Your Ireland To-Do List

By Lauren Ponsi

Photo credit: Photo by Madelon ????????

 

Your bags are packed, visa in hand and you’re off to start a new adventure in Ireland. Going to a new country can be a little bit scary and maybe even a little overwhelming. But, you’ve already made the biggest leap by taking a gap year.  Taking a gap year allows you to transition from tourist to local and after spending almost a year in Dublin, here are my tips and tricks to a year in Ireland

 

Dublin is an ever growing city with great diversity.  There is something always going on for everyone.

A big city with a small town feel

Dublin is an ever growing city with great diversity.  There is something always going on for everyone. Utilize social media to find out what’s happening within the city.  If you’re like me you want to find the Instagram worthy hot spots. I like to use the explore page on Instagram to find different places to go.  You can find great brunch spots, or those little coffee shops that wouldn’t pop up on your average tourist guides. Also, the events tab on Facebook is another great way to find what’s happening in Dublin.  This allows you to filter by where you’re living or even by your interests.

My favourite Instagram finds:

The Jar: Bottomless pizza on Sundays

Eat Yard: Food Truck like spot

Platform 61:  Insta worthy brunch

The Comedy Crunch: Free comedy show (with free ice cream) at the Stags Head

The George:  Amazing Drag shows

 

 

Photo credit: Adam Markon

‘Round the Island

With the whole country the same size of the state of Indiana, it’s not hard to get out of Dublin for a day.  Ireland is made of 26 counties and 6 counties part of Northern Ireland. Each county is unique to one another and you’ll find that such a small country is full of so much culture.  There are tons of day tours that will take you to the popular hotspots around the country. But, the public transportation around Ireland is also really simple to use. You can get to most places by bus or rail and sometimes just getting out of the hustle and bustle of the city is relaxing.

My Favourites:

Cork & Blarney Castle: Get the gift of gab and make sure to pick up some fresh finds at the English Market in Cork

Galway & The Cliffs: Travel along the Wild Atlantic way and see the breathtaking views of the west coast of Ireland

Belfast & Northern Ireland: layered with troubled past and Irish folklore. And fun for you fans of Game of Throne fans.

 

Photo credit: Cathal Mac an Bheatha

A Hop, jump and skip Away

Centrally located, Ireland makes traveling mainland Europe super convenient. Dublin is the home to budget airline RyanAir which you will have a love-hate relationship by the end of your gap year.  Utilize RyanAir’s frequent sales to travel on the weekends. With most destinations being no more than an hour to two away you can find yourself wandering the streets of a new city on a Saturday and be back in Dublin by Sunday afternoon.  At the beginning of your gap year create a list of all of your dream countries and cities to see, then list out your bank holidays (three day weekends). Bank Holidays are the perfect weekends to schedule that weekender away. I personally like to use flight and travel apps on my phone to set alerts on certain flights for bank holiday weekends.

My Favourites:

Skyscanner: Finds the cheapest flights available and allows price alerts

Hopper: Predicts the best time to book flights

EuropeWSA: plans guided and unguided weekend tours (great if you’re lazy at planning like me)

Now, this is only a peek into what to do on a gap year. Ultimately, the year is what you make it and the possibilities are endless.  Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try something you possibly never imagined. Transform from being that lost tourist to that knowledgeable local.  

Stinter Chats

We recently caught up with medical intern Téa Sue and asked her to tell us about her experience abroad. Téa interned at the pediatric hospital in Dublin. Outside of her internship, it seemed Téa had an awesome time traveling Ireland, making friends and exploring the city. So with further adieu, over to Téa…

Explain your internship in a nutshell

My internship was honestly unlike anything I had ever expected. I was excited but as the date got closer I got anxious and started to second guess my decision to go away. However, being and Ireland with the people I was with and getting to go to work everyday was amazing. I worked at one of the paediatric hospitals and the amount of new things I was exposed to was surreal. Not only was I exposed to many new things, but I also got to work with professionals in the field I would love to work in. How welcoming, informative and kind they all were really focused me in more on what I would like to pursue in the future.

 

How welcoming, informative and kind they all were really focused me in more on what I would like to pursue in the future.

What have you learned from your internship?

Academically, I have expanded on all my previous knowledge, not only by going into more detail about various concepts but also by being able to really understand everything I had learned by applying it to real practice. Professionally, I was fortunate enough to see the day to day life of a doctor, their schedules and how much work goes into what they do. 
(Téa exploring Dublin with some fellow Stinters)

What has been your favorite aspects of Dublin

I loved living with the people in the house and exploring all over Dublin. The atmosphere was brilliant, I loved how it was always lively and how there was always somewhere to go. Everything was within walking distance especially the historic buildings. I loved how much it contrasted with the city I grew up in. It really showed me the diversity that exists from country to country.
(Friends for life- Téa and Clare biking in Galway)


What has Stint helped you with?

Stint was a great welcome and support system throughout. I am very thankful for the internship placement I got. It was something I always imagined but knew I wouldn’t be able to get at home.


Your advice to anyone considering an experience abroad?

My advice would be to just go for it. Everyone has apprehensions, everyone’s in the same position. But speaking from my experience and others I know who have been abroad, everyone loves it and marks it as one of those experiences that really directs their future. 

Tips & Bits In A New City

Photo credit: Daryan Shamkhali

By Lauren Mhyra

 

So you’ve taken the leap to head abroad, new country, new city, fresh start! It’s exciting but can be nerve-racking to head somewhere with a clean slate.  Much like heading off to college for the first time there are those things you wish you knew from the start. So, here are my tips and bits for starting life in a new city.

Don’t expect things

My biggest recommendation is to not set expectations for yourself. You probably have done countless hours of research and scrolled through hundreds of Instagram pages and have a must-do-list. If you block out every minute of your stay you’re likely to miss out on the hidden gems you had no clue about. You’re going to be integrated with others in a similar situation as you as well as locals so you’re going to get tons of suggestions that weren’t necessarily on the ‘Top 10 must do in Dublin’ list.  Go with the flow, try out suggestions from colleagues and talk to your housemates about their interests.

 

My rule of thumb is if I can get it at home, I tend to pass on it.

 

Additionally, mentioning expectations, completely forgo any notions about home. Dublin is a modern and diverse city. There’s going to be tons of the same things that you can find back home. But you will come to find out that your regular order from Starbucks doesn’t exist here. You’ll be in a for a BIG let down if you are constantly comparing things from back home. My rule of thumb is if I can get it at home, I tend to pass on it.

 

Get the touristy bits out of the way first

Photo credit: Trevor Cole

 

The first few days you’ll likely have some free time. Do those big-ticket tourist items first to check them off so when people ask, you can say you’ve done it.  If you make friends with locals, they are likely not going to want to do the leprechaun museum with you. This also opens up your schedule to do other things when you begin to meet people. This is also a great way to learn your new city’s history and culture so you’re well immersed when you make friends with locals. When people are talking certain historical events, you’ll understand and you can point out an awful Guinness pour.

 

Learn the public transit system

Photo credit: Nico Baum

 

Learning to use the public transportation system is going to save you so much time and make your life easier when it’s down pouring rain. I was intimidated by the bus and afraid that I would look ‘stupid’ not knowing what to do. For 6 weeks I walked everywhere and if I couldn’t walk I said forget it.  I could have slept in a little more in the mornings and think about all of the things I was missing out because it was ‘too far’. Don’t let this happen to you, it might take a try or two to get it right but after a few rides, you’ll be able to do it in your sleep.

 

It’s okay to do things alone

Photo credit: Milan Popovic

You’ve already taken the leap to move to a country on your own. Don’t be afraid to go do the things you want to do regardless of if there’s someone to do it with. There are many ways to find events happening within Dublin, utilize them! Going off on your own allows you to step out of your comfort zone. You’re not shielded by the comfort of familiarity.

 

The best stories are found in the pages of a passport!

 

Travel Travel Travel

Photo credit: Paolo Nicolello

You’re living in a country that is accessible to so many wonderful places. You could have stayed home and watched Netflix in bed for free, why come do it in a foreign country? Whether you take a bus to the next town over or you splurge on that €50 Ryanair flight, just go somewhere. I like to head somewhere new at least once a month. The best stories are found in the pages of a passport!

 

If travel planning on your own feels overwhelming, you could always consider traveling through a program. At Stint Ireland, we provide experiences for those wishing to intern abroad, take a gap year or a combined experience. Our enquiry form is non-committal and we aim to ensure you are supplied with all the right information that you will need to make that travel dream a reality.  

An Internship Abroad

Blog by Lauren Mhyra (Photo Credit: Štefan Štefančík)

 

So you’re thinking of doing an Internship Abroad, whether it is a program requirement or you need a valid excuse to live your European dream while padding out that resume. An Internship abroad comes with so many more great benefits than just ticking off a requirement or some skill on a resume.

 

Here’s what they don’t tell you about interning abroad.

 

Photo credit: Kevin Lee

It’s going to be challenging

An internship is essentially a peek into what working full time in your respective field is like. So you’re going to be doing things you may have never done before, be ready to take whatever comes at you and don’t be afraid to ask questions.  The company knows you’re coming in with minimal skills and experience they’re not going to expect you to do brain surgery on the first day. But they also know you’re there to learn so expect to do things you might know how to do. No question is stupid, and you’re supervisors are going to understand if you don’t quite know how to do something. When in doubt, ask about it!

 

Ultimately this is your internship, make the most out of it.

 

Stint Ireland does an amazing job of placing you into an internship where they see you thriving the most. They take into account what your major is, what careers you’re thinking about and create a placement that works for you. Use this to your advantage, because, learning about an international company and forming relationships is just as important as the tasks you perform. Ultimately this is your internship, make the most out of it.

 

Photo credit: Aaron Kato

 

Adjusting to Cultural differences  

Many people say going to another country, you’re going to experience a culture shock. This is absolutely true, but they don’t say what aspects. When you intern abroad you’re going to live and socialize with people from all over. People are going to cook different food and have different habits than you’re not used to. But when you start your internship, you are going to be the different one, your colleagues are going to ask questions about your culture and the things you do. You’re going to notice your idiosyncracies more when you’re the so-called foreigner. Your colleagues might think something you say or do is funny but don’t take it personally, it’s new them too! (My Irish housemates laugh every time I say ‘awwh man’ after a small problem and I never realized I did that myself).

 

Accept the difference and you’ll come to find out that learning these things is an added bonus to the job title on a resume.

 

The work culture is probably going to be the biggest thing to adjust to, though I think this is the best way to assimilate to Irish culture. You’re going to find yourself learning the everyday differences in life. Like, how in Ireland trash cans are called bins, taking several tea breaks is acceptable and even going for an after-work pint with your boss is normal. Accept the difference and you’ll come to find out that learning these things is an added bonus to the job title on a resume.

 

Photo credit: Annie Spratt

 

Real life experiences

 

When you go back home and eventually have to explain what skills and experience you gained from your internship, you’ll, of course, share the work you did daily but there is so much more to the daily work. You could have easily learned to write that press release at the PR firm in your hometown, but along with this skill you put that you learned the brand of an international organization all while adjusting to life in a foreign country. When spending two to three months working in a foreign country, you’re going to gain personal skills you never even thought you needed.  From from living with unfamiliar people to navigating public transportation, you can share how all of the skills you gained from such tasks.

 

An internship abroad offers an opportunity for both personal and professional growth. Your boundaries are going to be tested and challenged in a 24 hours a day 7 days a week setting while you are abroad. You will develop a load of soft skills such as networking and communicating that will be beneficial in and out of the workplace that you might not get in an internship in your hometown. All while experiencing the greatness and beauty of Ireland.

 

Don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our team to hear more about Interning Abroad in Dublin.