Meet our intern!

The GEC team has been blessed to work with our intern, Gonzalo, all Summer long! Want to learn more about Gonzalo and his experience here? Read his exclusive interview with us below!

  1. Where are you from?

I was born in Bilbao, Spain but moved to the US at the age of six. I have lived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin since then and now attend the University of Wisconsin.

2. How did you find out about this internship opportunity?

I knew I wanted to study abroad somewhere in Europe. I had a few different options but the programme through University College Dublin offered me the most as it balances both professional and academic learning. It’s through them that I got my placement here at the GEC.

3. And what are you studying?

I’m working towards an International Business and Management major with a certificate in Spanish.

4. Is that what you’ve always wanted to do?

I actually wanted to be an astronaut. I really enjoyed the stars and outer space. I read a bunch of books about the solar system and different planets… but things changed quickly when I took my first physics course. After that,  I had to face the fact that astronomy was extremely difficult and not for me.

5. So instead of Space you came to Ireland. Have you ever been to Ireland before? What’s been your favourite place here?

I had never been to Ireland before this so I was really excited to explore as much of it as I could. I really enjoyed the Cliffs of Moher. I would highly recommend them to anyone who has the chance to go. They are absolutely breathtaking and unforgettable. I had seen pictures of them, but it doesn’t even compare to them in person. The magnitude and overall experience is beyond anything else I have seen.

6. What are some differences you’ve noticed between the workplace in the U.S. compared to Ireland?

Right off the bat, I noticed that Ireland has a strong sense of getting to know coworkers and having a great work-life balance. For example, everyday my coworkers and  I go on lunch break and sit together. We set work aside and talk about friends, family and personal life. This really helps to develop quality relationships that extend outside of the office. On the other hand, the US seems more goal oriented. From my prior work experiences I have noticed that I don’t build a strong bond with my coworkers and breaks are more for me to step back and get away from work rather than socialise.

7. And what about any cultural differences you’ve noticed?

Definitely the way people talk. Besides the accents, there are words and phrases that are completely different. For example: “what’s the craic”, “fair play” and “grand”. It also gets hard to understand some people who speak very fast and have a thick accent.

8. What’s something you’ve missed since moving abroad?

I miss the better weather. I knew Ireland was going to be rainy and 15-20 degrees Celsius, but after a while it gets annoying. I haven’t been able to wear shorts once this summer! Back in Wisconsin, it is constantly 30-40 degrees Celsius and that makes me jealous.

9. What’s been your favourite Irish food?

First, Irish stew and not far behind is Shepard’s Pie. I absolutely love the Irish stew because it seems so authentic and fresh. The meat is super tender while the potatoes and other vegetables are extremely fresh and tasty. Shepard’s pie is also amazing because I had never tried anything similar to it.

10. What do you think you will miss most about the GEC once your internship is over?

I will miss all my coworkers so much. Since the first day they have welcomed me with vibrant smiles. Every day they all find a way to make me laugh and have a great time. They all do a great job in balancing a professional setting with a friendly and joking atmosphere. I will also miss the lunch breaks where we all catch up and crack jokes. I’m really going to miss everyone together and individually because I have formed a personal friendship with the whole GEC team.

11. Any advice you’d give future international interns?

Have an open mind. Many small things are different both at home and at work in all countries. Always be open to change and never think that your way is the only way or the right way. Be kind and polite. No matter what language people speak, a smile and kindness are universal.

12. Now that you’ve experienced Ireland, where’s one other place you’ve always wanted to go?

Definitely Monaco, nicer weather.

13. And finally, tell us a fun fact about yourself.

I can juggle very well. I learned when I was about ten years old and really enjoy doing it.

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If you’re interested in future internship opportunities or the University Partnership Programme here in the GEC email: madison@gec.ie

Juggling skills not required, but a plus.

 

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