Forest Friends (Cáirde na Coille)

Cara Simon

Like most people, when I think of an internship, I think of a 9 to 5 job (either paid or unpaid) in which the day is spent going for coffee runs, filing papers, answering phone calls, and taking out the trash. Though I was prepared to endure these mundane tasks, I was hopeful that my internship would be a valuable experience in which I would gain professional skills and be eager to go to work every day. Thank goodness I got the internship I did!

I am working with an environmental organization dedicated to preserving biodiversity within Ireland, and interning here is anything BUT mundane. From what I’ve experienced during my first two weeks, there is no typical day. My job duties fluctuate as quickly as the weather here in Ireland. I’ll spend one day developing marketing materials, the next day gardening, and the following day conducting research and an outline for an environmental radio program. The variety of tasks could easily drive somebody up the wall, but I love it! As an intern here, there is no time to be bored, and I’ve had the opportunity to work on projects I’ve never had a reason to do, but have always wanted to try.

Ireland intern speaking on the radio

During my first two weeks at my internship, I’ve had the opportunity to go on the radio, to teach young children about birds and plants, and the opportunity to try my hand at graphic design by creating our new official logo. I’ve dabbled in multiple jobs these past two weeks, but in doing so I’ve learned more about myself and what tasks I like and dislike. For instance, I’ve learned that as cool as it sounds to be a radio DJ, I don’t think I’d like being stuck in a quiet, sound-proof room for several hours each day. Rather, I much prefer the chaos of trying to teach to a group of preschoolers. As someone who is still struggling to decide what career to pursue post-college, I have really enjoyed the opportunity this internship has given me to explore a variety of roles. Of course, I haven’t been alone in exploring these roles.

I’ve dabbled in multiple jobs these past two weeks, but in doing so I’ve learned more about myself and what tasks I like and dislike.

There are two other students interning alongside me. One is an enthusiastic gap year student from England, and the other a sweet-natured third year student from France. These two have quickly become incredible friends of mine, and I’ve enjoyed getting to learn more about who they are, and where they come from. They almost instantly became my go-to buddy for nights out and adventures around the island, and one has graciously offered to teach me French in exchange for helping him with his English. I already feel like I’ve found incredible friends in these two, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity this internship has offered me to connect with individuals from all over the world!

Ireland intern hugging a tree

Our supervisor is crazy for “tree-hugging”. After showing him this picture of me hugging a tree, he awarded me a “tree hugger certificate”. As a side note, I swear I gave this tree a much bigger hug before the picture was taken.

This internship has been an adventure so far, and I can’t wait for the variety of other crazy tasks and opportunities I’ll be given in the next 8 weeks!

Lauren Auer

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