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Student Stories: Nursing Research in Dublin, Ireland

Anna Bennett (left), a rising senior at Penn Nursing, writes about her summer internship in Dublin, Ireland. Prior to this experience, she hadn’t really traveled beyond Philadelphia or her hometown of Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina. But after a couple weeks in a new city, she’s already fallen into a new routine. “Somehow, the bungalow I reside in almost seems like a home away from home.”

Before this internship, I really hadn’t left the East Coast. My hometown and Philly were really the only things familiar to me. Prior to leaving, I really didn’t know how I was going to adjust to a new place. How would I interact with my host family? How will find my way from my village into the city for work? Can I manage sharing a bedroom with another person for two months?  Will I make friends with my co-workers? There seemed to be more questions than answers, which was fairly stressful. The first week or so was a blur probably from a blend of jet-lag, various orientation programming, and fast paced exploring, not to mention meeting a few dozen new people. 

Slowly, I began to notice a familiar face on the LUAS (the public transportation train of Dublin). Now after two weeks, I can spot the everyday commuters. The lady at the coffee shop no longer greets me with “What would you like today?”, but with “Hi love, how is your day going?” as I’ve now become a regular. Walking around town, I no longer rely on Google Maps. After a weekend trip to Galway, my host family’s dog and cat ran to greet me as I entered the gate. I poke fun with some of the research assistants, and we’ve created inside jokes. 

My typical day involves me waking up to get ready, taking the LUAS into work, a 9-5 workday with an hour lunch break. After work, I try to explore a new part of town before taking the hour train home. I come back to the Bungalow and cook dinner with whoever is in the kitchen before taking a break to relax and read a book. 

I didn’t have any expectations of Dublin, but so far it seems to exceed all of them. I’ve established a routine. It feels as though I’ve been here longer than 2 weeks, but seems very short at the same time. Somehow, the bungalow I reside almost seems like a home away from home.


This story originally appeared on the Penn Abroad website.