After spending nearly 40 hours on our trip back to Pittsburgh with 22 of those hours being in the Newark airport, we definitely got our chance to say a long goodbye to Ireland. Now that I’m back home and well rested, I have begun to reflect back on our time in Dublin whether it’s on my own or by telling stories to friends and family.
When we first started talking about our trip all the way back in February, we were asked what we knew about Ireland. As a whole, we knew very little. Now, after living there for two weeks, I think we can definitely say that we know a lot more about Ireland’s history, their current economy, and what the future of the country is beginning to look like. Before visiting, I did not associate technology with Ireland at all, but as we focused our learning on the technology industry, my perspective really changed. I still think back to our lecture with Dr. Kelly and how much I learned in those few hours about the quick change Dublin has seen in very recent years in their economy and their society. What began as a country known for agriculture, has now become a hub for tech startups and young entrepreneurs. It especially helped that I see so much of Pittsburgh in Dublin and my understanding of Dublin has helped me further understand Pittsburgh now that I am back and can take a look around at the similarities. Friends and family ask me questions about Ireland that I would have had no clue how to answer prior to going, but I can now go into detail and combine the information that I learned in lectures along with my own observations to provide more insight for them.
As we met with the representatives of each business we visited, we not only learned more about the company as a whole, but we gained a more tangible business experience. We did as much research as we could on our companies to learn about them prior to visiting, but once we got there, our ideas changed, we were able to ask questions, and the learning was much more valuable. The internet can provide a lot of information, but the best way to learn about something, especially if it’s a company that you’re consulting for, is to go straight to the source. It helped not just talking to employees of the companies but seeing the space and making our own observations and interpretations allowed us get a better grasp on the future of our projects and what routes we wanted to take.
Though short, my experience in Ireland is one that I will take with me in my career. The most universal skill I learned and practiced (a lot) was adaptability. Especially when it comes to doing business, you must learn to adapt. We went into many site visits with expectations and sometimes those expectations were met, or even exceeded, and sometimes they were not. But, we had to take what we got, make the most of the experience, and figure out how best to apply it to not just our academic work, but to our overall life experience. One thing I learned about myself is that I am definitely an introvert. I already knew that, but this trip confirmed it. I loved spending time with everyone and had so much fun forming new friendships that will absolutely continue on back in Pittsburgh, but I was missing some of the alone time I often get at home. As much as I missed having down-time, I wanted to make the most of a short trip and am so glad I pushed myself out of my comfort zone to explore the city, restaurants, and stores even when I was exhausted. Our motto of the trip was “blossom where you’re planted” and with a little bit of patience (and some rain), we definitely blossomed in Ireland.