A PR Internship for an Irish Girl-at-Heart
She has Irish roots, but it was an internship through ELI Abroad that first took Courtney to Ireland.
“I’m the first in my family to make the trip,” Courtney says. “Now I can’t wait to go back and this time take my mom.”
Courtney, a PR Communications and Business student in Pennsylvania, spent four weeks in Dublin, working at a small PR agency outside the city, where she relished putting her classroom experience into real-world use.
“One of the most exciting things I discovered in Ireland is that I’m learning practical things in college that I can apply to a business setting right away. On the first day of my internship, I was asked to write a Press Release, and my supervisor liked what I wrote. So the internship was a nice confirmation that I AM learning in school. I DO have skills.”
Her host mom also proved invaluable in making sure Courtney knew how to get to her job, which buses to take, and what connections to use. Helpfulness seems inherent in all Irish people Courtney met.
“Everyone in Ireland seems to be caring and helpful. I felt well looked after!”
That includes Courtney’s bosses, who included her in all the day-to-day agency activities, and made sure she was learning on the job.
“We did different things every day, depending on who the client was,” she recalls. “I was able to sit in on client meetings, help prepare proposals, observe prospective-client pitches, and I even got to present a “mock proposal” to hone my presentation skills.”
In the evenings, Courtney usually chose to spend time with her host family, which included a single mom, her 18-year old son and 10-year old daughter.
“Living with them really gave me an insight into everyday life in Dublin,” she says. “I grew close to them and felt very much at home there.”
Every two weeks, ELI’s coordinators in Ireland arranged an informal get together at a pub (naturally) for international interns to meet, hang out, exchange stories and build friendships.
“That was one of the best parts of my stay. I met so many new people, interns from Italy, Germany and Austria.” She joined them on weekend paddywagon excursions and traveled - with a group, or by herself - to Galway, Belfast, Giant’s Causeway, Cliffs of Moher, Killarney and other iconic destinations.
“Ireland is so beautiful, yet it’s also very much as I imagined it: green and lots of sheep!”
While traveling, Courtney often faced questions about American politics. “'What you think of President Trump is a common question,” Courtney remembers. “I would avoid the subject. I’d say, ‘I don’t do politics,’ though the Irish people love to discuss it. That and the weather!” she laughs.
If she had to do it again, Courtney would choose a longer placement.
“When I first signed up, a four week internship seemed long. But it flew by! I was just getting very comfortable with living and working in Ireland when it was time to leave. I wished to stay longer.”
Asked what she’d advise a prospective intern, Courtney doesn’t hesitate.
“Do it. You will learn so much about yourself, and your field. Don’t be afraid to do things alone: Dublin is small, safe and you’ll quickly learn how to get around. The people are very warm, and I learned to talk to anybody, even random people on the bus!”
She says consider staying as long as you can. “Four weeks is OK, but I wished I could have spent more time at my placement, and in Ireland. The cost of the internship is very reasonable, it’s a good price for everything that’s included. I especially appreciated having breakfast and dinner taken care of, since I ate at home, with my host family. Having to pay for three meals in Dublin would have been pricey.”
What’s next for Courtney? Finishing her degree, graduation and -- fingers crossed -- a return to Ireland.
“It was a great experience.”