Q&A Spotlight: Jonathan Bryson

Name: Jonathan Bryson
Major: Business Administration, ‘13
Hometown: Baltimore, MD
Destination: Dublin, Ireland
Institution: TU Dublin Summer Internship

Q1. How did you decide that Dublin was the right place for you to complete an internship?

I guess you can say Dublin chose me. The Study Abroad office sent an email regarding the Dublin internship and it fit my schedule PERFECTLY. The program fulfilled my remaining undergraduate credits. So I applied. Since I was accepted into the program I did not give much consideration to the other study abroad programs.

Q2. What was your daily workload like as an intern in Dublin? (commute, office hours, etc.)

My typical work week was Monday – Friday from 10 am – 5 pm. There were occasions where I would attend an evening event. This was a chance for me to meet more locals and see other parts of Ireland and England.

My internship was located in city centre. For my hour long lunch break I would often spend it walking around or eating out with coworkers.

I had a 35 minutes bus ride to/from work. It gave me a chance to look out the window and see different parts of Dublin.

As for work, I had one main project and a few side ones. Throughout the week I’d work on them by myself. At the end of each week I reviewed my progress with my supervisor to get feedback and make sure I was on the right track.

Q3. What has been the most rewarding part of interning abroad?

The most rewarding part of interning abroad was being able to help the company where I worked as they plan on expanding their reach in the community. Leading a project provided me the chance to make application of concepts taught at Towson and previous work experience. Since I was in a different cultural environment I remembered that I had to walk easy and try not to make too many assumptions, for things I thought may have been “right” may not have been the best fit in this Irish context.

Q4. And the most challenging part?

I was eager to accomplish as much as possible within my 6 weeks. The challenge that came up was having the occasional speed bump from having to wait for the approval from a supervisor or someone in a different committee. Even though it would have been preferable for this to not happen it was understandable to ensure disseminated information was consistent with the company’s strategy and image.

Q5. Were you able to travel? What are some of the highlights?

Many weekdays after work, I would either hang out with my coworkers or spend time with other Americans students participating in the program. The former showed me more of what people living in Dublin did, while the latter let me do more of the touristy things.

About half of the weekends a few friends traveled outside of the Dublin to places including Belfast, Galway, and London. My five day stay in London was one of the highlights. While there, I rented a bike and rode around so I could see as much as possible.

Another highlight was hearing the personal stories of people living in Ireland. Prior to going to Dublin and while there I learned about the conflicts between Ireland, Northern Ireland, and the U.K. When I spoke to someone with a connection to this history it made the experience so much more meaningful.

Q6. Did your time abroad meet your expectations? Did you feel well prepared from your time at TU?

This was my first time out of the country so I did not set too many expectations. However, I can say I enjoyed my time and I am glad to have participated. My college courses and previous internships prepared me. This was an excellent way to see make application of many of the concepts I learned.

Q7. Any advice for others considering a term abroad?

Do not be overwhelmed in the leading up to your returning home. My last week abroad I was ready to return to America.  I did not want to drag out having to wait to be home. It was that I no longer liked Dublin, but it was a subconscious way of mentally preparing  to leave what had become home for the summer.

Simultaneously, I was worried there might be important things I would miss seeing or doing. As a result I tried to cram as much as possible into my last week.

Not everyone makes the transition the same. Some students, a few weeks prior, were already anticipating their return home. But whatever you do, do not allow the thought of returning home shock you to the extent you do nothing with your remaining time.