Kaylyn spent Summer 2014 studying abroad in Dublin with CAPA International Education. During that time, she completed an internship with social media analytics company Olytico. Below, she talks about putting together a presentation for one of their clients and another task she took on that left an impact on their operation. She shares the places that she came to know as her Dublin and what her experience taught her about the world around us.
CAPA WORLD: Tell us a bit about yourself.
KAYLYN NESE: I studied with CAPA in Dublin during the summer 2014 term. I’m going into my last year at California State University, Long Beach where I’ve been studying Communications and Journalism. I’m originally from Newport Beach, California, a city in Orange County. Currently, I live in Long Beach, which is in between Los Angeles and Orange County.
Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love music. I typically go to a show at least once a week in LA or OC, seeing anything from local bands to ones that are more mainstream. I listen to a wide variety of genres but for the most part I’m into indie and alternative. A few of my current favorite artists are Mac DeMarco, Cloud Nothings, and Future Islands. Besides my love for music, in my spare time I enjoy writing and spending countless hours at coffee shops with my friends.
CW: What were your thoughts when you were sitting on the plane to Dublin?
KN: Overall, I’d say that I was really excited to be heading to Dublin but, of course, when you’re on a plane for 12 hours you can’t help but have those anxious thoughts creep into your head. I was mostly nervous about not really being familiar with the city or anyone in it. I had somewhat stereotype-fueled thoughts about how people were going to react to me being an American. Nonetheless, I was definitely excited about exploring the city and seeing all the beautiful scenery in Ireland.
CW: Where were the places you carved out as "Your Dublin" - the Dublin you found outside of the tourist sites, the places that were most meaningful for you? What was special about them?
KN: I’d say that a lot of “My Dublin” is comprised of food places! There’s a place on Harcourt Road called The Birdcage Bakery. I’d stop in there most mornings on the way to my internship for a coffee and scone. It’s a sweet little place with a friendly staff and delicious pastries. I’d also go with my roommate to a burrito place near Grafton Street called The Little Ass Burrito Bar for some amazing burritos and enjoy them in St. Stephen’s Green. I also can’t go without mentioning a late night diner on Camden Street called Tony’s Diner where we’d stop in for garlic cheese fries on the way home from a night out at the pubs.
CW: What surprised you about Dublin? What did you discover that went beyond your expectations or stereotypes that exist of the city?
KN: I don’t know if I was really surprised about this or not, but people are extremely friendly in Dublin! Most people will stop have a nice conversation with you if you approach them or they will help you with directions. This is also more about Ireland in general, but I didn’t realize how small the country itself actually is. It only takes about two hours to get to Belfast in Northern Ireland.
CW: You interned with Olytico while you were abroad. Tell us about your duties and accomplishments there. How will this experience help you in your future career?
KN: Olytico is a company that does social media monitoring and analysis for a variety of clients in Ireland. Most of my duties consisted of reading through social media posts, analyzing and determining relevant and irrelevant content. When I first started, I was basically given the opportunity to work on an entire presentation for a client that I was quite proud of. I couldn’t be more grateful for my experience at Olytico. All of my colleagues were so welcoming and friendly. Having the kind of analysis skills that I developed will definitely help me in my future career.
CW: Give an example of a valuable contribution you made to your internship site and how it has impacted the operation of the workplace.
KN: During the last half of my internship, I was asked to research different types of social media monitoring software. The way that Olytico monitors social media is through software that runs keyword searches that bring back the social media data. I was asked to look at some of the top software in the industry and set up calls and demos with the various companies. During my last week my colleagues and I presented what we found during the demos to the rest of the office. Overall, the project that I put together could potentially lead to Olytico using new software for their work.
CW: Describe your initial interview with Olytico. How did you prepare? What questions did they ask? What advice would you offer new students interviewing for an internship?
KN: In preparation for my interview with Olytico, I researched information about what they did and their background as well as reviewed basic interview questions. When I was interviewed we had a conversation about my previous work experiences and what I knew about the company. We also touched on what working at Olytico would be like. The best advice I could give is do a fair amount of research about the company ahead of time, have some questions in mind that you would like to ask the person who is interviewing you, and be yourself!
CW: What changes have you seen in yourself since you began your study abroad program? What has your experience taught you about yourself and the world around you?
KN: I found that my experience abroad has taught me a lot about appreciating cultural differences. For some reason, I had come to Ireland thinking that there wouldn’t be very many differences between American and Irish culture. Looking back, I’d say that’s a somewhat narrow-minded way to think. Although there are some similarities, there are a variety of differences. Being in Dublin has really taught me to appreciate those differences. Even though I live in a state that is a mecca for different cultures, I don’t think you can actually understand cultural differences until you experience them first hand. I’ve found that I’ve bettered my intercultural communication skills and my ability to adapt to situations or characteristics that are different from what I’m used to.
CW: How did you fund your time abroad?
KN: I had saved a decent amount of money before I came to Dublin by working all the way up to the day before I left. I actually have been very fortunate to have my dad as well as my grandparents help with a good amount of my expenses too.
Photo: Kaylyn with Summer's Official CAPA Vlogger, Emily
CW: Share one myth about study abroad that you can debunk for other students.
KN: I’m not entirely aware of there being myths about studying abroad but I can definitely offer my opinion about going abroad in general. If you have the time and the means to study abroad, do it! I can guarantee you will not regret it. You will make friends and you will get to know the city better than you think. Leaving home and experiencing a new culture is daunting at first but it really becomes liberating. I worked with an amazing company, saw Jack White in the pouring rain, pub crawled for my 22nd birthday and saw Ireland in a way I never thought I would. Don’t be afraid to be away for a few months; it will all be worth it!