Studying Abroad in Dublin, Ireland as a Marketing Major

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Gwen Kleve is a CEA CAPA Alumni Insider, finishing her third year of undergrad after her Spring ‘24 study abroad program in Dublin, Ireland. In addition to majoring in marketing, she’s minoring in interdisciplinary design where she works on creative skills. Originally from Denver, Colorado, so moving for school wasn’t a new thing for her. Some of her favorite things include nature, dogs, purple, indie and folk music, 80s movies, and needlecrafts. In Minnesota, Gwen works as a Marketing Assistant for the Student Unions and Activities office and is a member of their university marching band, playing clarinet. In Ireland, she interned abroad for Feeds Meal Plans, an app focused on sustainability through food abroad. She mainly worked on the marketing side of things, producing social media content and conducting market research. Before college, Gwen never really thought to study abroad but says it was a very rewarding experience. 

I went to the top of Cologne Cathedral in Germany. This experience was scary for me but the views from the top were amazing! 

Can you describe how your experience studying abroad in Dublin influenced your decision to pursue a career in digital marketing and analytics?  

Through my study abroad experience I learned about the different sides of marketing there are. I did a lot of work in Feeds’ social media content creation, advertising, and promotion in the past, so I looked for new opportunities to expand my marketing experience. Seeing a digital marketing and analytics position intrigued me and I felt like I was a good fit for the position. I wanted to try something different and see what I could get out of it. I thought, “Maybe it’s something I’ll enjoy even more.” 

Two people standing in a kitchen, filming with a camera

I learned to film cooking content with a camera stabilizer for Feeds’ social media.   

How did the cultural differences you encountered in Dublin shape your approach to problem-solving and adaptability, particularly in the context of your internship interviews?  

In Ireland, their work and academic culture is generally more ambiguous. For example, students don’t really get rubrics for their assignments. They’re meant to take the assignment and run with their own ideas to show their skills instead of showing how well they can meet the requirements. I encountered this in my international internship, and it reshaped how I analyze and problem-solve by teaching me to create my own path to my solution. In my internship interviews, I demonstrated those skills by completing an analytics assessment and presenting my findings. The assessment was open-ended, so I expressed my thoughts through my findings. 

A green and white clover with white text

This is part of the Top Green Tips campaign, spreading tips to make your eating and cooking habits more sustainable. 

Could you share an example of a challenge you faced while studying abroad and how you overcame it, and how this experience prepared you for navigating challenges in the workplace?  

I was faced with a few challenges in my internship abroad because I was tasked with many things I hadn’t done before. One of my main projects was conducting user experience interviews for market research. My supervisors gave me a few examples to go off, but these interviews had different goals in mind. I went through a lot of trial and error throughout the process, in making the questions, conducting the interviews, and creating my final report. I didn’t get things right all the time, but I asked for feedback and changed my process to find more effective solutions. I can use the skills I learned to approach problems differently and think of the details that lead to success. 

A green and white social media graphic with sustainable tips

This is one of the tips I created for the Top Green Tips campaign to be posted on Feeds’ social media stories. 

You mentioned discussing Dublin in your final round of internship interviews. How did you effectively integrate your study abroad experience into your interview responses to demonstrate your fit for the internship role at Ovative Group?  

To begin, I introduced my internship abroad in my personal introduction. This gave some background to me, and the current work displayed on my résumé. I was often asked about it after I mentioned the internship and talking about it at the start made it easier to describe if I decided to bring it up to answer a question. One of the main values at Ovative Group is centered around identity and DEI and I used my experience abroad to show how I look for ways to work with diverse people because that makes for more effective teams and solutions. 

The final round interviews at Ovative Group had different themes such as values, leadership, analytical mindset, and grit. How did your experiences abroad, particularly in Dublin, contribute to your ability to address each of these themes effectively?  

For values, my abroad experience showed that I value diversity and getting to know different perspectives. For leadership, a lot of my internship work was independent, so I took initiative on my projects and made important decisions. My internship contributed greatly to my analytical skills, to creating a method of capturing information and then to analyzing and producing solutions for my supervisors. Grit was the main skill I worked on while abroad. It was a very difficult but rewarding process to study abroad and it takes a lot of perseverance to get through all the highs and lows.  

Can you elaborate on how the ambiguity you encountered in Dublin’s culture and academic setting prepared you for handling ambiguity in the workplace, as discussed in your “grit” interview?  

In my interview I was asked how I deal with ambiguity. I immediately thought of my coursework for the internship where we discussed exactly this. I responded: “Ireland’s culture is different than the U.S. because they tend to be more ambiguous, so they don’t come off as rude. At work, you might be asked to complete a project but hardly get any instructions on how to do it. In my internship with Feeds, I had to make up the instructions myself as what I think is best. And I so I dealt with ambiguity through my organizational skills and my ability to dig deeper, asking questions that people might not think of immediately. This can be applied in any workplace.”


A stack of brochures with food on them

I created a Valentine’s Recipe Guide offered by Feeds in February as a way to spread love through sustainable cooking. 

How did your time abroad foster your ability to think critically and independently, and how did you showcase these qualities during the interview process?  

Most of my internship work was very independent so I figured out a lot of things on my own. To make my work better, I analyzed it and asked my supervisors for feedback to get different perspectives. I showcased these skills by discussing how I learned to ask for feedback even when it feels uncomfortable. I also talked about how I organized my user experience interview data to produce a report for my supervisors. This report helped them brainstorm what they wanted for Feeds in the future and how we could make it flexible for more lifestyles. 

A collage of food and drinks

This is a post I created for the Valentine’s campaign to promote the guide’s recipes and we posted it on Feeds’ social pages. 

Were there any specific cultural or academic experiences in Dublin that directly translated to skills or qualities you highlighted during your internship interviews?  

In my global internship course, we learned how to “perform” in an interview and communicate our experiences effectively. In this class, I learned a lot about communication and what kind of a worker I am. Demonstrating a concrete image of who you are shows employers confidence and reassures them that you’re true to your word. I went into my interviews using these skills to create an informative résumé and clearly communicate the work I completed in Ireland at the time.  

A cup of tea on a table outside.

This internship had a lot of remote work so I often went to cafés to get away from my apartment. This is at KC Peaches. 

Reflecting on your overall study abroad experience, what do you believe were the most significant lessons or skills gained that you applied to your internship interviews and ultimately your acceptance of the position at Ovative Group?  

One of the most significant lessons I learned was to not be afraid to ask questions. Most of the time, I felt very in the dark and unsure of what to do. Asking clarifying questions to my supervisors and asking for feedback allowed me to come back with a more detailed project that I was confident in. I figured out what my supervisors were looking for even when they didn’t know what they wanted. I talked about this in my interviews to show that I’m always trying to dig deeper and find the best solutions to the problems I get. 

A room with many bookshelves and tables

Libraries were also great places to work remotely. This library is one of my favorites in Dun Laoghaire. 

How did immersing yourself in a new environment in Dublin contribute to your personal and professional growth, and how did you leverage this growth in your interviews?  

I learned that I enjoy challenging myself and trying new things because they are incredibly rewarding. Trying new things like the user experience interviews, living in a different country, or traveling on my own are included in this. I communicated this in a few of my interviews with Ovative and it showed my dedication to working hard. Digital marketing and analytics are still very new to me but I’m willing to tackle any task Ovative gives me. This quality shows that I’ll be a great addition to a team no matter what tasks are at hand. 

A dirt road leading to a rocky hill with yellow flowers

I went on a solo hike for the first time in Ireland and it was beautiful! 

Gwen Kleve is an Alumni Insider who studied and interned abroad in Dublin, Ireland during Spring ’24. Gwen studies Marketing at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.

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