Featured World Endeavors Alum: Maddy

Photo Contest- Maddy FarrellThis story is by Maddy, an Intern in Ireland alum.

During my sophomore year of school I decided to look into education abroad opportunities. There were many options, and I was very unsure of what it would do for me. I had heard about how much fun it could be and that you could put that experience on your resume, but I never understood what it would do for me as a person.

Through my school, I discovered a company by the name of World Endeavors who provided internships, study abroad, and volunteer options in many countries. I chose to do an internship in Ireland, which happened to be a place I had wanted to travel to for a long time. I hoped to get an internship related to equine or meat animal management to match one of my majors. I had to do an application process just like I would have for a position at any job and World Endeavors was very helpful during that time. I even completed a phone interview which was admittedly very scary for me. I wasn’t a very confident person at this time in my life. I also had to send in a resume which was very small without a lot of outside experience in the field I chose to intern in.

I had never done something like this almost completely on my own. I had to fly to another country by myself, live in an apartment by myself, and work in a place where I knew absolutely no one.

World Endeavors accepted my application and I began the wait: they had to find me an internship first. Later I was informed of my place of work. I was to work at a riding centre called The Paddocks. It was right outside the city of Dublin, Ireland on top of the Dublin Mountains. I was thrilled, and terrified all at the same time. I had never done something like this almost completely on my own. I had to fly to another country by myself, live in an apartment by myself, and work in a place where I knew absolutely no one.

After a long flight and a drive to my apartment I met one of my coworkers. I was put at ease with the fact that she was incredibly nice and drove me around to get things I needed and showed me what was close enough to my apartment to walk to. She also agreed to drive me to work daily, which was 5 minutes from my apartment. I started work the next day and I was absolutely blown away. There were 70+ horses and ponies with varying heights, and I had never even been in a facility this large. The business provided lessons for all ages, as well as ride outs and walk outs on the mountain for advanced and beginner riders. I personally assisted with pretty much everything there was to do. I was also pleased to find that they were willing to also help me with my riding. I had had advanced riding courses but I had never jumped before and that was huge with them.

During my time there I made friends I hope to keep for a very long time. I learned to live on my own with the confidence to go out on my own. I even learned to use public transportation which was something I had never used before on my own. I didn’t just work either, on my days off I took the time to visit other parts of Ireland and enjoy their history. World Endeavors was always just a phone call or email away and they were always happy to check in to make sure everything was going well.

This trip didn’t just help my job experience; it also helped me grow as a person.

My shyness and my lack of confidence really used to hurt me. I didn’t know what I was capable of, because I was too afraid to test myself or push myself. When I came back and went back to school that fall my grades went up tremendously, my work ethic was up, and I was willing to communicate with my professors more. My grades improved so much I was given a position as a teacher’s assistant my second semester and have made the Dean’s List more than once now. It was easy for me to work with students and to assist them because of the confidence I had gained.

I pushed myself more and applied for a position at the education abroad office on campus. That interview was one of the best I’ve ever done. I didn’t choke and I was able to show who I was as a person. I was able to make eye contact, which seems like a weird thing to be able to do but that was not at all easy for me to do before. I was thrilled to find out that I had been given the job. I work with others who say the exact same thing as I do: about how they grew thanks to their education abroad experiences, and we all love to share our stories with each other and other students. My goal is to help encourage more students to seek out education abroad options and to travel and learn new things as I did.

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