The Catholic University of America

Maggie O'Neill - Irish Parliamentary Internship


 Top Five Reasons to Select the Program

  1. The Internship- being exposed to a different type of government was an amazing learning opportunity and also so much fun. I loved the people I worked with and still speak with them.
  2. The Irish People- the people of Ireland are so nice and a lot of fun. You will never meet friendlier people.
  3. The Country Itself- I always wanted to study abroad in Ireland because I wanted to go to an English-speaking country to study. More importantly to me it is also where I have family so it was wonderful to be able to see family while I was there.
  4. History- Dublin is so rich with history. Taking a history course while there also really makes you appreciate the city itself and the history there. I had known some history from my parents but the course really helped me appreciate the depth of the history.
  5. Location- Dublin is a great location for it has great public transportation so you can go all over Ireland very easily. Also, it is easy to get all around Europe with RyanAir being based in Ireland. It made traveling very easy.


What I Wish I Would Have Known Before I Went

  • Don't tell the locals you work for the government. It will never end well. The Irish people always have some problem with their politicians, it might be very minor, but the Irish are very opinionated. Keep it relatively quiet unless if you are freinds with the person. Just to avoid confrontation.
  • The Dart (the local train) closes early, so be prepared to pay for cabs, which are quite expensive when they hear your accent.
  • Try and make friends with people your age from Ireland. It's good to know locals and to be able to branch out. You don't work or go to school with anyone your age from Ireland. The classes are only American kids within the program and work tends to be with adults.
  • Basic things are really expensive there because everything needs to be imported. Try and bring your toiletries with you, you'd be surprised how much money you can save.
  • Try and see as many of the different sporting events as possible. They are so different from American sports and they are a huge part of their society.


A Funny Story or Situation

Wait, That Means What?

Towards the beginning of the program, I was at dinner at my host house with my host mom, two of her daughters, three of her grandchildren and my friend, roommate from the program Danielle. Danielle and I were talking about what we were going to wear out that evening because our host mom asked where we were going or if we needed suggestions. We mentioned where and Danielle asked what I was going to wear. I casually said I was going to wear my black pants and some shirt. I was not sure. My host mom's daughters burst out laughing and I did not know what was going on. My host mom started to laugh and said "Maggie I think you mean your black trousers, here pants mean knickers or underwear I think you call them." I was so embarresed and quickly apologized but it was such a funny moment because it is truly the little words you wouldn't think of that mean different things in different countries. My roommate and I were just lucky that conversation was held under our roof rather than out in public.


The Teacher From Whom I Learned the Most

The professor I learned the most from in this program was Tom Feeney. He taught my Modern Irish History class while I was studying in Ireland. I really enjoyed his class because I learned even more about the history of Dublin and Ireland. It was a great course because it really intertwined with the other classes I was taking. Also the Irish people find their history very important topic and bring it up quite often and many issues date back to the beginning of their Republic. This made the history class extremely important. Also it was great having the background of so many things in the city of Dublin. There is history all over the capital city and so many of the names have historical importance, it was great to be so informed.



I lived in a homestay in Ireland. I really enjoyed my homestay because they had a lot of great insight and suggestions about where to go for things and places to go. It was also nice to know locals and to have a family around, because I am a very big family person. It also was nice to have dinner always made for you so you didn't have to worry about making it for yourself when you got home from work. It was weird at times having to deal with the family problems and awkwardness. I sometimes felt uncomfortable going down to the kitchen when I knew my housemom had people over. We also only had one shower, that was hard and a little weird but it always worked out fine. You just have to remember that living with a host family means that it is someone else's house you are living in. But at the same time also remember to never be too timid because you are also paying them to live there.


Student Profile:

MajorPhilosophy Pre-Law

Hometown: Long Island, NY

Program: Irish Parliamentary Internship

Term Abroad: Spring 2012

Contact Maggie