Amy Barlow - 2016 Program Participant

View out a window at Parkes Castle in County Leitrim, Ireland

View out of window at Parkes Castle

What inspired you to go abroad?

I wanted to have an adventure before starting work. I really wanted to do something I wouldn't normally do.

Why did you pick Dublin?

I chose Dublin because I wanted to visit a place I had never been before. I heard that people in Ireland were friendly, but, when I got to Dublin, everyone I met was even nicer and more welcoming than I imaged.

What surprised you most about Dublin?

What surprised me the most was how nice people were. I had heard that people were friendly in Ireland but didn't expect them to be so kind and willing to help me out when I got lost. Also, it is so green in Ireland. I had known that Ireland was green because of the rain, but everywhere I looked, I saw green fields.

What was your favorite part about Dublin?

My favorite thing about Dublin was the food, especially the chocolate. The food I ate in Dublin was spectacular. Everything I ate I enjoyed.

What made your experience abroad unique?

The people I met, whether in pubs or museums, made this experience unique. They had such a warming demeanor. If I had a problem trying to figure out where I was, I just asked them.

How helpful was the local Connect-123 staff?

The local staff was great. I had to move from my first house to the recent house, and they didn't have a problem with it. They were very accommodating, and if I had a problem I could contact them.

What's one thing you wish you would have done differently?

I wish I would have met more people while in Dublin. I am a shy person and didn't get a chance to meet new people. It would had been nice.

Describe your typical day at your internship.

On Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, I worked at my internship, doing tasks such as laminating flyers, answering the phone and booking in clients.

What did you enjoy doing in your free time?

I joined a group called Connect-123 while in Dublin. We had many outings to different places. That is where I met many of the girls who were also in my program.

What was your accommodation like? What did you like best about it?

I liked both of my accommodations. I liked that it was more modern than what I am used to. All of the amenities in the house were great. It was great to have a washer and dryer in the house, instead of having to go to a laundromat.

Any words of wisdom for future program participants?

You will get homesick. When I arrived in Dublin, I was hit by homesickness. It will pass as the weeks go by. It also helps to talk to the program coordinator about how you are feeling.

Strandhill Beach in County Mayo, Ireland

View from Strandhill Beach in Co. Mayo

What was the hardest part about going abroad?

The hardest part was being away from home. I am very close to my family. But, it helped to talk to them on the phone and through Facetime. I also tried to have activities to busy myself with, so I wasn't thinking about home all the time.

The other thing would have to be getting acquainted with Dublin. I had trouble with the bus system in Dublin; it took a few days to figure out and get the hang of.

What is one thing you wish you would have known before interning abroad in Ireland?

I wish I would have known to bring more warm clothes with me. When I was planning for the trip to Ireland, I wasn't sure what to bring with me. It mostly rained when I was in Ireland, except for a couple days of sun. I also wish I had known about getting around in Ireland. I got lost a bunch of times until I got the hang of walking around Ireland with a map.

Do you have any packing tips for individuals headed to Dublin?

I would say to make sure you bring clothes for warmer and colder weather. The weather is difficult in Ireland because it can be rainy or sunny. It is temperamental. I would make sure you bring adapters (as many as you can!) because the outlets in Ireland are different than in the United States. You want to make sure you can charge your phone without having to purchase a new charger.

What do you feel the biggest benefit of interning abroad is?

The biggest thing about interning is experiencing a different culture and language. It is great to leave your usual surroundings and go somewhere where the surroundings look different. It also looks good on a resume to have them see that you are well-traveled and that you went to all these different places and learned something.

What did you enjoy most about your international program?

I had a great experience in Dublin, and I met people and learned the culture.

Would you recommend Connect 1-2-3 to others? Why?

I would recommend this program to anyone who wants to get out of their comfort zone. It really makes you get out of your comfort zone, being in another place.

If you could intern abroad again, where would you go?

If I could intern abroad again, I would go to either Australia or Paris. I have always wanted to travel to Australia because it has been a dream of mine to work with companies in Australia and try to learn the language. I would travel to Paris because my parents have been there, but I haven't gotten the chance to travel there. It would be great to learn French while living in a nice home.