I remember back in the fall when I first heard about Plus3 from a friend, I thought it was a cool thing that the school offers, but never did I think it would be something that I now consider one of the best decisions I have ever made. I did not know what to expect going into it, but my expectations were certainly exceeded and then some. Every day of the trip brought something new, and I will look back on the memories I made on this trip for years to come.
The trip all began with a long flight, but once we arrived, we wasted no time and went on a hike in Howth, which was beautiful. We then had the chance to meet the friendly CAPA team, who made us feel welcome right from the start. Our hotel became our home for the duration of the trip, and we had a great experience at Stay City. The next few days were packed with exciting site visits where we got an inside look at some amazing companies. It was eye-opening to see how things work behind the scenes. We also had an unforgettable excursion to Kilkenny and the Wicklow Mountains, soaking in the stunning scenery. One of the highlights for me was when we traveled to the west coast and witnessed the awe-inspiring Cliffs of Moher and explored Galway. It was breathtaking. We wrapped up the second week with more site visits and a wholesome final dinner. Overall, my trip to Ireland was a blend of adventure, learning, and unforgettable memories.
I can confidently say I returned from this trip a more well rounded person person than before I came. Before I get into the professional advancements I made, I have to mention how much I gained simply from being emerged in a new cultural environment. I have never had an experience like this where I have been in a different country for an extended period of time, and it was truly special. Between the tours of Dublin, day trips, and simple things like dinners and nights in the pub, I learned an incredible amount about what life is like in Ireland. I gained a great appreciation for how friendly and laid back Irish people were, and it is something I am going to take into consideration back in the United States. I think that American people tend to get caught up in a fast paced life, and we can really learn something from the way the Irish carry themselves.
Onto a more professional side of things, the site visits and guest speakers allowed me to gain some valuable insight and even some tips and tricks to be more successful in the business world. I was truly impressed with how advanced Irish business practices are, and how much they have modernized in the last 20-30 years. Dr. Kelly discussed a lot about how things were not like this when he was growing up, and Irish people have more opportunities today than they ever have had. Dr. Kelly is somebody who I was fascinated by, as his stories and lessons were all so unique and well told. The site visits were really interesting, and it was my first real experience with outside the classroom learning. One of the reasons I wanted to go on this trip is because I was sick of only learning about business through lectures and power points, and I wanted a chance to see first hand (and in person) how various businesses operate. At the end of the trip we heard a presentation from Rob Cullen about networking, and it left me with many things that I think will come in handy in my future networking endeavors. Overall, this 2 week trip has been more valuable to my personal professional development than I think any class I have taken has. This isn’t to say I do not appreciate classroom learning, but this trip was special in terms of how much we were able to see and learn in just two weeks.
With all of this being said, I think my favorite part of the trip was the connections and friendships I was able to make. I was very nervous about the trip going in, because I barely knew anyone else going and I wasn’t sure I was going to have people to talk to and hang out with. I was dead wrong, and I ended up making some awesome friends and made tons of memories with everyone on the trip. Another reason I wanted to go on this trip was to step outside of my comfort zone and force myself to meet new people and be in a new country. I tend to hang out with the same small group of friends at Pitt, and I wanted a chance to meet some new friends which ended up being the case.