Week 2.5

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I have been working part time at the International Education Office at the University of College Cork, in Cork Ireland, going on 3 weeks now. Although I am tired of explaining to everyone I meet,

“No, it’s like a study abroad, but without attending classes… I’m interning abroad,”

it has been a fantastic experience so far.

The past two weeks were spent helping my staff prepare for the incoming students, and this week they started arriving. The student orientation staff here is run by an administrator, and a few hundred volunteers. They are quite a devoted and enthusiastic crowd, essentially serving as short-term RAs. I sometimes think that the RA role should be a voluntary position, so that only those who really want to make a difference will get involved, and it has been inspiring seeing what that looks like here at UCC, with pros and cons in comparison, naturally.

I was just telling someone today that I feel like I get the best of both worlds; I get to work at a college and be around international students hailing from all over Europe and the Middle East, and I get to work with a group of Irish staff members, spending lunch break and tea time asking them about what sights to see, local customs, Irish history and so forth. No homework is another added benefit.

My RA training has already been put to good use, and although people tilt their head when they hear I studied advertising in school, I think my experiences here will only help me think outside of the box later in my career/life. One of the most valuable parts of my experience has been getting submerged in a culture and away from “The States.” More on that later.

Being exposed to more diversity then I think I ever have, and being a minority, sometimes the only American in a room of 50 international students, has been incredibly eye-opening. I started a list of stereotypes the Irish have for Americans, but after meeting students from Germany, Austria, Sweden, Finland, France, Italy…. I had to start a new list all over again!

I will share those soon, but prepare yourself: most of the stereotypes are not positive.

Besides school/work, I have only been outside of Cork a few times to see a castle here and there, but I have more trips planned so stay tuned for photos.

Cheers!

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