Irish Internship Programme

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Beginning in 1996, Notre Dame’s Irish Internship Programme has attracted highly qualified students to live and work in Dublin. Boosted by the 2012 football game in Ireland, the internship programme has expanded dramatically, reaching 25 ND students in Summer 2013 and soaring to 46 in Summer 2014. These fully-funded internships place students in prestigious organisations reflecting the full spectrum of Irish life, embracing the community sector, entrepreneurship, research laboratories, politics, business, education, social justice, STEM, sport, theatre and Irish culture. For two months, students are immersed in their host organisations, working alongside Irish employees and gaining valuable pragmatic experience. Throughout the summer, the programme immerses the students in Irish culture through an extensive cultural calendar, introducing them to the Irish landscape, theatre, sport, music, and history.

As with so much else in ND’s relationship with Ireland, the internship programme was initiated by Don Keough, who generously supported the initial ND intern in Ireland back in 1996. The very first of them, now Fr. Sean McGraw CSC of the ND faculty, worked with Alan Dukes (leader of Fine Gael, the Irish political party). Since 2001, ND’s Irish Interns have served in a variety of prominent Irish institutions – government departments, galleries, businesses, libraries, archives, museums, not-for-profits, laboratories, cultural bodies, publishing houses, Irish language organisations, theatres, political parties, architectural practices and archaeological excavations. The generosity of the Notre Dame benefactor community and our Irish partner organisations makes it possible to award internships in Dublin to promising students each summer, including some slots reserved for Irish Studies students. Internships last for two months each summer. Successful candidates receive an award covering round-trip airfare from the USA to Ireland, accommodation, and living expenses for the duration of their stay.

We thank all our multiple partners for their warm generosity in hosting our ND interns and we look forward to deepening our relationships as Notre Dame increasingly engages with Ireland


We inhabit a world where T-shaped learning is increasingly salient. T-shaped students have a principal skill (the vertical leg of the T) but they also branch out (the horizontal bar of the T). They have deep expertise in one discipline but a broad knowledge base in others, and a wide range of cultural experience and passionate interests, including travel. Universities must certainly excel in producing students who are ‘deep’ in their specific disciplines, but they must also increasingly engage them in broadening the top bar of the T. An international internship encourages T-shaped skills – critical thinking, creativity, path-finding, innovation, leadership, global awareness, and technological literacy. T-shaped people are the innovators, able to engage in the crucial lateral thinking that comes up with new thinking about old problems. An internship develops expertise in an immersed environment; inviting the intern to become more flexible, more empathetic, more engaged with the wider world. These internships foster T-shaped students, possessing the skills that world-class companies increasingly seek.

2017 DATES

8 week programme: Sunday 28 May – Saturday 22 July


Friday 27 January: Closing date for receipt of application
Sunday 28 May: Arrive to Dublin
Monday 29 May: Orientation at O’Connell House
Tuesday 30 May: Begin placement
Saturday 22 July: Return to the US

Naughton REU internships last for 10 weeks. For more information go to Naughton Fellowships


We welcome applications from ND undergraduate students from every year in every major with a genuine interest in learning from an Irish internship. The programme seeks independent, smart, flexible, mature candidates who seek to really engage with Ireland and embrace the opportunity of living abroad. They should demonstrate a willingness to commit to their work placement, to the cultural enrichment and professional development programme. They should have an open, curious mind, be personally flexible in dealing with new situations, and have a genuine desire to engage with the wider world.


You must apply through GoIrish. You can apply for multiple internships. Your application should include:
1. A Statement of Purpose/ Cover letter
2. A Resume
3. Transcript of your grades
4. An email address for your selected ND recommender


The award covers airfare which must be booked through our recommended provider (up to a maximum of $1500), accommodation for 8 weeks at UCD summer residences, HTH health insurance for the 8 weeks, ground transport to and from work, airport pick-up on arrival, a Cultural Enrichment Programme and living expenses (to cover food and other reasonable living expenses incurred during your time here).


Because these unpaid internships are part of the academic programme of the University of Notre Dame, and because they are less than 90 days in duration, interns are issued with a visitor’s passport stamp on production of the relevant documentation (valid passport, ND student ID, official acceptance letter issued by ND, proof of return flight)


Your round trip airfare from USA to Dublin will be covered up to a maximum of $1,500. Flights should be booked through Anthony Travel.


Interns will be housed at University College Dublin [UCD]. They will stay in six-person apartments and have individual bedrooms & en-suite bathroom, with a shared area and a kitchen. Apartments have 24-hour security and free wifi.


Each new crop of ND students appear the same when they first arrive in Dublin airport. Beyond the consistently impressive variation of ND apparel and even more consistently impressive perfect smiles, there is always a tangible current of trepidation, excitement, and curiosity unique to the student abroad that marks them out from the hordes of tourists and travellers milling around the airport. Despite having travelled thousands of miles, for many the first time overseas, ND students are keen to take in all they can about Dublin and Ireland from the outset. Dubious jokes from certain staff members about being ‘born and bred and buttered’ in Dublin, or even more dubious claims from others that they have never missed a penalty in their lives, are not met with the (usual, correct) response of derision and mocking (‘slagging’), but rather with the earnest, well-meaning stares most commonly seen in anthropologists observing the social rituals of undiscovered tribes in the Amazon Basin. Irish culture, so heavily synthesised and embraced in American culture, is made suddenly at once more real and more alien when it is experienced in Ireland. Our guiding principle here at O’Connell House is to expose and exhibit real Ireland, all of Ireland, to our students, and to make them feel that they have truly lived here, and not just visited as a casual tourist. The only way to do this is through what the official course description calls ‘cultural enrichment’, what O’Connell House calls ‘learning through the soles of your feet’, and what students call ‘trespassing’.

There no better way of understanding Irish farming than leaping over fences in the Boyne Valley three at a time to escape a herd of ominously uniform approaching cows. There is no better way of understanding the ethos of the GAA than being given a personal training session by one of the most revered elite sportsmen in Irish memory. There is no better way of understanding of Irish hospitality than being welcomed by the Benedictine Sisters of Kylemore despite being two hours late due to the vagaries of Irish roads and weather. And there is no better way of understanding the nexus of technology and tradition in Ireland than seeing a post-it note with directions to Glendalough stuck over the bus driver’s GPS system.

Our ND students prove time and time again to be uniquely adept at maintaining their university identity and national pride while metabolising every Irish experience into their social, cultural, and linguistic attitudes and predilections. There is a special pride, and a sense that our work is done, when we hear cups of tea proclaimed as ‘grand’, threats of rain greeted with a shrug and a ‘sure look it’, and an evening out reported as being ‘great craic’. Without our extensive programme of cultural immersion, our students would leave as they came – Americans with a semester in Ireland on their resume. With cultural immersion, they become something new: they come from America, but they are of Ireland.


Each week we invite a panel of professionals to join us at O’Connell House for a conversation about their careers; the paths they chose, the life lessons they learned along the way, how they found careers that matched their values, interests and drive, and how to become a person that makes a difference in the world. We introduce our interns to diverse, stimulating and successful professionals, who share their stories and advice about being job-ready with our young people. We encourage our interns to think outside the box, to connect with others who can help them achieve their goals, and to be discerning about what they want to achieve in their lives. As these internships are all work placements, the Professional Development sessions offer a timely intervention in our students’ trajectory as they contemplate life after college.


The Internship coordinator will be the key contact for all parties involved. S/he will liaise with placement supervisors throughout the process – establish start dates, hours of work and position description for the intern; Prepare all documentation for the site in advance of student arrival to Dublin – this includes police background checks, visa requirements – where applicable etc.; Visit the site during the programme to ensure that intern is thriving; Follow up with the sponsors, supervisors and mentors post-placement to maintain and develop the relationship for future interns; Design survey and collate feedback from interns, supervisors and mentors; Run orientation session on ND campus for all interns pre-departure; Prepare information pack for interns; what to pack, information on travel, where to eat, how to use public transport, how to contact home when abroad…; Meet all interns at Dublin Airport on Monday 25 May; Introduce the interns to the city: walking tour, visit to supermarket, cell phones, ATM machines; 24-hour point of contact for interns while in Dublin. Run ‘catch-up’ sessions with the interns over the 8-week programme.

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