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Intern Diaries: Have “Craic” and a Cup of Tea

     The first thing the internship coordinators told me and my fellow American interns about the Irish workplace was the “round system”.  Essentially, this means that when you go out with co-workers and somebody asks what everyone wants to drink and then proceeds to pay for all the drinks—this is expected to be reciprocated until the round has gone full circle. Depending on the amount of people you are out with, this could end badly.  So as not to “get pissed” and make a fool of yourself, the coordinators advised us to simply say, “I’m on my own tonight.”  Obviously my two years of college experience couldn’t compare to the Irish stamina for “socializing”.  And that was my introduction to Irish culture and the next two months of interning.

My first Guinness in Dublin!

     To start from the beginning, my name is Lindsey and I am going to be a junior at Boston University majoring in Broadcast Journalism with a minor in International Relations.  This summer seemed like a great time to go abroad and experience a different culture first hand by interning.  I was told that broadcast internships were in high demand in Ireland and the most difficult to attain due to the smaller networks based in the country.  However a week before I was due to leave the states, I received an email stating I had been placed within Ireland’s premier Public Broadcast Service called RTE where I would work with two shows, Prime Time and Frontline, and their online journalism department.  Needless to say, this internship sounded amazing and I realized that I better make the most of my two months with the network.  After a week of figuring out the public transportation system (which doesn’t name the stops and only takes exact change), discovering the necessity of a rain coat and learning how to have “craic” (or fun), I can finally say that the culture shock is over and my internship has officially begun.

Out on the town with fellow Americans.

     My first morning at RTE’s Prime Time I sat in on a story meeting where the prior shows were discussed and future ideas for that week’s show were pitched.  I soon learned that the “f bomb” is a generic word and that profanities are as common as the rain showers here.  The editor stopped during the meeting and apologized for not forewarning me that there was a lot of cussing in the office.  I told him I lived in Boston and that seemed to create a truce.  I spent the rest of the day researching Irish Parliament for a piece two journalists were doing on the first 100 Days in office for the Fine Gail political party.  They offered to let me sit in on an interview with a journalist at a hotel by the government buildings.  The cameramen brought me along in their van to set up the lighting, microphones, and camera in a meeting room based in the hotel.  After learning how to adjust the microphones and modeling for the camera as they fixed the lighting, they declared it was coffee time.  Another fun fact about the Irish–they love their coffee and tea breaks.  I am now a coffee fiend.  Once we had discussed what nightlife I had to experience and I gained the nickname “Texas Rose”, we headed to meet the reporter who was conducting the interview.  Now my one piece of advice for anyone sitting in on an interview or meeting–don’t rely on the silent mode of your cell phone.  I soon learned this the hard way as my 30 euro flip-phone began buzzing half way through the interview and I frantically dove for my bag and turned off my phone.  Silent mode on cheap phones apparently means vibrate.  Thankfully the interview was able to pick up where it left off and my humiliation was downplayed as much as possible.  All in all, my first day was a success and I couldn’t wait to sit in on more interviews being filmed the next day.

Enjoying the Cliffs of Moher…I was secretly terrified!

     I woke up the following day feeling confident so I decided to follow my mother’s advice on looking nice at work and wear heels.  About halfway through the walk from my bus stop to RTE’s headquarters, I realized one of my heels was broken from last weekend’s activities along the cobblestone paved Temple Bar district. The tip of one heel was missing, so I ended up yanking it out of every nook and crany imaginable on the pavement.  By the time I got to RTE, my feet were torn up and I was sweating.  This felt like my Bridget Jones moment of the day.  Then I was told I would be on assignment all day with a reporter who was conducting interviews at a top hotel downtown.  As we walked to his car–and by walk I mean run–the sound of my heels clomping and the pain of them cutting into my feet was unbearable.  That was when I decided to ditch the heels and grab a pair of safety shoes from my bag once we arrived at the hotel.  I have never been more grateful for sandals in my life.  They held up through the interviews, the filming of the reporter on-site and the ride-along with the cameramen to get pedestrian shots around town.  We returned to the studio where I watched the whole show come together from graphic designs, film editing, sound dubs, and to where the magic happens: the control room.  I walked into a room filled with televisions, computers, and buttons that I was terrified to be in the same vicinity as (after my fluke the previous evening).  The producers began counting down and went into an impressive, steady flow of uttering what camera angles to switch to, when to release video segments and telling the anchor to wrap up the conversation with the guests.  After the show was filmed, I looked at the clock and realized it was almost 11 pm.  I wasn’t ready for a 13 hour workday, but it was the greatest experience I could have asked for.  That is the beauty of working in a small country with a population of around 4 million, the companies may be smaller than CNN or ABC but the opportunities the staff at RTE has given me have significant influence.

Stay tuned for when I make my transition to RTE’s show Frontline, which is a live audience show (not like Maury or Jerry Springer) where people discuss issues within their society.  I’m sure I’ll have more embarrassing anecdotes to share–let’s just hope none of them end up broadcasted across Ireland!
Lindsey Reese is a sophomore at Boston University majoring in Print Journalism with a minor in International Relations. Hailing from down south in Waco, Texas, Lindsey decided to take the first opportunity to experience the city life in Boston. She developed a love for other cultures and saw Boston as the perfect playground for discovering new people and backgrounds. Lindsey enjoys marketing in the Public Relations Student Society of America, working for BUTV, and being a member of Alpha Epsilon Phi. Homework and clubs don't stop her from enjoying an occasional Friends marathon or going out for fro-yo with her roommates. The future holds many promises, but Lindsey has her sights on a specific dream: writing for Vogue or InStyle. Graduation might be years away, but Lindsey is ready to hit the pavement next semester looking for internships at local magazines.