After living on my own for a year and attending school in Dublin, Ireland, I was not keen on returning to my childhood home for the summer months. I enjoyed living on my own and was not ready to leave Dublin, so I scoured the internet for summer employment opportunities in Dublin. Unfortunately, I found nothing that fit my profile. Just when I was about to give up and call off my search, I came across an opportunity. Cochlear Americas invited Graeme Clark and Anders Tjellström Scholarship winners to apply for a summer internship. Excited for the opportunity to work for the company that gave me the ability to hear, I applied immediately. Shortly after, I received a phone call from Julie P., an executive assistant for operations at Cochlear Americas, offering me the summer internship.
Coming home for the summer
Upon my arrival at home, and before beginning my internship, I felt an emptiness of leaving Ireland behind. As my mom drove me home from the airport, all the buildings and businesses looked very spread out. Nothing was within immediate walking distance and the buildings appeared new. Some days when I gazed outside, I would envision myself walking the cobblestone streets of Dublin once more. In Dublin, I was surrounded by history and my heart longed for its ancientness. Additionally, after spending the year abroad and away from my parents, it was difficult coming back to the place where I spent 18 years of my life. Seeing my parents reminded me of the person I was before I left and how I had grown during my travel. It felt unnatural to be driven everywhere by them.
That was when fear dawned on me. I was worried about the unpredictability of my internship and was expecting my transition from Dublin to America to worsen as the summer went along. However, my parents were proud that I was offered this wonderful opportunity. Therefore, I decided to remain open-minded. A week later, I hopped on a plane to Denver. The day after I arrived, I began my internship, where I found it was not at all what I expected.
Getting started with Cochlear Americas
The first week, I began my days in an orientation program called Get Started, where I built all the skills necessary for the following weeks of my internship. I was the only intern among incoming employees from a variety of fields in Get Started. Already familiar with the Cochlear™ Baha® System, I learned about the other implantable solutions Cochlear manufactures from a speaker who works for Cochlear Americas’ audiology department. Later in the week, I had lunch with my manager, Kim C., Senior Talent Management and Human Capital Strategies director, who I was meeting for the first time. From the day I met her, Kim always went out of her way to ensure I had a good summer and an even better internship.
Opportunity with Cochlear Americas
Each assignment she gave me was intended to expose me to the People and Culture team, consisting of: Talent Management, Talent Development, Human Resources, Legal, Payroll, and Benefits. When I immersed myself in the work within the People and Culture team, I found that I ran through projects rapidly and Kim had a challenging time trying to keep me busy.
I learned about the recruitment process and completed a project on Cochlear’s job candidate experience, ultimately providing recommendations for improvements Cochlear could consider. I delved into Human Resources, shadowing the Get Started experience from the perspective of a current employee. I also helped prepare Get Started materials and learned about the background-check process. In addition to working with People and Culture, I got to work on a returned-mail project with the Recipient Services department, which falls under marketing. However, the most important thing I learned this summer was not from an assignment.
By working at Cochlear, I got to see Cochlear’s mission — to help people hear and be heard — come alive each day. The people here work with a purpose and they get out of bed each morning hoping to make other peoples’ lives better. Since I was a job candidate, an employee, and a recipient of Cochlear’s technology, I brought a unique perspective to Cochlear’s People and Culture team, approaching every assignment with the ability to view it through three lenses. A view from all angles helped give the Talent Management team insightful information which I hope they will build on when I am gone.
Every day, Kim would pick me up and take me to work since I do not have a car. She also made a point to take me sightseeing in Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park, and the Stanley Hotel. She did not have to, but she wanted to, from kindness. Almost every week, someone from the Talent Management team would forget their lunch or need to grab a coffee, but they would never go alone. They would always ask me and the rest of the team if we wanted anything, looking out for each other and for me.
Returning to Ireland
Going into this internship, I never imagined I would miss it when I left, but I do. I missed Ireland too when I left it behind, but working at Cochlear made my summer away from the Emerald Isle the best it could possibly be. When I return to school, I want to make a difference in the lives of other people just like Kim and the Talent Management team made a difference in mine. Luckily, I will be running orientation week and am going to mentor incoming students throughout the year. I look forward to more adventures and seeing where my second year of college takes me.
Until next time!