GRIP, Research Abroad Hunger

July 18, 2023
By Yeng Shao, Nursing '25

GRIP: Nursing Research in Dublin, Ireland

I headed back to Penn for the Fall 2022 semester, and I was learning wondrous stories from my peers about the experiences they had while abroad during their GRIP placements. Backpacking in Asia, a great stipend, an opportunity to further develop professional skills, and a global network, what more could someone ask for? I just knew I had to apply. So, when the applications for the 2023 summer rolled around, my hunger for this experience drove me to apply. I spent countless hours on the application, attended multiple webinars and sessions about GRIP, and ultimately clicked that 'submit' button.

As I anxiously waited months for the decisions to be posted, I distracted myself with applying for other summer opportunities, but I knew none of them could compare to this one in particular. Finally, after a very casual yet promising interview, and another two weeks of waiting, I opened an acceptance to the GRIP program in Dublin, Ireland at Trinity College Dublin School of Nursing and Midwifery. This GRIP program was perfect for me. Over the summer, I would take up multiple projects. One project I was eager to start was understanding how children with type 1 diabetes manage their condition in primary school settings. Ireland has seen a recent upward trend in the number of children being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. However, there aren’t enough studies out there to discuss the management of this condition in the adolescent population, so I decided to pack two suitcases and a backpack to find out more.

Over the past two weeks in Ireland, I have been hungry to learn more about the culture, the people, the food, the healthcare system, and myself. Over the past year or so, I’ve been exploring multiple parts of myself and what I hope to accomplish after college ends. I decided to accept this GRIP program for three reasons: to connect with what I hope to do in the future, take a mental health break for myself by spending time in Europe, and learn about anything and everything.

Something to note, I decided to stay with a homestay family instead of renting my own apartment in Ireland and so far, I think it was the best idea to do. Not only, do I feel safer and welcome to a new environment, by deciding to stay in a Homestay, but I have also been able to learn more about the Irish culture through their language Irish, the foods they commonly eat (Weetabix, porridge, black pudding, Irish soda bread), explore the scenic routes and nature of Ireland like Bray, Cliffs of Moher, and Giants Causeway.

I don’t want to spill too much right now, but I know that with a month and a half left, I’m still hungry for more.

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.