This post comes to us from intern abroad in Dublin, Hanna. You can learn more about the intern abroad program offerings here.
I am interning for Trinity College at the Institute of Neuroscience. After getting off the Luas tram and walking into my office, my work day typically consists of looking at a plethora of MRI scans. I am currently in a training portion of my assignment, where I use computer software to measure and segment the corpus callosum, as well as the intracranial volume, of neonatal and Alzheimer’s subjects. This is preparing me to start on my actual assignment, in which I will be doing the same tasks for groups of Alzheimer’s, Mild Cognitively Impaired, and Healthy Control subjects.
As a current Psychology major, this internship has been very interesting for me. I could definitely see myself in a career within the field of neuroscience or imaging, but I would prefer an aspect that is more hands on that what I am currently working on. Although this is not as hands on as I would like, I am still learning an amazing amount about the brain and how it and its’ structures are affected by age and disease. This information will aid me in any future career I may pursue in a different are of this field.
My absolute favorite thing to do in my free time is to wander around Dublin; each time I go out I find a new place or area and fall more in love with the city. I also love traveling on the weekends to parts of the countryside within Ireland. I have seen so many breathtaking views so far. I’ve taken many different day or weekend trips with my new roommates and friends since I have arrived; my all time favorite so far would be either our weekend in London or the day I spent exploring Glendalough. Through these trips, I have become even closer with the roommates and friends I have gained here. Some of them even live close enough to visit when I return home (or in some cases at my same university) which is one of the best parts; the great friendships I have here can continue once we all go our separate ways back home.
I didn’t really have many expectations for my host culture when I left the states to live here for the summer. I had never traveled outside of the U.S before, so I really did not know what to expect. The main thing I expected was a difference in food and dialect, which both, once you get used to them, are not as scary as you might expect. My first day off the plane, I had an issue understanding a store clerk because of the different dialect and phrases he used. I was nervous I would have to keep asking everyone to repeat themselves for me to understand what they were saying. By the end of that week, it was already much easier to understand the heavy accents. Also, most everyone I have encountered in Ireland are the nicest people. The city and the people here are nothing like those at home, and its a great difference to experience.
One of the main expectations I had was for the transportation systems to be difficult and that learning my way around the city would be difficult. This was only partially true when I arrived. The buses and trams are a little intimidating at first; my whole first week at my internship I walked to work because I was worried about getting on the wrong bus and being late! Once I faced my “fear” of the bus, I realized it was not as difficult as I had anticipated, and it was a nice break to ride to work rather than walking the whole way. Also, learning my way around was not as difficult as I had imagined. The way I found best to learn was to simply go wander on my own during my days off. I learned the most when I was alone because when I went with a group, although it was very fun, I would find myself just walking and talking and letting someone else navigate. So in order to become confident in my directional skills, I had to take some time by myself to get lost and find my way to different places.
I absolutely love living in Dublin and working in my current department; I never want to leave! If I get the opportunity in the future, I will definitely be returning to Ireland, whether for a job or educational opportunities. I could definitely see myself being happy to live and work here. I cannot imagine a better place for my first time leaving the U.S and to live for the summer.