Dia dhuit, Dublin!

Our apprentice Vera Wiggenhauser spent three weeks in Ireland’s lively capital Dublin on an internship abroad, which was jointly organized by the Hugo-Eckener-Schule in Friedrichshafen and the European Erasmus funding programme. During this time, Vera lived with two German classmates in an Irish host family in a suburb of the capital. During her stay, the 22-year-old learned five things, which she has written down for us here.

1. you learn to appreciate what you have!

My internship at the Hyatt Centric Hotel was in stark contrast to my normal work at Knoblauch, where I have been doing a commercial apprenticeship since September 1, 2023. At the hotel, it meant standing all day, clearing tables and the odd bit of cleaning work. This often meant that my pedometer cracked the 10,000 mark – and that was after just six hours of work.

The employees’ break rooms and offices were also surprising. While everything from the first floor upwards revolved around the motto “the customer is king”, employees always went to the break room in the basement for lunch. There were also some offices for the HR or Accommondation managers – and the changing room where you can see me in the photo.

My conclusion: I’m impressed by what people in the hotel and catering industry do on a daily basis, but I’m glad I chose a different apprenticeship for myself!

2. don't be afraid of English!

After many years of English lessons, it’s great to be able to use the language in everyday life and even be dependent on it to a certain extent. Just chatting away without worrying too much about the correctness of grammar or pronunciation – because that often comes naturally over time and through feeling, for example when you have breakfast with Irish people, go to the pub or, of course, at work.

By the way, the great breakfast in the photo was served by my host family on the day of my departure. Eggs, pasta, yogurt, muesli, donuts – nothing was missing!

3. the public transportation system works great!

Having a host family in a suburb of Dublin means you always have to plan around an hour to get into the city. In addition to the Irish Rail and the countless city buses, Dublin also has the Luas, the Irish streetcar, which runs through the city center on the intersecting Green and Red Lines. If you’re more interested in Dublin’s suburbs, the best way to get to your destination is on the Dart (see photo), for example to Howth or Bray and Greystones.

Dublin is very well positioned in terms of public transport and with the Leap Visitor Card you can use all local transport services for 32 euros a week. And thanks to Google Maps, you can always find the fastest connection with just a few clicks.

Compared to the Lake Constance region, where I mainly travel by car, there is much more public transport in total. And they are also punctual!

4. the Irish are incredibly polite!

The Irish are warm people. We noticed this as soon as we arrived at our host family’s home and they welcomed us with open arms. In the photo you can see my host family Maureen and Pat, me with my dog Brogan – and my German classmates Laura and Anna (from left).

I often heard people call me “darling”, “sweetheart” or “honey”, both with my host family and at work in the hotel. Physical contact such as hugs or casual touching during conversations is also much more common than here in Germany. The Irish also apologize for every little thing – so “I’m sorry” is now probably one of my most frequently used phrases of the last three weeks.

Many people also thank the driver when they get off the bus. I think we Germans could all take a leaf out of their book.

Meine Gastfamilie: Maureen, Pat, ich mit Hund Brogan - und meinen deutschen Klassenkameradinnen Laura und Anna (v.l.).

5. Me-time is important!

Living with a host family for three weeks with two classmates sounds like a lot of fun, time for socializing and the odd movie night.

However, three weeks can also be quite exhausting if you need some time to yourself. That’s why I enjoyed doing things just for myself all the more. Whether it was sitting in a café with a book after work, exploring the botanical gardens on my own or taking a leisurely stroll along the seaside – sometimes all it takes is a little courage.

That’s why I want to encourage all other trainees! Get out of your comfort zone (even if it takes a bit of effort at first) and make the most of this great opportunity to get to know a country and its people in an authentic way. As an Erasmus intern, you are not a tourist, but live with a host family, work in a local company and therefore have to fully adapt to the circumstances. I am glad that I was able to have this experience.

You can find more information about the program here!

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