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Overseas and Off-Campus Programs Blog

An Irish 21st

Author Name

Katy Humphries

Author Program

Ireland: Social Sciences

Program Semester and Year

Spring 2019

Student Major


My 21st birthday started like any other day - I was tired, the alarm seemingly went off seconds after I fell asleep, and I was reluctant about going to work. I had a busy day ahead of me, with my internship from 9-5 and a class from 5:30-9. Slowly but surely I managed to stumble out of the apartment, on time to catch the LUAS to Connolly Station. The LUAS car was packed, as usual, so I pushed my way into the arms of hundreds of other passengers who held me inside until the doors closed. My day felt doomed.

Luckily, everything was going to work out for me. My coworkers greeted me with bright smiles and we spent the morning talking about my upcoming class trip to Northern Ireland. Suddenly they left and returned 10 minutes later with a tray of cupcakes and a beautiful card - written all in Gaelic - all for me! I was so honored and it felt wonderful to be accepted at my internship.

My coworkers’ kindness had me reflecting on my experience with work in the US. The hierarchy at work back home has always left me feeling less useful than I could be because I never want to overstep my boundaries or step on anyone’s toes.  Here, my work buds lift me up and allow me to take on responsibilities within the company. Their birthday cupcakes reminded me of how lucky I am to be a part of such a great work environment.

After work and class, I went to a pub with some old and new friends. Even though we were all tired, and 21 isn’t as big of a deal as it is in America, my friends came out to celebrate with me. The birthday week left me feeling so much more at ease abroad - I feel more comfortable at work and with all my friends, and it was all due to some good old Irish hospitality. So thank you to everyone that helped me celebrate, I can’t wait for our next adventures!