Sarah Cuprewich - 2015 Program Participant
Just hanging around the gardens of Dublin Castle!
Why did you decide to intern abroad?
Being an environmental science major, it was important for me to see the world during my studies. The environment affects everyone in the world, so why not see how another country manages it? Intercultural competence is also a very marketable skill, and the ability to live and work in another country always excited me. I can't think of a better way to get to know a place besides actually getting familiar with the locals and being able to trade ideas with them in the workplace.
Why did you choose Connect-123?
I chose Connect-123 because of the great program they offered in Dublin. I knew I wanted to intern in Europe with a focus on the environment, and the sustainable development options available in Dublin really excited me. The level of guidance they provided was also perfect! Once in Dublin we were offered opportunities to meet other interns at social events, and the option to just go off on your own was always available. The help they provided with housing was also great, since I have no idea how to rent in another country on my own!
What was your favorite part about Dublin?
I absolutely love Dublin! I love the laid-back, fun atmosphere the city has (the large number of young people definitely helps!). I was honestly never bored, from the fun events in the city itself to the endless day trips available. Ireland is a fairly small country and nearly everywhere is accessible by public transportation, which was perfect for day trips or weekend excursions. The locals were friendly and helpful, and everyone I met seemed genuinely happy to talk with me and didn't make fun of my "American-ness".
The gorgeous beach at Tramore where we did field work
What made your internship placement unique?
The placement Connect-123 found me was absolutely perfect. I was interning in a position that mirrored exactly what I want to do once I graduate college, which helped me solidify my future plans! I believe this is unique because Connect-123 actually takes the time to find out your interests and dislikes, and gives you internship options so that you can be almost sure your needs and wants will be met, which is really comforting.
How did the local staff support you throughout your program?
We were given opportunities to meet with other interns in our city, which were facilitated by the local staff. These meetings ranged from grabbing a pint in a pub to day tours of local castles. These were great opportunities to meet other interns and make some friends with both other interns and the local staff. The staff also contacted me throughout my internship to ensure that I was happy with my placement and that I was adjusting to life in Dublin; it was comforting to know they were always there for us.
What's one thing you wish you would have done differently?
I wish I traveled more while in Dublin. Traveling around Europe once you're already there is much cheaper than traveling from America, so I wish I took advantage of these cheaper prices. I really love to travel, but my hectic work schedule made it difficult to plan trips too far in advance. At least I'm not familiar with some of the best spots in Europe that I can check out next time!
The beautiful (but scary!) cliffs of Howth that we climbed
Describe an average day in the life of your internship.
It's difficult to describe the "average" day, because I didn't really have any! I would come into my office in the morning, and sometimes my boss would email me instructions for projects for me to work on for the day. Those days were relaxing because I could work outside in the gorgeous weather and enjoy watching a game of cricket while I did my work. Other days my boss would meet me in her office and we'd run to a conference or workshop or presentation. Those days were fun because I never really knew what I was going to be doing that day!
What is one of your favorite moments from your time in Dublin?
One day my boss and I went to a presentation on the beach and we met someone who needed to show us a sewage leak right away, so of course we went right over, totally forgetting we were in dresses and nice shoes! We climbed down 40 foot cliffs and hiked across a stone beach to find and document the sewage leak. This was exciting because it gave me the opportunity to travel to a new town and once again explore the beautiful Irish coastline.
What type of accommodation did you have? What did you like best about it?
I lived in an apartment with three other housemates on the University College Dublin campus. I loved living with three other interns and we became great friends because of it! I also enjoyed having a kitchen and living area to relax and unwind after work. The location was also amazing; the bus stopped right on campus so I was never too far from the city center!
Relaxing at the amazing Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland
How has interning abroad impacted your life at home?
I feel much more independent and ready for the "real world" upon my return home. If I can handle living and working on my own in a foreign country what can't I do?! I'm excited to enter the job market and I feel confident that the skills I gained in Ireland will transfer to whichever job I choose. I have also never felt this confident in my choice of major and prospective job. This internship solidified my interests in the environment and biodiversity, and I'm very grateful for that!