Julia Valgento is an Economics major graduating in May 2020. Last summer, Julia interned for Mental Health Ireland in Dublin, Ireland.
If you worked on a big project during your internship, please describe what you did to help. The biggest project I worked on was a huge social media campaign to spread awareness about various mental health problems and treatments. Since Ireland is such a small country, there are not a lot of Ireland specific statistics, so my job was to conduct interviews and attend conferences to learn about health in Ireland. After gathering research, I began compiling a bank of 65+ social media posts for the “A-Z of mental health problems” with the research I conducted.
What did you find most challenging about your internship? Ireland has a very different workplace culture than the United States. At first, I always felt rushed throughout the day because we were encouraged to take breaks multiple times a day and I felt like I didn’t have enough time to finish the projects I was working on. After a few weeks, I adapted to the 30 minute tea breaks twice a day and managed my time different to account for the hour I would spend getting a cuppa with my coworkers.
What advice do you have for other students that are also considering interning abroad? I would highly recommend interning abroad. I think working in another country is probably the best way to truly assimilate into the culture. You notice differences in little things like how the postal system works or the appropriate way to address an email. Also, it is wonderful to have a team of coworkers who can translate slang for you or provide a good restaurant suggestion.
How did Eller (or your previous coursework) prepare you for your internship? In my first semester at Eller, I was in the consulting track which helped significantly when working in a nonprofit. I was able to talk with higher management at Mental Health Ireland about strategy and planning, because BCOM gave me the skills to be confident when having those conversations. I also realized that a significant part of nonprofit work is being able to adapt to a variety of jobs and roles. I think Eller prepared me for understanding all aspects of management, marketing, and finance, so I was able to work well with all team members in my company.