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Ashleigh, PT Intern in Ireland

While pursuing her Applied Health Science degree from Wheaton College in Illinois, Ashleigh participated in a Physical Therapy internship in Ireland!


How do you feel looking back on your experience in Ireland?

It felt like home at the end, and I can see myself living there. I enjoyed the experience, and I am planning to go back soon, maybe after graduating from Wheaton.


Did you have any reservations before leaving for Ireland?

No. I vowed to have an open perspective with no expectations so that I might be surprised by what I saw and experienced and who I met. I knew that this internship would qualify for my internship credit and that it might even qualify as observation hours for physical therapy graduate schools.


What was your first impression of Ireland?

It wasn’t how I imagined it would look. My backyard was not the rolling green hills and cliffs that are in pictures and stories. However, as I ventured into the city of Dublin the same day of my arrival, I loved it instantly.


How did your impressions change from when you arrived to when you left?

At first, going into the company and maintaining (as well as surpassing) their expectations was nerve-racking. Entering a field in which I have had no experience, not even observation hours, I didn’t know what to expect. By the time I left Ireland, I felt completely comfortable and looked forward to work each day. I learned so much and know that I contributed to the physiotherapists there and helped them from their comments they said to me. I felt like I had a good grasp of what orthopaedic physical therapy looks like.


Tell me about where you lived. Did it add to your experience?

I really appreciated the location of where I lived because it was close to the city, transportation, and, most importantly, my placement site. Having roommates that became some of my best friends made my experience ten times better.


Hurling match at Croke Park - Go Ireland!Tell me about your internship.

My internship consisted of checking in and out patients, conversing with them to make them feel comfortable in a physiotherapy setting, observing and helping take notes during the session, cleaning and setting up, sending emails to the head office, and checking for supplies. I enjoyed every aspect of the internship, especially developing strong relationships with the physios and the patients.


Tell me about a typical day for you from the time you got up until the time you went to sleep.

On Wednesdays, I would wake up, pack my bag with lunch, clothes, and toiletries. I would go to the gym, shower and get ready there, and then walk around the city of Dublin for an hour or so. From there, I’d hop on a bus for 30 minutes to go to work in Swords, eating my lunch on the bus. Working there from 1:30pm-8:30pm, I would then hop on the bus to get home around 9-9:30pm. I would greet my four roommates, and we would recount our days for each other. We might end the night watching a movie, eating popcorn and Cadbury chocolate.


How did you get around?

To my internship, I either walked or took the bus, depending on the location. If I wanted to go into the city with some of my roommates, we would walk into the city, and then take the bus or taxi back. Taking the bus and walking were our main modes of transportation, but sometimes, with planned weekend excursions, we used the DART (train).


What made you want to intern abroad and specifically why in Ireland?

I have been abroad quite a few times all over the world. I wanted to do my internship abroad because I was itching to go abroad again and experience and learn about a new culture. Ireland has always been my dream destination because of its scenic hiking trails, gorgeous, breathtaking views, and Ireland’s extremely hospitable people.


BurrenHow did your time in Ireland impact you? What do you carry with you now because of this experience?

My experiences in Ireland showed me that the path of physical therapy is definitely a path I am going to follow, and possibly in a foreign country, after achieving my degree. I carry a sense of confidence knowing what I have learned and of the relationships that I have formed.


What are you doing now? Do you have future travels plans?

Currently, I am a junior at Wheaton College pursuing my degree in applied health science and physical therapy. I plan to take a gap year in between undergraduate and graduate study to work and travel around the world, and I am definitely planning to return to Ireland.


What advice would you give someone traveling abroad?

Keep an open mind. Let the culture direct your schedule, and be flexible. I would also recommend using a type of journal to record each day’s experiences.


How did you hear about World Endeavors, and why did you choose WE over other programs?

My mother pointed out this organization to me when I was looking for a physical therapy internship. I chose WE because I liked the vast range of internships and locations that it had to offer. It showed that it had made many contacts abroad and that it was an established organization.


Most important thing you gained from your time abroad?

I gained immense knowledge regarding physical therapy, and this experience solidified physical therapy as the career choice for me.

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