‘OK, for the story on China’s one child policy, I need you to find a psychologist in the Dublin 4 area who specializes in Asian studies and persuade them to talk on air tomorrow. Also, try to get that guy from the New York Times who wrote that book you were talking about on the phone so we can see if an interview is possible. Oh, and come up with a few ideas for Sunday’s show so you can pitch them to the anchor at the meeting today.”
Five minutes pass. ‘Leah, why are you still here? Go off and get a sandwich.”
Along with carousing around Grafton Street with my roommates, scarfing down too many plates of fish and chips and hearing traditional Irish music in County Kerry while watching my precious euros slip away over pints of Murphy’s, Bulmer’s and Guinness, I spent my summer in Dublin, Ireland interning at two places: Newstalk Radio and the Fishamble Theatre Company.
Interning is always tough. You’re caught in a perpetual cycle of trying to impress, making mistakes and learning how to balance five coffees on a tray only made for four. But it’s also one of the best ways to prepare for a career and interning abroad takes this incredible experience a step further.
Newstalk was literally a dream job. However, working for Ireland’s equivalent of NPR was also quite intense. Aside from the fact that I sometimes struggled to understand what my coworkers were saying through their adorable Irish accents, I was constantly trying to adjust to the pressure-filled atmosphere and infinitely long lunch breaks. To say I was out of my comfort zone would be an understatement. Coordinating interviews with people whose names you can barely pronounce is not easy. Sitting in on shows is not quite as glamorous as it sounds when you don’t have a chair to sit in and are behind plated glass in the tech room. Yet, I was in Ireland. That trumped any complaint.
Fishamble, a place I mistook at first for a seafood restaurant, was also quite an adventure. There was the crazy lady who lurked in the building waiting to scream at you if you tried to throw a cup of coffee away that wasn’t quite empty. There was the 35-minute walk to work, usually through the romantic yet clammy Irish rain. But the job itself was amazing. When I wasn’t running enjoyable errands such as buying poker chips for my boss, I spent my day reading scripts from up-and-coming writers, drinking coffee, reading more scripts, writing evaluations of the plays and then drafting letters to the writers. I learned to be tough. I learned to be a critic. It was exhilarating.
If taking classes in a foreign country isn’t quite what you want out of your study abroad experience, consider interning. The experience was so profound that the only way I can accurately describe it would be with a Mastercard commercial.
Sitting on stage at a packed comedy club while a comedian makes jokes about you being American? Ten euro. Visiting the Cliffs of Moher and not falling off? Eight euro. Traveling around Galway while a crazy, 80-year-old tour guide makes bad sex jokes? Twenty euro. (Cue dramatic orchestral music.) Gaining international work experience? Priceless.
Kraus is a member of the class of 2009.