An American in Dublin
by Mary Kate Joyce
“’Sláinte!” said the barman when he placed an Irish coffee and a frothy pint Guinness in front my travel buddy, Andy, and I at the Dublin airport. Cliché choices of beverages? Yes, but after a long flight and a lengthy wait to pass through Immigration, the two of us couldn’t wait to get into the Irish spirit.
“Sláinte,” we toasted and clinked our glasses, “Here’s to a semester in Dublin!” This was the first time either of us had ever heard the Irish language spoken. We would soon learn, on our first day of class, that Sláinte is the Irish equivalent to ‘cheers.’
Sláinte is a word we started to use quite frequently in Dublin, maybe because we are tourists but mostly because we love Dublin, and have had an absolute blast living here!
From an American’s point of view, Ireland is amazing. From an American student’s point of view—it is even better! I am in Ireland with 32 other students on the Boston University Dublin Internship Program. We spent the first eight weeks of our stay taking classes at Dublin City University in Irish history, literature and culture Monday through Thursday. Many of these classes consisted of off-campus fieldtrips; we visited the Hill of Tara, Glendalough, Northern Ireland, Kilmainham Jail, the Dail, the Yeats Exhibition, the Gaiety Theatre and experienced a 1916 Rising themed walking tour of Dublin. During the eight weeks we had Fridays off from class to experience Dublin or to travel; I was lucky enough to travel to Galway, Munich for Oktoberfest and Paris for a long weekend. After the initial eight weeks we took final exams and had ten free days to travel, I spent my time backpacking through Spain, Morocco and the South of France. Three girls, ten days, five cities and one camel ride later, I returned to DCU for eight weeks of an internship with Elevate PR.
Students on the BU program are placed at the internships based on an essay and a phone interview with a company called EUSA. I was placed with Elevate PR—a perfect match. With a client list that ranges from Aqua Beauty to Veuve Clicquot, I could not be happier…after all, champagne and cosmetics are two of my favourite things! When I was invited to attend a photo call for Yantra Mat on my second day of work I was thrilled and things only got better from there. Since then, I have been given the opportunity to meet clients, attend brainstorming sessions, write press releases, competition copy and e-alerts and even help out at the RTE Off The Rails fashion show. My classmates who make coffee all day and mindlessly enter data in excel worksheets are jealous.
Living in Ireland has been everything I expected – and more. Of course I expected green grass and tons of pubs…but Dublin is a fantastic city. The things I have enjoyed most seem to be things my friends and I have accidently stumbled upon while wandering the cobblestone streets in this walkable city. Places like The Cake Café, Cornucopia and fresh outdoor markets in Temple Bar took us by surprise and became our favourite spots to hang out on the weekends. One of the things that is most striking about Ireland is how friendly the people are. Everyone I have met, from my co-workers to strangers on the street who have given me directions, have been unbelievably friendly. Everyone in Ireland has a story to tell and loves to share.
As with anything, of course, Ireland does have its downsides: the exchange rate of the Euro, the non-existence of Pumpkin Spice Lattes at Starbucks and the endless rain—even when the sun appears to be shining. But those things are a small price to pay to have the opportunity to experience such an incredible city filled with tremendous people. Sláinte Dublin!