From time to time we are approached here in Ariel House to act as host for an international intern, pursuing a career in hospitality.
We were approached by the CEA Study Abroad programme who introduced us to Emilee Roberson. She arrived last May with 5 other interns, (new friends) from the USA. She is a 22 yr old student, majoring in Hospitality and Tourism in the Appalachian State University (ASU), of North Carolina. She eventually wants to open up her own small B&B back home in Asheville, in the same State.
As Emilee is due to finish up her sojourn with us we thought it would be interesting to get her ‘take’ on her experience of life in Dublin.
Her first impression of Ireland was, of course, the weather. She had been warned about Irish summers so she had packed her rain jacket. Nobody, however, had prepared her for the inconsistency of the Irish climate. In her first week, she was caught in so many showers, “ with no umbrella”, that all she could think of was “where am I and what am I doing here?”
However, she persevered in her downtown accommodation in Smithfield and contrary to her first thoughts, she now admits that she has “gotten used to the weird weather.” Which, she hastens to add, does not mean she likes it.
As we discussed the content of this post with Emilee, her joyful personality continued to shine through. For instance, she recounted her first ‘day at the office’, as follows.
“On my first day heading to work from the City centre, I asked for directions to Lansdowne Road, at the train station. A very kind lady (with an umbrella) pointed to a southbound track and suggested that I get the next train leaving for Bray.
I did – but, unfortunately, it was a mainline train rather than the Dublin Area Rapid Transport (known locally as the DART). I ended up in Bray town, which is about 15 miles (24.5k) past my stop. What’s more – I had no phone connection and couldn’t ring Deirdre in Ariel House, to advise her of my predicament.
When I eventually turned up, they were more worried about me than annoyed. Eventually we all laughed and I did my tour of the guesthouse. What I learnt during my student placement here, is that everybody is treated as if they are part of the Ariel House family – guests included.”
“Oh yeah”, she continued, “Prior to my coming to Ireland, I’ve never actually tasted ‘real tea’ (breakfast tea) – I’ve always had herbal teas. So, you can imagine my embarrassment when serving during the renowned Ariel House Afternoon Tea one day, and was asked for some more tea.
I brought over the box of herbal teas to the table and received some very strange looks. The guest informed me that all I had to do was to pour a cup from the teapot on the sideboard. Just an American intern abroad”, I said red faced.
It hasn’t been all work for our American intern. Not only has Emilee explored Dublin, (her favourite place is Trinity College / Book of Kells) but she has also travelled around Ireland. She has visited the Giants Causeway in Antrim N.I; Galway, the Cliffs of Moher and is actually planning to ‘pop’ over to London for a flying visit before she leaves Dublin at the end of this month.
Emilee finished our chat, as she had to get back to work, by outlining what she loved about her Ariel House experience. “I did not meet even one customer that had a complaint, which must be some sort of record. The staff are genuinely helpful, understanding and extremely friendly. When I think back about my time here it will always be with a smile on my face.”
“I’ve learnt loads from Deirdre and her team which will really stand to me when I return to ASU this fall. Will I come back to Ireland? You betcha, and when I do I will stay in Ariel House, and in Room 251 if it is available.”
Till the next time – the Ariel House