My fondest memories from my college experience were from my senior fall semester spent in Dublin, Ireland. I decided I wanted to intern abroad since I was going to graduate early, because who wants to end their college career early? CEA fell into my lap through a CEA Alumni Ambassador, Alexis Pagel. She offered me the perfect opportunity on a sticky note, a list of European cities where I could intern for a full semester. That sticky note started the best experience of my college career.
I chose an internship in Dublin because of its reputation as a business capital, as my major was in Business. CEA’s connection in the non-profit community there also impressed me, and I also chose Dublin because, duh, Ireland. I had always wanted to work at a non-profit, specifically in the environmental sustainability field. One of the reasons I decided to intern abroad for a full semester was because I hadn’t had an internship experience yet. I had a hard time finding the opportunity I wanted through my school and by myself in the States. CEA told me they would work with me to find the internship I was interested in, and the next thing I knew I was introduced to Colin Hogan, the AMAZING internship coordinator in Dublin. I consider him a close mentor to this day.
|A photo with my coworkers. For Christmas, they made me this elf hat out of recycled material! I still have it at home.|
Colin found me the perfect internship at The Rediscovery Centre (RDC), a small environmental non-profit outside the city in Ballymun. In a nutshell, The RDC remodeled an old Boiler House into a center for spreading awareness of the importance of environmental sustainability. The building is almost 100% off the grid, has both a compost system and a garden, and is the most fascinating building I’ve ever been in. They upcycle (making old things new) in their creative shops, painting bikes, furniture, and refreshing fashion items, and sell these in their Green shop. On top of this, they have social enterprises to help local Dubliners find jobs at the center who may be having a hard time.
Colin introduced me through his and CEA’s connections to my new family at The RDC! I made friendships that will last a lifetime, and I miss my experiences there every day. I also attended school at the International School of Business, where I took classes with other CEA and international students. There, I met my two Frenchies (Mel and Clem), and a fellow Wildcat from the University of Arizona, Bri -- all three of whom became some of my closest friends.
On top of my internship and schoolwork, I was also a MOJO Photographer! I took weekly pictures and videos for CEA and contributed to their online presence. Some of the videos I made still make me cry, because I’m so thankful for the opportunity CEA provided me. I’m so happy I was a MOJO while abroad; it was a great resume booster on top of my internship, and I love the memories I captured along the way!
Coming back to America was one of the most difficult transitions I’ve made in a long while, but I came back, graduated, briefly worked on a winning political campaign in Arizona, and now I work for CEA as a Site Specialist for Aix-en-Provence, Rome, Florence, Seville, and Amsterdam! Working for CEA is so rewarding, knowing I’m helping students go abroad and gain the experience I did abroad while also working with wonderful European onsite staff who remind me of my favorite Dublin CEA staff! Every center I work with through CEA has the same feel -- they deeply care about their students and are incredible humans.
CEA has given me some of the best memories of my life, and I am forever grateful to everyone I met along the way! Despite missing my life in Ireland, I am excited every day to come to work and help students go abroad, and look forward to my future with CEA.
Cali Fisler is the Fall 2017 Site Specialist in Dublin, Ireland, and is currently studying at University of Arizona.