After having time to reflect on my trip to Ireland, I can confidently say that I have expanded my global perspective. Before departing on our two week excursion abroad, we had some classes where we discussed brief overviews of Ireland’s political, economic, social, and technological environments. As a result, before going on the trip, I only had a small glimpse into Ireland and its culture. These classes also shed light on some Irish stereotypes which we were encouraged to look for and challenge on our trip. By being truly immersed into the country, I was able to see Ireland in a whole new light and was able to challenge commonly held stereotypes. I learned that Ireland is actually a relatively young country as they only gained their independence in the early 20th century. Also, through our conversations with some of our Irish tour guides, Darragh and Dr. Kelley to name a few, I learned how Ireland’s past has shaped the country into the thriving island that it is today as well as why some social and economic issues persist even today. One stereotype that was challenged was that there are a lot of redheads in Ireland. However, on the trip, I cannot recall seeing many, and in fact, I think I see more redheads in the U.S!
Despite the relatively short nature of this Plus3 program, I was able to gain an entirely new perspective and appreciation for what Ireland has accomplished. Its people are passionate and friendly, and their land is beautiful and full of deep rooted history and culture. By going abroad through a business lens, I was able to observe how even though people may have cultural differences when conducting international business, what is most important is finding common ground. When it comes down to it, in order to navigate cross-cultural communications, you must find ways to relate to each other on a human level to start relationships.