As our two-week journey in Ireland inevitably came to its close, I can officially say I am in my post study abroad depression. No more fruity pancakes, rainy weather turned beautiful, or even those crazy crying seagulls. Although I was quite nervous to embark on an adventure like PLUS3, I am so so grateful to have completed and experienced this trip.
With the main focus of PLUS3 Ireland being on tech start-up/innovation/entrepreneurship in Dublin, it is only fair that I reflect on the business landscape and culture after visiting given our discovery process pre-trip and the research we did before we came face to face with Dublin and the innovation hub that it is. From huge multinational corporations like Google and Microsoft, to smaller locally known businesses like Auxillion and FoodCloud, we got to see firsthand how the lesser known corporations work compared to that of the Fortune 500 companies, and also how the Irish culture intertwines with business. It was so interesting to see this dynamic and begin to understand just how much culture can play in a situation when it comes to business. Being present with the company helped us connect the dots and understand how the history and culture of Ireland influences its day to day business. Our walking and bus tours around Dublin helped us gain an understanding about what Dublin means to Ireland in terms of being a tech and innovation hub, and why that is the way it is. It was great to learn the history of Ireland including the great emigration due to the potato famine, and how Ireland is working its way back to its pre-famine population, with efforts through the economy and the technology sector. I felt that throughout our trip, everything just started to make more sense, and all the research and things that we learned started to come full circle.
I think I learned that it is of utmost importance to listen. As a business consultant, it can probably be easy to talk the client’s ear off, but we learned that a great business consultant will always listen intently first. Especially in Ireland, and other foreign countries, it is important to understand and pay attention to cultural cues in order to have a successful engagement with your client. Therefore, as a business professional, I learned a great deal of how to interact with other business professionals, and instead of coming up with a list of things to say, it is important to ask questions and listen.
Overall, I am so grateful for this trip, and I appreciate everything and everyone who participated in this program. I met some lovely people on this program, and I am so happy with the friendships and bonds that we created. I loved how we all worked together everyday to make sure the trip was the best we could make it. You know how they say “when life gives you lemons…”
Ireland surely gave us lemons, and we most definitely made lemonade.