How an Internship Abroad Can Change Your Career Plans

Nov 21, 2016 1:30:00 PM / by Julie Ritz

CAPA Study Abroad Alumna Interview: Bailey Gaul

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Meet Bailey Gaul, an advertising and business major at the University of Florida who studied abroad in Dublin during spring semester 2016. Below, Bailey talks about the connection she has with Ireland through her parents, how her internship abroad changed her career plans and future goals, and how she was able to see so much of her new country despite a busy schedule.

CAPA WORLD: Tell us a bit about yourself.
BAILEY GAUL: I am senior at the University of Florida studying advertising and business. I would define myself as a list-maker, coffee addict, sports fanatic, and beach goer. Along with school and my part-time job at UF, I sit on the UAA Football Fan Council representing the UF student body. These commitments keep me pretty busy, but when I am not at school or working, I am usually in a local coffee shop, hanging out with friends or planning my next travel adventure.

This past spring semester, I studied abroad in Dublin, Ireland. I attended classes at Griffith College and interned at Rothco, an award-winning advertising agency. Needless to say, it was an amazing and life-changing semester. For starters, my internship - located in Dublin’s business district - was the perfect placement for me. Before Dublin, my prior work experience had been in advertising sales, sports sponsorship, and B2B marketing. I came to Dublin with a few years of work experience. Although, it’s safe to say my favorite professional role has been my Account Management internship placement in Dublin.

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CW: Why did you choose to study abroad with CAPA and why Dublin specifically? What was interesting about your program?


BG:
Travel has always been important to me. When I heard about study abroad, I was immediately interested. My biggest hesitations were the cost and transferring school credits. Similar to many students, I couldn’t afford to just travel for a semester. I needed the semester abroad to count towards my degree, which is why the CAPA program was the perfect fit for me.

My desire to travel and experience life abroad in a global city motivated my research, planning, and overall program selection. At first, I planned to directly enroll into a university. However, after hours of research, I realized there are so many more options available that are still affordable and guarantee my credits to transfer. Choosing to study in Dublin was a easy choice. I was looking to study and intern in an English speaking country, which limited my search (in a good way). However, I think the real reason I ended up in Dublin is due to stories my parents told me.

Twenty years ago, they took a ten-day trip to Ireland. While they were there, they met a marketing manager for Bailey’s Irish Cream. They told the manager their daughter’s name was Bailey and he sent hundreds of dollars of merchandise: glasses, liquor, spoons, and other branded merchandise home with them. I heard this story recounted hundred of times growing up, and from this story alone, I knew Ireland was considered one of the friendliest cities in the world. Also, I think I was somewhat destined to visit this land one day. So, when I stumbled upon the program, I figured this was my opportunity to acquaint myself with a place I have been connected to all of these years.

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CW: Talk about academics abroad: Which classes did you take in Dublin? Which was your favorite and why? How were you able to connect your experience of the city itself and your academics?


BG:
My program in Dublin was sponsored through the University of Florida. Our program required an online business class, the internship course, and class at the local university. While I was there, I took a total of 17 credits. I was enrolled in both International Business and Management through UF online. I was working 20 hours a week at my internship site and I had two other classes once a week; I was taking the internship class and the Exploring and Analyzing Global Cities: Dublin class. 


Before I arrived in Dublin, I was very nervous about taking on too much and being enrolled in 17-credit course load. I was afraid this heavy course load was going to infringe upon my time in the city. Although, I still had to make time for schoolwork: I wrote papers, studied on the weekends, and worked on homework during the week. I never felt overwhelmed or overworked while I was abroad. I was pleasantly surprised that managing a school and internship schedule was fairly easy. I still had a lot of time to travel, hang out with friends, attend sporting events, and socialize with co-workers. 

By far, my favorite class during my semester abroad was the Global Cities course, taught by a CAPA instructor. I specifically chose this class because the course emphasized the history and culture of Dublin. During the semester, we spent the majority of class time exploring the city. Our professor led us on class field trips to Dublin landmarks. Overall, this course was a very memorable part of my study abroad semester. One of the reasons for this was that our assignments directly correlated with learning about Dublin. For example, my favorite assignment was a photo essay about the city’s history, colonization and modern-day culture.

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CW: Tell us a bit about your internship in Dublin, your duties and accomplishments, any challenges or particularly rewarding moments you've had.
CW:
Rothco is a large independent, creative advertising agency known for producing creative campaigns for some of Dublin’s biggest enterprises. During my internship, I worked on Heineken’s sponsorship of the Rugby World Cup, Allied Irish Bank, and Dublin Bus. Hands down, my international internship was my favorite part of studying abroad. The internship at Rothco was such a rewarding opportunity. While I was there, I was entrusted right away with major responsibilities. I worked closely with account managers to assist with clients on day-to-day tasks, and I helped plan a promotional event for Orchard Thieves, a popular cider.

During my fourth month of my internship, I managed the AIB Wordpress competitor site for the agency. Also, I worked on Heineken’s activation campaign at local pubs for rugby fans. Further, I attended client presentations, radio recordings, and brainstorming sessions. CAPA’s placement at Rothco was ideal for me. In all honesty, I was expecting a great internship, but my expectations were greatly surpassed. Working with the Rothco team was an incredible experience. I made life-long friendships and influential business connections. While I was there, Rothco extended an offer to my to work as a paid summer intern. Unfortunately, my immigration visa was expiring and I couldn’t make it work. However, I think I will work with Rothco in the future.

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CW: What was a typical day in your life as an intern like?
BG:
My typical Thursday in Dublin was jam packed, which made it my favorite day of the week. On Thursday, I went to my internship at Rothco, I had my weekly internship class, and most of the CAPA students met at the Bleeding Horse, a favorite local pub, after class.



My (typical) Thursday Schedule:

7:15 Alarm goes off and I quickly mute my phone so that I don’t wake up my roommate. After I roll out of bed, I quickly get dressed for the day.


7:55 I start my 35-minute walk to my internship. Normally, I stop for a coffee break mid-way at a small Italian coffee shop.


8:50 I arrive at my internship. I make my muesli breakfast and eat with my co-workers. 


9:15 I head upstairs to make my 2nd cup of coffee. While I am up there, I say hello to the production and design teams.


9:30 My workday begins. I start working on my daily assignments, answering emails, and attending meetings.
11:00 I run out and grab a few coffees for the office or pick up office supplies.

1:00 At 1pm the office is closed for the lunch break. I grab a salad box at Cocu and sit on the bench along the canal.


2:00 Lunch is over and it’s time to get back to work. I work most of the day uninterrupted until the mid-afternoon.
3:30 I am asked to run another errand or go shopping for a photoshoot or event on Grafton Street.


5:30 I start my 3km walk to the Griffith dorms. At around 2km, I stop to pick up dinner at Tesco. Normally, I pick up a veggie wrap, chips, and a coke on Thursdays because I have internship class that night.


6:30 I am finally home. I head to the kitchen / living room area to find my roommates working on homework and hanging out. I quickly eat dinner and we talk about our day.

7:00 My CAPA internship class begins. 

9:00 I head back to the dorms to change my clothes and drop off my backpack.
9:30 Once I have changed, I walk to the Bleeding Horse with CAPA students.


9:45-11:30 We have the unofficial CAPA weekly hangout at the Bleeding Horse. This is a highlight of my week where we chat and listen to live music.


12:00 I have made my way home and it’s time to shower and head to bed. I have a week’s worth of homework tomorrow and a busy weekend ahead.

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CW: What was the food like in Dublin? Did you find any favorite dishes or restaurants? What foods do you miss now that you're back home?
BG:
Unlike my CAPA friends, I never was homesick for American food. Fortunately, I didn’t miss ranch dressing, grape jelly, or yellow mustard. I loved the food in Dublin! I tried everything - jams and spreads, local cuisine, you name it. I ordered food and drinks I would have never tried before my semester abroad. 

I had three favorite restaurants in Dublin. I shamelessly ordered from these places on a weekly basis. For starters, my favorite lunch place is a healthy restaurant called Cocu, which serves salad boxes, espressos, and vegan treats. Normally, I had their spinach salad topped with Cajun chicken. I also ordered at Neon frequently; this is an Asian-fusion quick serve restaurant. This place is conveniently located on Camden Street and it’s great eatery for groups. I ate here all the time and at the end of my four months, the staff knew me by name because I always ordered the Panang Curry special, which came with the entrée, a coke, and an ice cream cone.  It was my favorite meal in Dublin.

Besides Neon and Cocu, I loved getting burgers at Bunsen. I miss these quality Irish burgers loaded with toppings and accompanied with sweet potato fries. All of these places I would recommend to friends and tourists. When I go back to Dublin, I will make sure to get my favorite dishes from all three restaurants.

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CW: Beyond Dublin, which other parts of Ireland were you able to explore? How was your experience in these places different from the city? Any tips for future CAPA explorers?
BG:
Dublin an amazing host city for a semester abroad and the entire country is a scenic island with rich history and kind people. The nation is commonly referred to as the Emerald Isle because of its glorious, green fields throughout the counties. While I was abroad, I explored several cities.

One of my favorite trips was a solo journey to the west coast. I spent two nights in County Kerry where I explored the Killarney National Park and traveled to the idyllic town of Dingle. While I was in Killarney, I rented a bike for less than €20 and explored the town and park for hours; I biked a total of 78km. Needless to say, my legs were jello the next day.

From Killarney, I went on Paddywagon tour to Dingle. Paddywagon is a popular tour service that offers a student discount and very affordable travel for individuals or groups. On my tour, we listened to Irish music as we drove through the countryside and we stopped at several beautiful areas along the coast. Beyond my trip to the west coast, I went on several day trips during the weekends. For less than €30, I was able to find tours or bus rides to the Wicklow Mountains, Kilkenny, Galway, and Glendalough. Also, I went on a short weekend trip to Northern Ireland where I explored Belfast and went on a €20 day tour to Giants Causeway.

If I was too busy to travel or I needed to save money, I visited the coastal towns outside of Dublin. One of my favorite trips was a short Dart ride outside of Dublin to the Bray to Greystone cliff walk; this is an absolutely beautiful 7km walk on the coastline. Beyond these trips, CAPA organized trips for our group during the beginning and end of our semester. My favorite CAPA trip was to the Cliffs of Moher; it was the perfect way to end the semester.

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CW: Where were the places you carved out as "Your Dublin" - the places you found outside of the tourist sites, the places that were most meaningful for you? What was special about them?
BG:
CAPA advisors mentioned from the start of our semester that an advantage of studying abroad is getting to really know the city. I agree with this idea and sentiment. As I became familiar with Dublin I started to find “my Dublin,” the special places in the city that brought me comfort, entertainment, and felt like home. Fortunately, Dublin has many beautiful alcoves that can be considered a “special place.” During my semester, I found my favorite coffee shops, restaurants, and parks. Although, hands down my favorite place, “my Dublin,” is Dun Laoghaire. This is a quiet, quaint, and family-oriented seaside town in Dublin. It was my favorite place to go on a Sunday afternoon.

On Sundays, I would hop on the Dart for a 10 minute train ride to the coast. When I arrived in Dun Laoghaire, I would walk the pier, talk to locals and sit by the shore. After a few hours, I would have lunch at the farmers market in People’s Park. My favorite tent was the wok tent that served a heaping portion of spicy Pad Thai made right in front of you.

After I got my lunch, I would eat by the fountain watching kids play, dogs greet each other, and families make a picnic. This park was mostly a grassy area that was filled with people on a Sunday afternoon. On these days, I would sit for hours watching the market, reading a book, and enjoying the day off. My afternoons in Dun Laoghaire refreshed, rejuvenated, and relaxed me. This was my affordable escape that provided the perfect lazy Sunday; I will always think of it as “my Dublin.”

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CW: Where do you see yourself taking your career over the next few years? Did your experience abroad in any way shape your career goals and aspirations?
BG:
My time in Europe drastically shaped my career goals and trajectory. I am fortunate my internship in Dublin was not only an amazing opportunity for me personally; it also really set me apart as an employee applicant. While I was in Dublin, I was contacted by a large Florida healthcare marketing firm. They asked me to interview when I returned to the States. During the brief phone call, the marketing director mentioned my international experience as one of the reasons my application and resume stood out to him. When I returned home, I was offered the summer internship at this marketing firm to work on sponsorship campaigns, event planning, and international marketing efforts.

Both of my 2016 internships taught me about international marketing. My internship in Dublin has opened up a world of opportunity for me. Although I have a job offer at the healthcare marketing firm for when I graduate, my hope is to return to Dublin for a few years to work at a marketing agency. In May, I am graduating from the University of Florida, and I will be entering the workforce. As early as June, I would like to move abroad and work for an advertising agency in Dublin or London. Regardless if I stay in the States or move abroad, I will be working in my field of study for a promotional marketing and communication company.

Before Dublin, I was considering graduate school or working in sports marketing. Either grad school or sports marketing would have been amazing opportunities; however, my time in Dublin changed my perspective and preference. Now, I can’t wait to start working at an agency. I loved working with international clients and marketing to multicultural groups. My time in Dublin greatly impacted me as it removed all apprehension of starting my career. I am excited to start my new journey as my college career closes and my professional career launches.

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CW: What changes have you seen in yourself since you began your study abroad program? What has your experience taught you about yourself, the world around you and some of the larger global issues?
BG:
Studying abroad gives students a unique experience. It’s a temporary experiment that encourages cultural immersion, travel and open-mindedness. In other words, it changes you; I can testify that I am forever changed from my semester stint in Europe. I am more adventurous, independent, and confident after studying abroad. It’s safe to say that I am slightly obsessed with travel after seeing a little more of the world. I was incredibly blessed to visit five countries and 14 cities in Europe, and I am anxious to see more. That’s why I think my perspective is the most obvious change for me.  

After living in Dublin for a semester, I no longer squander my money on clothes, shoes, and going out (I still love these things, just not as much). Now, I try to save as much money as I can for my next travel adventure. I am so different for just wanting to try something new in college. Now, I am looking more towards the future and trying my best to save for my next adventure. My priorities shifted while I was away and I’m planning on keeping my found “change.”

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Thanks, Bailey!

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Topics: Dublin, Ireland, Interviews