Interning (not Studying) Abroad

by · January 9, 2017

Clare O’Keefe is a senior public relations major at the college. She completed an internship in the summer of 2015 in Dublin, Ireland, and recently told Knight Life about her experiences.

In the summer of 2015, I was fortunate to intern abroad in Dublin, Ireland for three months. With the help of the Career Center and Study Abroad office, I was able to get an internship at the public relations agency Heneghan PR. I didn’t really know too much about interning abroad, so I assumed that it would be similar to studying abroad.

What no one ever told me about interning abroad is, it forces you to grow up and become an adult faster than you could ever expect. I was working 40-hour weeks, 9-5, Monday- Friday. The difference between studying and interning abroad is that while I interned, I truly learned about Ireland and the culture. Working in a small Irish office, I quickly immersed myself in the ‘’Irish’’ way of life. In my office, there were only 9 employees so I got to know everyone really well and they included me in almost everything. They all really made an effort to help me and make sure I understood and learned what public relations was. I found myself learning mannerisms, quirks, sayings, and the history of Ireland and their people. I didn’t just work in Ireland; Ireland really became my home.

Studying abroad gives you the opportunity to discover the world. Interning abroad gives you the opportunity to discover a new home. I lived in an apartment with six other students from all around the world. Some were from France, Spain, Italy, and some were Irish. Living in such a diverse apartment really helped me grow. It was fun to sit with people from around the world and discuss the differences in all of our cultures. Not to mention that most of the people coming in didn’t speak English – they were in Dublin learning English for the summer. You can imagine how difficult it was trying to explain the definition of the word ‘’both’’ or that a plumber is not a ‘’plumper.’’ As frustrating as it may have been at the time, I now look back and am so fond of all the different people I met who touched my life.

I went into interning abroad thinking that I was going to get great work experience and meet new people. While this was true, I also learned so much more. It’s great to succeed at your job at home, but to succeed at a job in a different country and to receive positive feedback is unlike anything else. From starting at my job, my confidence only grew. I took each step with more confidence and pride. I found myself smiling at strangers, saying yes to new adventures, and wanting to do more with my life. I felt in control of my life and that I was able to do whatever I set my mind to. The confidence I gained in Ireland is something that I will never lose; it will forever be a part of me.

All in all, my experience while interning abroad made me realize that I can accomplish my dreams. My summer abroad was successful because I let myself be pushed out of my comfort zone. The discomfort turned into adventure, laughter, and so many memories that I’ll hold on to forever.

Interested in studying or interning abroad? Visit, or reach out to our Director of International Programs, Ashley Knox, at for more information!

Clare O’Keefe, Class of 2017, is a public relations major from Montgomery, NY.