This Summer, I had the amazing opportunity to be able to live and intern in Dublin – I came here not knowing anything about Ireland, but am now leaving behind a piece of my heart here.

I found an internship programme from my home university that would allow me to gain experience about my hoped-for future career while living in Dublin.

I don’t know why, but living in Ireland for the Summer just felt like the right thing for me, and I had a positive gut feeling about embracing it.

As an American, I can say that I didn’t know much about Dublin (or even Ireland) before coming here, other than I knew there was a famine, and I have some family ties here.

On top of that, all I knew of Irish culture was from St Patrick’s Day celebrations, and the Shepherd’s Pie my aunt would make me when I was a kid.

While I was doing some last-minute research before coming over, one thing that kept coming up was how Irish people are very hospitable and are not afraid to start a conversation at any time.

At first, the thought of strangers just coming up to me and asking questions stressed me out, but this is now one of my favourite things about Dublin and Irish people!

There have been many times when I was on the Luas when someone would just start talking to me or asking questions about where I am from, and why am I in Dublin?

I loved hearing about the connections people have to the US, such as if they have visited before or if they have family there.

I found it was mostly older people who asked questions and told their life stories, so the conversations have been pretty fascinating, and I learnt more about Ireland.

There was also much more diversity here than I was expecting.

I grew up hearing that the US was the “great melting pot” of various cultures, but so is Ireland, and sometimes I think they are doing it better here.

There is a reason that millions of people visit Dublin each year, and it’s because the people here make you feel welcome and excited that you are visiting.

When I arrived in May, I did not know what to expect from Dublin, but it quickly became home to me and I fell in love with many parts of Ireland along the way.

So, thank you to every person I have ever talked to or stood next to on the Luas every day, because it was the people here who made me feel comfortable and let me call it home for the Summer.