The Benefits of working abroad

In a previous blog post, I mentioned that since being abroad I have been completing a semester-long internship with a local company, Brand X. BrandX is a local company in Dublin that focuses on advertising, marketing, gaming and in house technology services. I’m currently in my third year at Elon University, where I major in Computer Science with a minor in digital art. Within my internship, I primarily work on building wireframes for client’s mobile and web applications, alongside the Creative Director. I have held different types of jobs within the United States before and during my college career, from being a supervisor at a shoe store, a cashier at an arts and craft store, and working at a cafe. 

Despite my experience working in different roles and in varying levels of responsibility, the working culture in Ireland took me a bit of time to adjust to. Even now, more than halfway through the duration of my internship I still myself learning new similarities and differences in the working culture in Ireland to America. In contrast to the United States working culture, Irish companies value flexibility, informality and a jack of all trades type of worker. Titles aren’t typically used in Ireland within the company to define and restrict one’s roles, responsibilities and daily duties. As a result of the Irish culture being more relaxed, coffee breaks throughout the workday are quite abundant and the lines between the hierarchy of each person to another are very blurred. It took me until about a month into my internship to realize that one of my co-workers was in fact not a coworker, but an owner of the company.

When I originally arrived in Ireland I thought that I had figured out my career path and had revised my resume, portfolio and finally determined what kind of career path I wanted to pursue after college. Since beginning my internship at BrandX, I have been fortunate enough to complete a task related to what a software engineer would be doing on a daily basis. These opportunities have allowed me to learn new software and skills like Sketch, Invision, UX and what software and skillsets are attractive to foreign countries. While any company or program can teach technical skills like new software or applications, I have also been able to continue to build my soft skills. 

Working at a company in a completely different culture has taught me a valuable lesson in being able to assert my skills and comfortability doing certain tasks, while not being overconfident or coming off as being cocky. My internship at BrandX has awarded me multiple opportunities such as working on large projects and making creative decisions that ultimately make a difference in the designs of client’s web and mobile layouts. Leaving the United States for the first time was a daunting challenge that took a year’s worth of planning, but it was definitely worth the hardships and late nights researching different programs that would best fit me. Ultimately, I am so glad that I choose to study abroad in Ireland and combine it with an internship. I have been able to gain more work experience in the field I hope to go into after college than I would have been able to do due to the difficulty and overcrowding of my major in the United States. By completing an internship abroad I have not only been able to gain new skills, but also work on further developing skills I didn’t even realize would be important to my future career.


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