After living in Ireland for so long, it has gotten easier to forget how far away from Montana I really am and Dublin has felt like home to me for a while now. I think a large factor in that is the similarities Ireland shares with Montana. Everyone only shares one degree of separation with any given stranger they might meet while grocery shopping and several small towns hold small populations of tight-knit communities. This is particularly apparent when you start traversing the country with someone as popular (or at least well-known) as Michael Healy-Rae.
It may be this “small town similarity” that forces politics to go about the election game in such a different way than what we are use to being subjected to in the United States. Rather than candidates making their presence known on TV, the radio, and social media, they literally and almost exclusively rely on going door to door and personally asking people for votes. Simple, effective, and honest. I am going to miss this.
My relatives have been asking me if this internship has helped me decide what I would like to do with the rest of my life and my answer is always “no”. Irish politics are incomparable to what we do in the states and I could not decide my future career off of the work I have done here in Ireland, despite the similarities between Montana and Ireland. I did however, learn a tremendous amount about leadership from my time here in Ireland and how to be a proper politician. I also learned that I do not have the patience to listen to people complain about their neighbors to me all day so at least we can rule city council woman out of the picture.
Ireland taught me more than I could have imagined in the two months I was here and I am very thankful to have had this opportunity. I will be back some day.