Peter Ballagh

Peter is the Dublin Program Coordinator for Global Experiences. He is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin and has a background in secondary school teaching and project coordination. In more recent years, he has been working in the area of heritage and tourism as a consultant with the Heritage Council of Ireland and as director of the Historical Walking Tours of Dublin. Peter has also participated in many election observation missions for the European Union in Africa and Asia. In 2013, he started with Global Experiences and has found the work to be very stimulating and really enjoys working with people at such an interesting point in their career.

What makes interning in Dublin a unique experience for interns?

Peter Ballagh at work

Peter: Dublin is a special place to do an internship. It is a compact and welcoming city, a place where newcomers often comment on how quickly they feel “at home”. Dublin has a rich, varied heritage and culture and, like the rest of Ireland, has undergone enormous transformation in recent years. You will encounter a society which is diverse and open to change and new ideas. There are strong links with the US and Canada and also with the rest of Europe and beyond. Dublin has the intimacy of a large, open community within a global one.

What can you tell us about the workplace culture in Dublin?

Peter: With the seventh highest rate of productivity in the world (OECD, 2012), Ireland and, its capital city, Dublin have a reputation for being hard working. That said, you are likely to encounter a workplace culture which is relaxed and which puts an emphasis on collegiality, a project-focused work environment involving management, employees and interns alike. Global Experiences sources host companies who value the benefits of establishing meaningful, career-structured assignments for interns. Your supervisor and employer will be approachable and will be conscious of the very positive – even transforming – effect that a successful internship relationship can have on their organisation.

In any new work culture, there is likely to be a period of adjustment as you and the organisation get to know each other. We explore the general and specific challenges relating to your internship during our orientation and at our mid-point meetings.

Some helpful tips:

  1. Follow the dress code and work practices for your organisation
  2. Communicate with your supervisor on the nature of your assignments and keep in mind that these might change during the course of your internship
  3. Show initiative and enthusiasm
  4. Go for coffee and lunch with colleagues.

Do interns need prior work experience in order to apply for this internship?

Peter: No. It is not necessary to have prior work experience to apply for an internship. However, as an important step in your chosen career, it is expected that you will have completed relevant college assignments and/or demonstrated an understanding of your internship field through extra-curricular school or community-based activities.

How does Global Experiences ensure a rich professional experience during this internship?

Peter: Global Experiences ensures a rich professional experience for interns through carefully matching candidates with their first choice internship areas. As an intern, your mentors will be people who have expertise and an in-depth understanding of what makes their organisation work. Whether you are writing blogs and press releases, using social media, producing and editing video material, planning an arts event/exhibition/conference, working on law cases, offering referral services to clients, researching markets and social and organisational policy – whatever your tasked responsibility might be, you will be making a meaningful contribution to your organisation. Your enthusiasm, initiative and willingness to apply yourself are key to the success of your internship. To have demonstrated flexibility and an ability to work and deliver on a team-based project in an overseas organisation can only impress any future employer and stand to you in life.

Career development is central to what makes an internship with Global Experiences of value. Through our Strengths training, our mid-point meetings and debriefing, you will have the supportive environment and tools to explore and reflect on the next stages of your career.

interns in Ireland

What are some extra-curricular activities participants enjoy while interning in Dublin?

Peter: We devise a fun program of social and cultural events which complements the schedule of your internship and which makes the most out of what Dublin and Ireland has to offer. These include tours and walks of the city, a day trip to the monastic site of Glendalough in the Wicklow mountains and the medieval city of Kilkenny and also to the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren in County Clare. We also attend the theatre, a traditional music performance and have the opportunity to develop our skills of Irish dancing at a Ceili. Dublin’s pub and cafe culture is renowned and we visit some excellent Dublin restaurants.

Dublin is a vibrant festival city and in addition to its many museums, galleries and places of striking historic interest, the cities of Belfast, Cork and Galway are all within a day-trip reach and well served by public transport. London is just an hour’s flight away, Paris and Amsterdam 90 minutes and we are approximately two hours from Berlin, Barcelona and Milan. Flights can work out cheap and can make weekend visits very possible.

What is one piece of advice you would offer someone considering interning abroad in Dublin?

Peter: As one intern recently said about her time in Dublin with Global Experiences: “They (GE) make it comfortable for you. They don’t molly-coddle you; they make you feel comfortable so that you can move out of your comfort zone and really explore who you are and your career possibilities.”