CAPA Study Abroad Interview: Jane Kirkpatrick
JANE KIRKPATRICK: My name is Jane Kirkpatrick. I am interning abroad in CAPA Dublin. I study marketing and information technology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. I was a dancer for my entire childhood: pointe, ballet, tap, jazz, modern, ballroom, you name it! I love to travel and have completely fallen in love with Europe.
CW: Talk about your pre-departure experience. What was the process you went through? What were your worries?
JK: I had heard from a lot of graduating seniors at my school that not studying abroad was their biggest regret in college. I know that I never wanted to have any regrets in college, so I made studying abroad a priority.
I started preparing to go abroad in September, but I had mentally prepared to go since I was a freshman in college. However, I didn’t start packing until the day of my flight (big mistake!).I researched on UMass’s International website and picked a few programs to think about. I went to the United Kingdom and Ireland on an ambassador program when I was in 6th grade, and knew that I either wanted to study abroad in London or Dublin. I don’t remember why I eventually chose Dublin, but I knew I either wanted to go to Trinity College or get an internship with the CAPA program. By choosing CAPA, I knew I was going to have a more advantageous experience because I would be able to gain cross-cultural awareness in the marketing industry.
I started planning by going to a CAPA information session at UMass’s International Programs Office. I spoke with CAPA ambassador Daniel Rodriguez and his enthusiasm completely convinced me to go. I then filled out my application within a week, got my background check, asked my professor and boss for recommendation letters, canceled my housing, and sent in my checks. I learned how to properly write a CV from April Stroud. Apparently, Isenberg business students really need to tone it down on the bragging in their résumés because Europeans don’t like to boast. After my CV and cover letter were finished, I bought my plane tickets and that was it! International students going to Ireland don’t apply for their visas until they arrive in Dublin, so that was easy.I really worried about being away from home for so long, since I’m really close with my family. Now that I’m here though, I’m too busy and happy to be sad. I was also worried that I wouldn’t meet any Irish people, but my internship has opened up a whole network of people to meet.
JK: Dublin is probably the most amazing and friendliest city I’ve ever been to. Originally, I was very nervous to live in a city. Dublin is beautiful in itself, but I think everyone comes along with a postcard-Ireland impression in mind. I thought of hills, greenery, mountains, and sheep, but I got an urban city on the water. Granted, the hills and valleys aren’t more than a bus ride away! I visited Scotland one weekend and fell in love with Edinburgh, but it’s the Irish people that make you miss Dublin. It’s crazy to me that no matter where I travel in Europe, I get homesick for Ireland. I’m even barely homesick for Massachusetts when I’m in Ireland. There’s just something about this place that really feels like you’re being welcomed with open arms. I just hope it never lets go of me.
JK: I work at Dress for Success Dublin as a marketing intern. Dress for Success is a global charity that helps women get back into the workforce by providing a range of free services including suiting for interview, job application advice, and ongoing career mentoring. I worked closely with the marketing lead to develop an advertisement campaign to raise funds for International Women’s Day. This included calling and emailing companies, using their social media, arranging photo shoots, interviewing clients, and scheduling drop-off times. We managed to get 30 companies on board!
This experience at Dress for Success Dublin will open up a vast amount of opportunities. I’ve gained cross-cultural awareness in the workplace. I have successfully adapted and recognized the ambiguity of a high context culture coming from a low context culture. Being completely independent in a new country has also forced me to become a mature adult really fast. This internship has shaped me into a businesswoman with a global mind-set. I’ve learned so much already from everyone and (at the time of this interview), I still have a month left!
Since International Women’s Day finished, I’ve been solely in charge of our annual clothing sale. I have to find a place to host our sale, arrange volunteers, find a time and date, make advertisements, post on Facebook and Twitter, and sort and price all the clothes. It’s a lot of responsibility, but I’m just thrilled they trust me so much.
JK: One small thing I did for Dress for Success was set up their texting donation platform. You know those ads that say “Text DONATE to XXX?” Well, setting those up is actually a lot of work. I had to coordinate with a charity provider to help us with our licensing process. And let me tell you, it is a long process! There are a lot of strict rules that you have to follow and words you have to say carefully. I would advertize here what our word and number is, but I’m not allowed! I set this up for them all on my own, and now Dress for Success will have this forever! I feel great knowing that even after I leave Dublin, my work will benefit the company for years to come.
CW: Explain a day in the life of a CAPA intern.
JK: Thursday is the only day that I have both my internship and a class, so I’ll write in detail about that. I wake up at 8:30 to catch the 122 bus at 9:30 that lets me off on O’Connell Street. Grab a vanilla latte from the Bagel Bar and have them stamp my frequent customers ticket (2 more until I get a free one!). I also receive a 20% off discount since I work upstairs.
Climb a million and one stairs to get to the office. Sit for around ten minutes until a coworker shows up to unlock the door. Answer emails and calls. Either sit down for lunch at the Woolen Mills or eat my packed sandwich at my desk. Check in with my manager about work that needs to be done. Do more work until around 5. Walk through Temple Bar to catch a bus going home. Have a snack in the apartment.
Go to my "Learning through Internships" module at 6:30. Learn about everyone else's internship and the impact these experiences have had on our lives. Talk about the differences in culture between Ireland and America.
Head out with my CAPA friends to the Rathmines to enjoy the best nachos in the world at Dillinger’s. Either go out and enjoy the nightlife or come home early and go to bed.
CW: Give us an example of an activity you pursued outside of CAPA activities that gave you a better understanding of the material you learned in one or more of your classes.
JK: I went to Galway with my boyfriend for a weekend and we stayed at a bed and breakfast. In Dublin, very few people speak in Irish, so going to a Gaeltacht region and hearing our host speak in Irish to her husband was really fascinating to me. When she found out that I was learning Irish in one of my modules, she really tried to help me with the phrases I knew. I asked her how she felt about the Irish language dying, and she thinks it’s such a shame that many can only speak cúpla focal (a couple words) in Irish. The Gaeltacht regions are very proud of their heritage and are trying to keep the language alive for as long as possible.
JK: I originally thought that Dublin was going to be so proud of their history that they would refuse to accept the present, but they are actually very modernized! If you’re staying in Dublin, join the mailing list of the Dublin Event Guide. This man spends all of Thursday finding out about free events for the upcoming week, and they’re actually really great! It ranges from live hip-hop music to flea markets to star gazing groups. It is very easy to get involved in Dublin!
My internship boss recommended me to go to a design conference called Offset. It was €50 to go for the day, but the speakers that presented were amazing. I heard from this animation company on their new movie, a typography company in England, and even a women who works for America’s beloved Saturday Night Live.
JK: There are many places outside of tourist Dublin that I’ve made my home. Noshington Café has a great cup of coffee and it’s conveniently right across from Griffith College. Bernard Shaw is a great place where the young locals hang out for a pint. There’s a double decker bus in the outside area that serves amazing pizza. The Iveagh Gardens are not as popular as St. Stephen’s Green, but it is probably even more beautiful. Bunsen has the best burger with the simplest menu (burger, double burger, add cheese, fries). San Lorenzo’s has the most incredible French toast in the entire world. Everything in my life is downhill after that. My roommates and I love ordering Asian street food from Neon. Yes. I realize this is a lot of food places.
JK: I would say they are all positive changes. I’ve started to rely a lot less on my parents and more on myself. When you study abroad, you have to be friendly with everyone. You can’t say anything mean and then avoid the person for the rest of the trip. These people in CAPA are the only ones we have here that are like family. Susanne is our adopted mother! You just learn to get along with everyone and be very accommodating. That’s exactly what you need to do in the professional world, so it’s a good life lesson. I’ve also started to appreciate more cultures as well as my own. It can be very hard to adapt, but it’s really important to try to immerse yourself in the country’s lifestyle. That’s the only way you can learn.