Report of my internship in Ireland
Praktikumsbericht von Antonia Brüning, AHR 13 F
With this report I want to give an overview over my experience I had during my internship in Ireland. In this report I will write about my working place, my host family and what I experienced with them. Furthermore I will give some information about Ireland.
But first of all I would like to explain why I chose Ireland for my internship. Before I went to Ireland I only knew this country as the “green Island”, because of e.g. St.Patrick’s Day and some cliches, e.g. everyone has red hair. But when our school gave us the opportunity to do an internship in a European country of choice, one of my first ideas was Ireland. But not only because of the above mentioned things. My interest in visiting Ireland increased even more after my sister went there to visit her friend who visited an Irish university at that time. She told me so many interesting things about this country that I developed the wish to see all the things myself one day. So I was very happy to get the opportunity to visit this country and even work there.
2 My first day in Ireland
On my first day in Ireland I was very excited, because I would meet my host family for the first time. We arrived in Ireland the evening before but we had to spend our first night with in other family in Dublin, because the way to our actual host family would have taken too long that late in the evening. So Gemma Freeman picked us up the next morning and drove us to Balitore, a small village with not more than one thousand citizens. There we were welcomed by four dogs and met Mike Lawler the uncle of our host mother Dora May Cousins. He showed us his and Dora May’s house. My classmate Daniel stayed with Mike and his family and I stayed next door in Dora May’s house. After that Mike drove us though the down and showed us all the interesting spots. Later that day Dora May visited us and introduced herself. She was so late, because the evening before she had celebrated her “hen party”. This is an Irish tradition before your wedding. Furthermore Dora May was planning to move to her fiancé’s house. This is why her house was a little bit empty, because many of her thing were already in her fiancé’s house. After that we ate dinner together and met the rest of Mike’s family, e.g. his wife Liz, his daughter Sophia and his sons Evan and Elliot.
3 My workplace
My host mother also owns a café called Dora May’s Café where I worked for four weeks. The café was in Newbridge, which was about twenty minutes away from Balitore. It was a very modern café and mostly decorated in the colours white, black and pink. The café was rather small with 32 seats but it was in the city centre and close to a big shopping mall. The cafés menu focused breakfast, lunch snacks and sandwiches. Another thing that was different than I expected was a food delivery service the café offered. It was called Simmer Meals. Customers can order different meals and pick them up in the café or at a meeting point. The employees cook the meal fill them into little boxes made of plastic and the customers just need to heat them up at home. So it is a healthier alternative to the ready meals in the supermarket.
3.1 My colleagues
My colleagues at the café were all very nice and unique. My host siblings Sophia and Evan for example were working in the café. It was nice to have someone in your age working with you. Especially when they are working at the same time and tease each other for fun. Then there were some older employees like Olivia, who is also from Balitore and Fran, who liked to tease Daniel for fun. Furthermore there was Agnes. She comes from Poland and was always very helpful and nice. But sometimes she was hard to understand because of her accent. This was the same with Edel, who had a difficult Irish accent but was always very nice. The rest of the colleagues were Trisha, Nicola and Peter. I learned many things from them and they were always helpful when I had questions or problems.
3.2 My tasks
During my time in the café I had a lot of different tasks to do. On one day I had to help in the kitchen and on the other day I had to help “on the floor”. I changed between these two workplaces every day. Firstly in the kitchen I had to wear a hat and an apron and often gloves. Most of the time I cleaned and chopped vegetables or sliced chicken for the sandwiches.
Another important task was filling the small boxes with the Slimmer Meals or helping to cook them. This has to be done every morning but before that me and Daniel often had to sit at a table and write the right name and date on the stickers. Then we stick them on the boxes, so that the colleagues and the customer know what meal is in the box. Sometimes I helped making typical Irish Soda Bread. For that I had to mix several ingredients with milk until the dough had the right texture. After that I had to fill the dough into five small baking pans and put them in the oven. It was also interesting that they showed me a few of their recipes so that I could make them when they were ordered e.g. the Chicken Melt or their Chilli Chicken Wrap. Moreover I often helped with making salad and handing out food. Another task that had to be done every afternoon was cleaning the kitchen before we closed the café at five ‘o clock.
My tasks “on the floor” were a little bit different. Mostly I had to make drinks like tea or coffee and bring it to the tables together with the food. After that I had to clean up their tables and bring the dishes into the kitchen. Every morning I had to refill to sugar and the sauces at all the tables and every afternoon I had to sweep the floor. After a few days I also sometimes took orders from the customers a task I sometimes needed help with, because some customers were hard to understand or asked me something about the menu I didn’t know. I also learned how to use the till to take the payment.
4 My free time
Daniel and I were often allowed to finish earlier than the café closes. This gave us the chance to explore the city centre of Newbridge a little bit. On one day we went to the park and on another day we visited the Mall or looked at the other shops nearby. After we got home from work we usually ate dinner with our host family and sometimes watched TV together. On day we took the dogs for a long walk and enjoyed the beautiful landscape. One time we visited Mike’s sister, who owns her own castle with him. She was very friendly and showed us all the interesting spots e.g. the gardens, the old graveyard and her living room. It was a very strange place, because inside hung many strange paintings she painted herself. But it was an interesting place.
4.1 My weekends
On weekends Daniel and I didn’t have to work so we visited many different places. On our first weekend on Saturday we visited Dublin. We took the Train from Athy to Heuston Stadition and we drove with the “Luas” into the city centre.
After that we walked from Abby Street to Grafton Street, one of most famous streets in Dublin. On the way we saw many old statues and Trinity College. On Grafton Street we visited the Disney Store and listened to some of the musicians on the street. On Sunday we drove to Clashcanny with our host family to have a picnic and drove with the kayaks down the river.
On the next Saturday Daniel and I visited Dublin again but this time we met with other student of our program and Gemma and we had a walking tour through Dublin and saw many interesting places like Dublin Castle and Temple Bar. On Sunday went went shopping in Kildare. There was a big shopping Mall but built like a small village where you can get good discounts on clothes.
On our third Saturday we visited Kilkenny. This is a famous medieval city in Ireland and we visited the beautiful big castle there and we took a city tour, which showed us all the nice spots in the city. On Sunday we did a Hop on Hop off Bus tour through Dublin and saw place we didn’t see the first two times in Dublin. For example the Guiness Storehouse or Christ Church Cathedral.
4.2 My last trip with my host mother
On 25th July two days before Daniel and I had to leave, our host mother drove with us to a beautiful little village near Waterford, where she often spent her holidays as a child. We visited the beach and did some of the carnival rides at the nearby funfair. After that we ate Fish and Chips together. It was a great last experience.
To sum up my internship I would say it was a great experience. During my first day I had problems to held up a long conversation and to understand the people but I am thankful that I had such a nice host family and colleagues who helped and supported me. In my last two weeks I noticed an improvement of my English skills. It was easier to understand people especially the customers in the café. I was able to understand the accents. Moreover I understood directly what I had to do when I was given a task instead of asking a lot of questions. I have the feeling I am able to speak English more fluently now and held up longer conversations. Moreover I learned many new skills in the kitchen e.g. different ways to chop vegetables and how to make sandwiches. I also learned to react more quickly to problems e.g. when the food of a customer is burned or something like that. I can also handle stress better now If I ever get the opportunity again I would take it and I can only recommend to everybody to do an internship abroad. It is a very good experience. But all of this would not have been possible without the organisations who supported and sponsored me. This is why I would like to thank the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union and SourceResource who made all of this possible.
I would also like to thank the Förderverein BWV for its financial support!