much of the same thing when in the states, and getting a fresh, new perspective is healthy and educational.