Kelsie Baumlin is a Junior at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. She is currently interning with Olytico as part of the CAPA study abroad programme. Kelsie heads back to America on August 10th, 2018.
I was never much of a traveler growing up. In fact, I was always the one in my family that didn’t have much of a desire to travel the world. I spent my entire childhood in one home in New Jersey until moved down to Florida right before high school. In my opinion, moving to Florida was equivalent to moving to a different country so I had done all the ‘world travel’ I could handle. However, I went on a mission trip to Jamaica my junior year of high school and my view of the world was flipped upside down. I saw a glimpse of the beauty that the rest of the world had to offer, and I was amazed by the different culture I experienced.
I wasn’t convinced that I wanted to move across the world, but I had planned to travel one day. I never imagined studying abroad and if I’m being honest, my decision to sign up for study abroad was made on a random burst of confidence. I had been discussing it with my parents for a while and they were encouraging me to sign up, but I was still unsure if it was something I wanted to do. However, I had a moment of extreme self confidence, walked into the study abroad office at the University of Florida and signed myself up for 11 weeks in Ireland. About ten minutes after that meeting, my brain started to think rationally, and I panicked. What did I do? I’ve never been to Europe, how was I supposed to go to Europe for 11 weeks all by myself? I couldn’t back out of the program or my parents would be furious, so I was stuck.
Luckily, the University of Florida partners with CAPA and I received a lot of information about what my time in Dublin would look like. I would be interning for 20 hours a week, taking two classes at Griffith College, and taking one online course through the University of Florida. This started to ease my nerves, but I was still anxious about living in Ireland for 11 weeks. Fortunately, I didn’t have to go searching for an internship on my own, CAPA was there to help. I remember getting my email from CAPA saying that they had a potential internship site for me at Olytico, a startup social media analytics firm. I was given Patricia’s email and we set up a phone interview. I had a few notes and questions prepared and before I knew it, I was on the phone with Patricia and Lorcan. The interview went well, and I was hoping I got the internship. I checked my email later on that day and saw an email from Patricia saying I got the internship at Olytico. As a marketing and economics major, I was excited to start working at Olytico and intrigued to see how this internship would develop my skills.
I finally arrived in Dublin and my first day of work rapidly approached. Arriving at 34 Fitzwilliam Square (through the guidance of Google Maps, of course) and ringing the Olytico office was nothing but nerve-wracking. However, from the moment I stepped into the office (completely out of breath from the 3 flights of stairs I just climbed) I received nothing but a warm welcome from the team. I got an introduction to Olytico from Stephen and then Patricia introduced me to the different programs I would be using throughout the summer. I was still incredibly nervous to start, especially after finding out my desk was directly in front of Stephen, but everyone was beyond welcoming and helpful.
After my first few weeks at Olytico, the nerves finally went away and work quickly became something I was looking forward too. I was treated as a part of the team and given responsibilities I didn’t expect as an intern. From the first day I met the team they encouraged, taught, and inspired me every day.
I learned more at my time with Olytico than I ever imagined. I was taught how to run ‘echo’ searches, how to use Twitter and Google analytics, I wrote weekly blogs about Irish Twitter trends, and I even learned some Irish sayings, like ‘culchie’ and ‘Jaysus Howyas’ (thanks Twitter). Working with the team at Olytico was a great fit for me and they have helped me grow both professionally and personally.
Outside of my time at Olytico and classes, I had the opportunity to travel throughout Ireland and to different countries. I explored the Wicklow Mountains, went to Belfast and Giants Causeway, traveled to Galway to saw the Cliffs of Moher and Aran Islands, and did a cliff walk from Bray to Greystones (I was really living life on the edge). I also visited London and Munich and received very nice parental advice from Stephen before leaving.
Before classes are over I will also be going to Switzerland, Poland, Prague, and Cork! I’ve seen more of Europe than I ever imagined. I still don’t see myself moving across the world, but this summer has opened my mind to new perspectives and new cultures that have taught me more than I expected. I am so grateful that my random burst of confidence landed me in such an incredible country where I got to work with some of the best people.
As I conclude my time at Olytico, I cannot thank the team enough for being so supportive and encouraging this summer. Thank you for welcoming me to your office and being patient with me as I figured out how to complete my tasks. My time here has exceeded all of my expectations and I can’t wait to go home and share everything I’ve learned. Maybe I’ll bring back some of the Irish words I learned on Twitter… or not.
Thank you, Olytico for an incredible summer! I will miss the office craic and the 77-stair workout every morning.