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My Irish Endeavors

July 28, 2016 • Tom Sowders • No Comments

The following post was written by Whitney Edmonds, a rising senior in the Bonner Leader Program at the Campus Y.  This summer Whitney has been  interning through the IES: Dublin Summer Internship program; she works at Volunteers for Youth as her Bonner community partner. 

In the beginning…

As the summer began its course, I looked towards my departure with an inconceivable amount of enthusiasm. Previously, I had only dreamed leaving our beloved USA in order to peruse a different setting with its own points of interests, people, and culture. Then, I just decided that that could be a now type of thing. Thus, after much preparation and one annoyingly delayed flight, my adventures began…

The Experiences…
Dublin-theater-seats2-e1469724221553Through the IES: Dublin Summer Internship program, I was placed at The New Theatre, a theatre company focusing on contemporary drama and newly written plays. In addition to performance theatre, the locale also hosts a variety of film clubs and special events. While my position title was left ambiguously as “intern”, it well covers the variety of task I carried out.  I initially served as a production intern during the preparation and run of a new play, Pink Milk. This included responsibilities such as observing rehearsals, painting sets, and attending get in (aka tech week). Moreover, after the very successful opening night, my duties became front of house oriented. At the desk/box office/concession stand (which are unusually all in one), I learned the processes of selling tickets, booking reservations, and serving concessions. While the front desk job can become mundane, it made plenty of time for socializing with my theatre loving coworkers as well as the bookstore owners who were quite politically amused by the upcoming American presidential election. During the event of Palfest (an arts festival celebrating Irelands support for Palestinians), I attended many of the events; some were held within the New Theatre space, others were located elsewhere but were available due to my coworkers who were highly involved in the planning of the occasion. It was interesting to experience the arts used for social justice oriented purposes and the progressive conversations that this propelled.  Preceding the end of Palfest, I subsequently returned to more consistent front of house duties. In addition to those task, I have been sent on quite a few miscellaneous errands (apparently this word is not used conversationally in the Irish culture) such as copying, purchasing tea/coffee/cups (which are in high demand in Ireland), distributing advertisements to places where us artsy people often visit (coffee shops, vintage stores, touristy places, etc.), and transporting borrowed equipment. Thus, I had many practical experiences while interning and gained knowledge/appreciation of other aspects of theatre beyond my specific interest in costume design.

Personal growth…


Lastly, I have to say that during my time interning abroad I have experienced a relative amount of personal growth. In other words, this experience not only gave me time to explore the field of my future career, but also to improve my social skills, evolve my social media usage, and become a more wholesome person. Briefly, I have to say it is literally impossible to be antisocial while in Dublin. The local people are just so eager to be interactive. My internship was in full support of random friends of the theatre stopping by for some casual tea and talking. I have noticed that the establishments in Ireland are particularly small, and due to that one’s personal bubble can only be so wide in circumference and conversations are promoted. While I found it to be a bit overwhelming waiting in coffee shops filled with 50 customers when there seems to only exist spatial room for about 30, I soon ceased to stress such inconveniences and be amused by the Dublin social scenes. Also, during my time here I have gained more social media competence. To clarify, as I spent my adolescence in a very rural environment where internet access is not plentiful, my existence on the World Wide Web was still in its developing stages and solely consist of Facebook & Pinterest. However, being in Ireland, I acquired way too many pictures and decided to share them with the world via Instagram. I see this as just the beginning of the growth in my online existence and social media competence which will be beneficial for career readiness. Additionally, my time here has provided me with the space to be more Whitney-in-Irelandaware of myself. I have noticed things like how I am so easily annoyed when deviating from a set scheduled such as being told to be in early to work and then no one being there to unlock the building because in Irish time, I have basically shown up early. I have also been more comfortable in being my true self. It is not that I have not been such before; I just have acquired a few too many societal filters. I did not realize how detrimental this was until I attained an increased amount of contentment in living in a place where no one knows me and living with people I will probably not see after my departure. While this all seems like a temporary haven, I hope to take this more me version of myself back to my home state and continue to frolic in the bliss of self-love.

In conclusion, my summer has been filled with moments of enrichment and inspiration to continue in my desires to create both theatre and social justice.

Special thanks to Carolina Global Initiatives, UNC Study Abroad, and all other supporters of my journey.

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