Onward and Upward (14)

As predicted, our two weeks in Dublin flew by, and I am sad to be writing what will be the final addition to the blog. Thanks to my loyal readers, including Bradley Miner, Liz Adams, and my mom. I think keeping this blog was a valuable way to document the experience instead of just taking pictures– this way, we were encouraged to think critically and reflect on our experiences in a way that will stick with us for years to come!

Emotions were high among our group on the last day; everyone was very sad to leave Ireland and each other. No more Siroos breakfasts, no more Wild Rover tours, no more Darren from CAPA. We can all hope for a reunion in Oakland in the fall, and who knows, maybe a Dublin reunion down the line.

Nonetheless, I found my time on the Plus3 Ireland program to be extremely valuable. What drew me to this program was its focus on innovation and technology and its convenient timing of being right before I start a technology-related internship. Since I had already gone abroad prior to Plus3, the international component was nothing new, as I expected Dublin’s culture to be very similar to London’s.

To my surprise, my experience in Dublin differed greatly from London. Despite being in London four weeks longer than I was in Ireland, I was able to take in the sights, surroundings, and culture of Dublin much more than in London. As my London program was more individualized, much of the navigation through the city was to be done alone. As this helped me become acquainted with the city and the tube lines, since I was always on the go (whether that be to classes, my internship, or in a search for study space), I was a lot busier and had less time to experience being abroad. I gained a lot of professional experience, but the program’s focus was not on learning about London’s cultural/political/economic history; looking back, that is something I would have liked.

In Dublin, Brad and Liz selected site visits and tours that allowed us to learn about the company itself and its surrounding area. As we learned, these companies and their locations are embedded with Irish history that tell unique stories that signify Irish pride. Equal attention was given to learning relevant, useful information about the internal business component of the companies and each one’s significance in a broader Irish and global context. This made each site unique and memorable. Also, in classes and through the blog prompts, we were encouraged to evaluate ourselves in the context of what we were learning; for example, by incorporating the Clifton StrengthsFinder into our Talenthub guest lecture, we gained perspective that was of personal relevance.

Overall, I learned so much from this experience, extending beyond the academic and professional component. As someone who has always been a stringent planner, I learned to become comfortable with unknown and ambiguous situations. Not knowing exactly where we were going or what we were doing the next day became part of the routine, and I accepted this feeling as an opportunity to learn to be a more flexible person. As I enter into an internship that will have me traveling from location to location with short notice, I will need to be able to work flexibly and without a strict plan. Plus3 emphasized this as a vital skill to have as a professional, and I believe each student on Plus3 Ireland came back to Pittsburgh a little more adaptable.

Thank you to everyone who made this program an opportunity for this group of students! What an unforgettable experience. Goodbye Plus3 Ireland– onto the next thing!

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