As part of studying abroad with Champlain College, one of the many opportunities you can take advantage of is working an international internship. In the year 2019 alone, 25 students applied, interviewed, and finessed their way into internships with companies and organizations in Dublin. It’s a huge opportunity that will not only look good on a job application later down the line but will also teach you many valuable skills. I’ve been asked to share my experiences on what an international internship in Dublin might entail, how it differs from American internships, and some of the projects I have gotten up to.
Where am I working?
My internship this semester is at Books Ireland, a literary review and news magazine. Books Ireland focuses on publishing all the up-to-date news on Irish published, written, and interest books. The piece of the magazine that makes it unique is the comprehensive list of Irish published and written books called First Flush.
What have I been working on?
I have gotten to participate in and work on a myriad of different projects since I started working for Books Ireland in September. I would list them all here because they have each impacted my experience in a different way, but I’ll stick to the highlights. For the November/December issue of the magazine, I had my hand in three different articles. I got to contribute to the first flush by writing short 30 word descriptions of the books that came in from publishers. I wrote an 800-word piece on the fiftieth anniversary of the bookshop and publisher Veritas Bookshop. The piece focused on how the company has changed and evolved over the years. I got to go in and interview the head of marketing for the publishing part of the company in order to write the piece. The last major project I got to work on was writing the copy and doing the design for a book catalog for Wordwell and Eastwood publishing. Wordwell is the parent company of Books Ireland so I was brought on to do the project for them.
What is the most frustrating part so far?
I have been incredibly lucky and haven’t had very many if any frustrating things happen. I think the biggest frustration I have come across is that I have not been able to attend all of the events that my internship has invited me to. Classes and other things have been keeping me quite busy outside of my allotted internship days. I just wish I had the ability to attend and see everything they have on offer.
What’s the biggest difference between an Irish internship and an American one?
The biggest difference that I have noticed is the workload. In an average American internship, you will be placed on one or two projects for a three to four-month period and that would be all you would do in that time. Here, things get turned over pretty fast, so I have had to speed through a few projects that I wished I had more time to work on. The other big difference is in how the higher-ups interact with the interns. Everyone is much more casual about both their speaking manner and how they ask their employees to do tasks. They will never be as bossy as you can see American bosses be. They are more likely to ask you kindly if you wouldn’t mind doing something “if you have the time” than they ever would be to directly ask you for something to be done. They will also be vague in their directions. The bosses expect you to be able to handle a certain level of work coming into the internship and will not spell things out for you every time.
What have I learned about my career from my internship that I didn’t know before starting?
I have learned a lot of valuable information and skills from my internship so far this semester. The one thing I learned that stood out the most is how to market a book in a crowded market. Wordwell produces beautifully crafted and written books on Irish history, but Irish history is a very crowded market in Ireland. There are many competing publishers who create books in the same genre but with a higher budget. What I have learned through this is how to find and make contact with the niche audience that will be the main buyers of the book you are producing.
I have done nothing but enjoy myself during this internship. I cannot recommend doing an Irish internship enough. Not only will you have the chance to meet some really cool people and make some amazing contacts, but you will also have the chance to learn something about how your future industry runs halfway around the world.
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