Sláinte to a fun, meaningful and educational experience in Ireland

It’s been a minute since I last posted as the semester has been in full gear.  Two weeks ago, I spent the week in Dublin, Ireland with my core course on our long study tour.  We took part in many extraordinary programs that I would have never been able to experience if not for DIS.  

Our advisors also mixed in fun cultural activities throughout the trip, and every meal was at a fantastic restaurant with an appetizer, entree, and dessert.  We took a bike tour of Dublin, met with some incredible professionals who shared their perspectives on entrepreneurship, and got a taste of Ireland’s national sport of hurling.

Highlights from my week in Ireland:

Google International Headquarters:  Most of my Google workplace knowledge comes from The Internship starring Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn.  Ever since I watched this film, I have always wanted to visit a Google office and access for myself if I had “Googliness,” a mashup of passion and drive that’s hard to define but easy to spot.   

We were able to meet with the Danish Google team themselves about Google culture, values, and what it is like to work there.  The vibrant, playful environment with micro fridges full of snacks is enough to make anyone want to submit their resume.  Also, Google is the tallest building in Dublin, so the views from the 13th floor were pretty sweet!

Pitching to Catherine Moonan:  My class is an entrepreneurship class, so we have been working to develop startup companies all semester long.  As we near the end of the semester, we are composing pitches.  To practice for our final pitch presentation, my professor arranged for us all to perform in front of the pitching coach of Dragon’s Den, the UK equivalent of Shark Tank.  Although public speaking sometimes intimidates me, it was definitely a rewarding experience and Catherine was a gem.

Bike Tour of Dublin:  “So it’s just my theory but I reckon if you’ve got bad weather (which we’ve got), oppression (750 years with the British Empire), and alcohol (maybe Guinness, whiskey) … put those in a Calderon, whip it around, and who knows maybe Nobel Prizes start whipping out like popcorn.”

This was the message our bike guide shared with us as we stopped at Bernard Shaw’s home, who was awarded the 1925 Nobel Peace Prize in literature.  Seeing the city of Dublin by bike on a cold and rainy fall day gave us a true sense of the Irish lifestyle and hearing our guide’s stories made it a memorable experience.

Kitman Labs Visit:  In addition to site visits as a class, we had the opportunity to break into smaller groups and choose companies we were interested in meeting with.  For my visit, four of my classmates and I had the opportunity to go to Kitman Labs, a sports-based technology software company designed to manage athlete health and performance.  

We met with Kevin, a senior executive and former professional Rugby player.  Meeting Kevin and seeing his authentic passion was a valuable experience.  I was especially touched by his commitment to culture; he was able to break down his company and explain in such simple and meaningful terms how he strives to create a great environment.

Kitman Labs Visit
Kitman Labs Visit

Malahide Castle:  On our culture day, my class hopped on a bus and headed to Malahide Castle.  This had a real Irish feel with simple decor and irrestibly lush green grounds.  As we approached one of the bedrooms, our guide shared a story of a man who is said to be trapped in a closet seeking lovers — she told my classmates and I to watch out leaving us all rolling in laughter.  After spending time in the castle, we headed out to the grounds and got to explore the magnificent outdoor space.

Malahide Castle

Howth Coastal Hike:  After Malahide Castle, we headed to a charming suburban fishing village north of Dublin called Howth.  We went out for a delicious lunch overlooking the village before heading out on a guided hike.  Visiting Howth provided a peaceful opportunity to get away from the capital and see the beauty of Ireland.  I loved sharing stories with my classmates and learning more about the history of the country.

Guinness Storehouse:  After our site visits, we headed to Guinness Storehouse for a tour.  I am not super into dark beer, but Guinness was cool regardless.  It is actually the most visited tourist destination in the whole country of Ireland!  The tour takes you through each step of the beer-making process, including fountains, light displays, and exhibits that make it fun and exciting!  Also, at the end there is a rooftop bar with 360-degree views of Dublin!

Trinity College:  Trinity College is absolutely beautiful.  If I could sum it up in one word it would be: green!  The grounds are vibrant; there are beautifully blossomed trees everywhere.  It just gives off those quintessential European university vibes.  My host brother and I are currently rewatching the Harry Potter series and walking around the campus, specifically the library, gave me the impression of visiting Hogwarts.

Overall, I had an absolute blast on study tour.  My class grew so much closer throughout the week, and I’m definitely sad to say that we only have one class left.  I’m thankful for DIS, my advisors, my teammates, and my fellow classmates.  I will always look back on this trip fondly.  So many laughs shared, fish and chips eaten, Sláinte’s said, and memories made.

I can’t believe my semester abroad is nearing its end. My parents are visiting starting this weekend for Thanksgiving Break and we are traveling to Budapest, Vienna, and Prague.  I can’t wait for more adventures ahead.

Until next time.

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2 thoughts on “Sláinte to a fun, meaningful and educational experience in Ireland

  1. only one word …jealous… congrats on a super semester learning experience

    Liked by 1 person

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