Sunday, 25 February 2018

Work Experience: Diary Entries

Student 1
Week One- Mater Hospital Dublin
For my first week of Work Experience I went to the Mater Hospital in Dublin. As I have been interested in a career in medicine for a while this course was very beneficial for me. We mostly spent the week listening to talks from different workers in the hospital. For example, we got to hear the realities of studying medicine and working after college from a Junior Doctor in the hospital. The highlights for me were visiting the blood labs and the mortuary. In the blood labs we saw bags of different blood cells and learned how blood is analysed. The hospital had tubes that could send vials of blood to different parts of the hospital instantly which I found amazing. In the mortuary we saw a brain which had been preserved in a bucket, I was surprised that nobody fainted. Overall, the week was very enjoyable and gave me a much better insight into working in a hospital. 
Week Two- Paz de Ziganda Ikastola, Pamplona, Spain
My second week of work experience was at an Ikastola in Spain. An Ikastola is a primary/secondary school where classes are taught through Basque, a minority language in Northern Spain, like a Gaelscoil in Ireland. The students learned English as a third language there and I helped out in their classes for the week. At the start of the week, I was in the playschool and primary school part of the school. I read stories like The Three Little Pigs to those children and made them do actions and sound effects with certain words to keep them engaged and help them to understand. I also helped older primary school children who were practising dramas they would be performing for their parents in English. I read scripts with them so they could hear how a native speaker pronounced different words. With one class who were studying the ocean, I told them the story of The Giant's Causeway. They loved hearing about Irish culture and laughed at my accent every chance they got.

Later in the week, I spent time in the secondary school section of the school. I spoke to them about differences between Ireland and Spain and answered questions they had about Ireland. They were especially shocked by the different foods we ate in Ireland. Nobody there had ever eaten or even heard of turnips or parsnips. They were also surprised by how different our school was to theirs. I told them that we couldn't wear nail varnish, makeup, or big earrings and they all looked horrified. They were also surprised when I showed them pictures of our school uniform and told the that most schools in Ireland had uniforms. Based on the information I told them, they assumed my school was a private school, as it sounded similar to private schools in Spain. None of them could believe that my school was not private and that most non-private schools in Ireland were similar to my school. We also talked about books, celebrities, and TV shows. Their standard of English was amazing so it was easy to have conversations with them. I even got to help out in a 6th Year English class who were preparing for the Spanish Leaving Cert. I read the ending of the novel they were studying aloud for them so they could hear my accent. Then I got to hear about the different college courses they wanted to do and what the Spanish Leaving Cert was like.

That week was an amazing and unique opportunity to see what teaching English as a foreign language is like. It really was one of the highlights of Transition Year for me and helped me to decide my career path. 
Week Three- Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, Cork. 
I spent my final week of work experience at Pfizer Pharmaceuticals in Cork. Pfizer manufacture different medicines like Paracetamol, and at the plant I visited, they made the raw materials for the medication rather than the actual medication. We had guided tours of the labs, plant, and warehouses from workers in the different areas. The highlights of the course for me were working in the labs and engineering talks we heard. In the labs, we got to analyse different substances and use advanced technology to create graphs to help us identify the substances. This was a fun way of seeing what working as a scientist in a lab is like. During the engineering talks, we did different challenges which made the talks really engaging. We had to build a tower and a bridge out of straws and balance different things on them. This week was very interesting as I learned a lot about different careers in STEM subjects. I got to see where different STEM degrees could lead which I found beneficial. 

Student 2

Week One- Speech and Language Clinic 
My mum works as a receptionist in a speech and language clinic, so I decided to go there for my first week of work experience. I was also interested to discover more about the occupation of a speech and language therapist. On the first day, I was nervous as I arrived at the clinic, because I was unsure of what it would be like. However, the three therapists were very welcoming and I soon settled in. I was given the opportunity to sit in on several therapy sessions everyday. I was very lucky to get to do this and most of the parents were open to me being there. I liked interacting with the different kids and watching how the therapists worked with them. Each child had different issues and the therapists adapted the sessions to suits them, changing every week. I realised that speech and language therapy covers a wide variety of topics, not just stammering and pronunciation. I really enjoyed my week and got the chance to work with lots of different children. I would now consider a career with children or/and with speech therapy in the future.

Week Two- Primary School 
For my second week of work experience, I decided to return to my primary school. I didn’t really have an interest in teaching, but I wanted to experience work with children and see how it suited me. On the Monday, I attended the I Wish conference in the RDS instead of work experience. This was interesting and gave a good insight into the various opportunities the STEM subjects can give to girls. On the Tuesday I began work in the school. I split each day between a junior infant and senior infant class. This was slightly overwhelming at first, as there were so many small children, but it became easier as the week progressed. I helped out with art, writing and reading. It was fun and interactive. On the Wednesday I talked to the 6th class about secondary school and gave them some tips. I also went to the 5th class and helped them with the foreign languages they were learning. Overall I enjoyed the week, but I’m not sure if I’d like to work with kids all the time.

Week Three- Vintage Clothing Shop 
My third week was spent in a vintage clothing shop in Temple Bar in town. This was quite different to my previous weeks as it did not involve children and I was doing completely different tasks. I got great experience working in a shop and I also learned a lot about vintage clothes. I have an interest in fashion and sewing so I really enjoyed this week. My jobs involved helping customers, steaming, sorting and colour coding clothes and dressing up mannequins for display. I loved seeing the different eras of fashion while I was organising the clothes by style and colour. I would possibly like to work with fashion in the future, as I am interested in an artistic or creative career. However, I don’t think my strengths would lie in a career like managing a shop.

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