GRIP, Research Abroad The Freedom of a Virtual Experience

June 1, 2021
By Breanna Trainor, Nursing '22

Nursing Research in Dublin - Ireland

I am currently participating in the GRIP Nursing Research Program at the Trinity College of Dublin (TCD) in Ireland. I decided to apply because the opportunity to spend a summer abroad in Ireland excited me. When looking into this program I came across the TechChild project that investigates an anthropological perspective of the initiation of technology dependence to sustain a child’s life. Planning to pursue a career in pediatric nursing, applying to this program was a no-brainer. Not long after applying, I discovered that all GRIP programs would be virtual for the summer, but this didn’t scare me off. Virtual or not, this program presented a unique opportunity to apply what I’ve learned about nursing research through my first three years at Penn to an actual research project. Additionally, I always wanted to dip my toes into research but never had the opportunity due to my hectic schedule during the school year. With no conflicting summer plans, I made the easy decision to go forward with the virtual GRIP program.

Sure. I'd prefer to be in Dublin right now, but after a few days into my internship, I am delighted with my decision to stick with it. My supervisor, colleagues, and peers are all very warm and supportive. The TCD staff has carefully fostered a welcoming environment aimed at enhancing our knowledge and research skills. At the same time, they are doing their best to immerse us into the Irish culture. For example, they gave us a virtual tour of TCD, gave us a bucket list of places to see and things to do if we ever visit Ireland, and are planning to invite some of the current international TCD students to our weekly check-in meetings to simulate a more cultural experience. Aside from everything I am learning about research and the Irish culture, the virtual nature of this internship allows me to work “on my own time,” which gives me more freedom in my schedule than a typical in-person internship. Additionally, being virtual allows me to work from wherever I want. This is great for the summer as I am able to travel within the United States while I am still immersing myself in the GRIP experience.  For example, here’s a picture of me working from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. This is not a traditional GRIP experience, but by optimizing the virtual nature of this internship, I plan to have a fun-filled summer of adventures within the United States while gaining new skills and participating in this unique global experience. I may not be in Ireland this summer, but that won’t stop me from visiting in the future.

The Global Research and Internship Program (GRIP) provides outstanding undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to intern or conduct research abroad for 8 to 12 weeks over the summer. Participants gain career-enhancing experience and global exposure that is essential in a global workforce. Placements and funding awards are available.