It's not hyperbole to say that this experience changed my life. Although I've worked in office environments before (for nearly 7 years, in my prior life as a graphic artist and military contractor), this internship took place in a setting that was incredibly fulfilling creatively, personally, and professionally.
My coworkers were more than happy, after the initial period of getting to know each other, to offer me all sorts of personal insights about Irish culture, and they were often curious about my perspective on things as an American.
In broader terms, the experience taught me a lot of self-reliance, and it also taught me something that I hadn't realized yet, even at my age (29 years, at the time): I was okay with, and even relished, time spent by myself exploring. Dublin, and Ireland itself, is very safe for Americans and I felt comfortable traveling all over the country by myself.
In more specifics, I found the IES center to be in a great location in Dublin-- easy to access, and easy to get to from wherever we happened to be. I worked on the outskirts of the Dublin Metropolitan area, so it was a bit of a commute to and from work, but it was easy to get from work to our classes, or from work to our apartments. The public transportation in Dublin is a bit confusing at first, but we got the hang of it pretty quickly.
The seminars we were required to attend were, while time-consuming, totally relevant to learning about Irish culture and history, and I found it fascinating (even on the days we were exhausted). It was also really useful for learning about what our fellow interns were doing, since we were prettymuch all placed in different places, so the work we did and the experiences we had were really valid.
About halfway through our time in Dublin, our lecturer decided that we should spend at least one of the two seminar periods out and about the city, and for the remaining weeks we got to do things like attend a live broadcast of a news talk show, see a Spanish sailboat at the docks, watch a senior club Hurling match, and even went to one club to learn about Gaelic Games and play them ourselves! Getting out into the city with a knowledgeable, native guide was really fun and also really useful.
I never felt lost or really on my own in my time there-- I felt like there were resources, if I needed them, and luckily I didn't feel like I needed too many.
It was a shock coming back to America, and in the months I've been back, I've actually decided to try relocating to Dublin after I graduate so I can live and work there. Never, ever would have considered living outside of America before... but, there are things I can get in Dublin that I can't get anywhere else in the world.