See You Soon, Ireland

I applied to the Plus3 Ireland program because I wanted to understand/experience international business. After spending two weeks in Ireland, however, I learned more than I could ever imagine. The knowledge and insights I have gained are something I would never be able to develop in a typical class setting at Pitt. Business aside, studying abroad in Ireland has gifted me wonderful friendships, memories I will forever cherish, and helped me grow individually.

Our in-country tasks included an analysis of an Irish business, attend guest speaker events, and tour various businesses in Dublin. The combination of these assignments exposed me to first-hand business operations, teaching me Dublin’s strengths as a business hub. Dublin is notorious for its opportunities for technology, research, and development. Nine out of the world’s top ten software companies are based in Dublin, including Google and Microsoft which I had the privilege to visit. The city is constantly growing with business due to the country’s favorable low corporation taxes and other government incentives, enabling massive growth for the tech industry. In fact, while looking out of the top floor at Guinness Enterprise Center, we saw the development in real life as dozens of cranes and construction were used to build new infrastructure.

My understanding of Irish business has expanded tremendously during my time in Dublin. Most notably, their communication styles is ideal for building strong relationships. In Ireland, the way you speak says a lot about you. They value the art of storytelling and conversation, allowing a candid and genuine connection between people. It is typical for the Irish to share stories, witty jokes, and display emotions in public. Their lively spirit does well in business, as most people enjoy working with them.

Understanding Irish business culture prepared me well for the meeting with my client at FoodCloud. I had a general idea of what to expect, similar to the traits I described above. My expectation that he would be outgoing was correct as the client actually thought that our group was really quiet! It was extremely beneficial getting to meet our clients because we were able to ask more questions, have more meaningful conversations, and of course, get to see how FoodCloud operates in real time!

I have discovered a great deal about myself, both professionally and personally. Professionally, I have learned that people really like my business attire! (All from Goodwill by the way :)) Just kidding. The most important thing I have learned is: it’s okay to not know what career you want. Most of the people we spoke with at the site visits work in a field or industry that has nothing to do with what they majored in at college. For instance, a man from THINKHOUSE worked at a hair salon before working in PR. The Google guides majored in Russian and Design before entering sales. This brought me comfort as I have no “dream job” in mind.

From a personal perspective, I felt strong connections to my family roots. My great grandmother, Bridget O’Donohue, grew up in County Cork, born into an impoverished family. When she was just 19 years old, she packed her bags, said goodbye to her mother and sister, and immigrated alone to Boston, MA. I am thankful for her courage, as I would not be alive today without it. Her story inspires me. I traveled to Ireland when I was just freshly 20 years old, right around her age when she left. We were the same age, traveling to/from the USA and Ireland, yet in completely different circumstances. I feel so grateful for the privileged life that I live, which is a life she didn’t. I am able to travel abroad, where my only worry is the jet lag. I am able to come right back home to my friends and family. I am able to attend college. This trip has taught me to appreciate everything I am so fortunate to have.

Signing off!

Kelly Shelton

P.S. I miss the fruity pancakes.

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