Irish I Could Still be Abroad

Looking back on the two weeks I spent in Dublin,  I definitely gained a more holistic view as Ireland that I would have never gained if I hadn’t participated in the Plus3 program. Before, I had almost no knowledge of Ireland’s history, culture, and economy, but after the several site visits, walking tours, and guest cultures, I left with several new perspectives that I will take with me back to Pittsburgh and wherever I work in the future. 

Dublin reminded me a lot of Pittsburgh as they both have recently become known as “tech hubs” in their respective continents. In comparison, more startups and companies are headquartered in Dublin, but the tech industry in Dublin has been growing since the 1990s, while Pittsburgh only began welcoming them within the past decade. Despite this, I found a lot of similarities could be drawn in the fact that gentrification has become a topic of debate in both cities. 

Growing up in Point Breeze, a residential neighborhood adjacent to East Liberty, I’ve directly witnessed how a city can change from the entry of a new business. Ever since Google moved into Bakery Square, East Liberty has become the hot, new neighborhood, appealing to upper middle-class tastes. Unfortunately, as more economic growth has been brought to the area, there is worry that local residents may become displaced from rising rent prices. From Dr. Kelly’s lecture walking through the financial district of Dublin, it seems that Dublin is suffering a lot from the growing pains of rapid economic growth. As Ireland’s low corporate tax rate has lured several international companies to open European headquarters in Dublin, the city has attracted young talent from all over the world, especially from countries like Brazil, Eastern Europe, and other countries within the European Union. Unfortunately, as more people immigrate to Ireland, rising rent prices have caused a housing crisis. Reflecting back, I have new perspectives on the benefits and drawbacks of international business, and how it can affect the local population. Most importantly, I feel as though my stance on gentrification has been challenged with the several new perspectives I encountered on the trip. Being a registered voter in the city of Pittsburgh and will definitely impact the issues and policies I vote on in the future. 

My visit to Ireland was also inspiring as a business professional as I was able to visit companies that all have their own philosophies on how they believe they can make a difference in a world filled with an overwhelming amount of social, political, and economic issues. The sustainability-focused ad-agency, THINKHOUSE, believes they can make the world greener through the power of advertising, accepting and denying clients based on whether or not they align with their values. Through their efforts, they hope to gain the title of B Corporation, a for-profit company that meets the highest standards of social and environmental impact. In contrast, FoodCloud operates as a nonprofit with a mission of eliminating and redistributing food waste to communities that suffer from food scarcity.  On the other side of the spectrum, there are multinational-billion-dollar corporations, like Google, that are aware of how they have affected the local community and try to give back through various volunteering and charity efforts. After visiting so many companies, I realized that the business landscape in Dublin is just as diverse as its population, and I will most definitely keep them in mind when I’m looking for a full-time job in the near future.

Finally, on a more personal note, I feel as though I’ve grown a lot as a person on this trip, especially in regard to learning how to work within a group. When participating in a program like Plus3, you end up spending your whole day with people you would have probably never hung out with back on Pitt’s campus. By pushing yourself a little bit out of your comfort zone, you can learn how to not only work, but how to connect with people that come from different backgrounds. In the long term, I know this will be rewarding in both my professional and personal life. Thank you, Plus3 Ireland!

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