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Audrey McCleary: My Internship With UA

Working and studying abroad provides a unique opportunity to be exposed to new experiences and culture. As a student at Villanova University outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and originally from Northern Virginia, I had the opportunity to participate in a Learning Communities Abroad Program for 8 weeks this summer in Dublin. This program entails a class taught by a Villanova professor who travels with the fourteen students, and an internship for four days a week as placed by EUSA academic internships.

Only having finished my first year of study at Villanova, I have not officially declared a major, but am considering Political Science and/or Peace and Justice and also a minor in Economics. I hold a particular interest in human rights advocacy and nonprofit efforts, such as that here at The Global Undergraduate Awards. A global internship following my first year of college offered me the chance to put myself in a new place culturally and travel, while also helping me to solidify my interests of study and career because of the chance to work at a nonprofit.

The Global Undergraduate Awards was a particularly interesting internship for me as I am an undergraduate student, and I feel as though even after my time working here is done it is something I can continue advocating for on my campus with other students and also with the faculty. I think the program itself is a really great opportunity to network and meet other students from around the world in a variety of different disciplines. It is something unique and a great opportunity to connect people while also recognizing high achieving students.

Not only working in Dublin, but living at University College Dublin and exploring and getting to know the city itself was something new for me that I found fun. I am not a city person, and so Dublin being a smaller city made it easier and more comfortable. Exploring new places such as Grafton Street, Phoenix Park, Temple Bar, and the numerous pubs and stores was new and exciting and I was able to get an insight to the Irish culture through these places and in spending time at work as well.

Dublin is a vibrant and growing city, and learning the history of Ireland through my class coupled with living in the city itself and seeing shows such as Riverdance and listening to live music gave a holistic view, even though it was only an eight week program. It was such a great opportunity to live and work in Dublin and at a nonprofit organization that I hope I continue to see grow and succeed as it is already in its 12th year, and originally started as a solely Irish awards program and is now an international one accepting submissions from students worldwide.