Ronan O'Brien (BComm (European) with Italian, 2002)

‘I'm currently working on the South Mall in Cork as a junior auditor (aka a trainee accountant). I only started a few months ago, but I'm enjoying the work and it's keeping me off the streets! I was also offered a position in the Central Bank, but they haven’t given me a starting date. I was put on a panel last December, I did the medical in May and they said I would probably be starting work before the end of this year, but in the meantime I took the accounting job. I haven't ruled out the possibility of going to the Central Bank if they get back to me and it's nice to have the option if I decide that accountancy isn’t for me. And a return to UCC in the autumn of 2004 is also an idea I am toying with.

‘Of my colleagues in the first cohort of the BComm (European) with Italian, I’ve heard that Carol O'Riordan and Maureen Martin are working in Milan, Alan Cinnamond and Clíodhna Ó Ruanaí were accepted into AIB's graduate scheme, and I think Eva is training to be a solicitor, so it would seem that we're all doing pretty well.

‘Looking back at my time in UCC, one of the things that I felt distinguished the Department of Italian was the class sizes, which allowed students to participate more actively than is possible in a big lecture group.’ (August 2003)


Eimer Walsh (BA Joint Honours - Language and Cultural Studies, Italian and German, 2002)

'I'm currently working as International Sales Executive for a Date Storage company called Raidtec. The company provides data storage solutions to small to medium enterprises. My main responsibility lies in providing sales support to all our Italian, eastern European, Spanish and Asian Customers. A big part of the job involves administrative work, processing orders, doing up forecasts, drawing up configurations for big installations. Previously I would have had no computer experience, I knew how to work a computer but never really understood any of the acronyms you'd see in computer advertisements. At least now I know what to look for and what to avoid if I'm ever buying a computer.

'I really landed on my feet when I found a job in which I was given the opportunity to use my Italian every day. It's an added bonus that I have gained a good knowledge of business Italian. Raidtec usually participates in a lot of the big IT trade show held throughout Europe so the job also offers me the opportunity to travel. We also hold regular technical training seminars in various hotels around the country, which usually comprises of a lot of hard work but also a lot of wining and dining.

'Having found the job so soon after I finished my exams was a big surprise. It's a great job that offers invaluable experience in the business world.' (January 2003)


Carol O'Riordan (BComm (European) with Italian, 2002)

'You'll be pleased to know that I am sitting at my new desk in Milan as the newest employee of Bord Bia. I got accepted for the Export Orientation Programme run by IBEC, and then did an interview for Bord Bia. I just arrived today so I can't tell you much more than that. They are flying me back for my graduation on the 16th so maybe I'll see you then.' (September 2002)

'I just thought I'd write you a line to let you know that all is well here in Milan. Work is going great, a little difficult sometimes but nothing I can't handle. Having said that I wish I had paid more attention when we were doing the formal mode in college! It can get a bit confusing on the phone but I'm getting used to it. I don't know if you have ever heard about the 'Slow Food Fair' held every second year. It was on 2 weeks ago in Turin and I was working on the Bord Bia stand. A great experience. I got to see amazing foods from all over the word and also get to promote Ireland's finest products. The Italians were well impressed with our salmon. I got the opportunity to hand out a lot of business cards so hopefully I will be able to get a few contacts for when I finish this contract. I certainly wouldn't mind staying in Italy for another while.' (November 2002)


Maureen Martin (BComm (European) with Italian, 2002)

'Sorry that I haven't been in contact with you sooner. To be perfectly honest I barely get to talk to my family these days. Everything is going very well for me in Milan - I'm kept quite busy with work, but am enjoying every minute of it. I have attached, I won't say a few lines because it is more like an essay on my experience since graduating from UCC (It is far too long for the website so you can delete as much as you want).' (October 2003)
[I'm sure Maureen's 'essay' will be of interest to others who have studied Italian at UCC or who are thinking of it, so I include it in full. MC]

'During my final year in U.C.C. I was offered a place on I.B.E.C.'s Export Orientation Programme (E.O.P.). That December I saw a job announcement on the U.C.C. careers website, advertising a 12-month E.O.P. placement with Heineken Italia. Shortly afterwards I attended the interview in Dublin and within the following weeks I was offered the job. I began working as the 'Murphy's Brand Champion' for Heineken Italia in Milan at the end of March 2003. One of the main requirements for the job was to have a good grasp of the language, and the Italian Department in U.C.C. certainly played a fundamental role here. In my opinion it is essential to have small group classes when you are learning a language and fortunately we were offered this. If my Italian had not been at such a high standard, I might not be sitting in Heineken Italia's head-office right now.

'I am currently based in the Trade Marketing Department, but I work for both this department and the Marketing Department. I take care of everything regarding Murphy's Irish Stout and Murphy's Irish Red beers. The Italian language is vital to my job as approximately 90% of my work is done through Italian. My main duties involve:

  • visiting Murphy's Irish pubs in Italy with the local sales representative;
  • offering support and advice to pub owners on product quality & service, menu ideas, interior design, promotional activity and general support;
  • viewing premises to assess whether or not they have the potential to become a Murphy's Irish Pub, i.e. meeting people that are interested in opening a new Murphy's pub, or converting their existing premises into a Murphy's pub;
  • undertaking monthly statistical analysis of product volume trends, and trends in the number of points of consumption
  • designing new customer giveaways, especially for our three main annual promotions, St. Patrick's Day, Halloween and Christmas;
  • liaising with the graphics agency to design and produce new Murphy's branded trade merchandise;
  • researching annual Murphy's sponsorship event;
  • responding to customer queries, that are submitted from the Italian market to our website: www.murphysbeers.com;
  • continual development of the Murphy's brand in Italy.

'So far my experience of the programme has been extremely positive. I have been given a huge amount of responsibility in my job and there is always good variety in my job activities. In my opinion the programme is a great idea, as it gives graduates the opportunity to gain valuable work experience. I would highly recommend the programme to final-year university students as an option to consider after graduating.

'Heineken is a great company to work for. The people I work with have been so helpful to me since I started working here. The job is certainly challenging but extremely rewarding as I get to travel all over Italy, meet a lot of new people and gain a year of experience that in my opinion is invaluable. Long may it last!'


Yvonne O'Connor (BA Joint Honours - Italian and English, 2002)

'Following my exams in June, I flew straight back to Italy, where the sunshine and my boyfriend were waiting for me. I spent the summer in Passignano sul Trasimeno, waitressing in a fish restaurant (though I had vowed never to waitress again...) for a month. I then applied to Boscolo Tours Ltd, to accompany a group of Italians on a trip around the South of Ireland. This improved my Italian greatly, as none of my group spoke English. It also honed my improvisation skills, as I was left to do a lot of the guided visits since the company had not pre-booked an official guide. I managed to give a relatively successful guided tour of Cashel, never having been there before! I owe it to the excellent Rough Guide Irlanda which I picked up a few days before I went on the tour.

'I returned to Passignano, wondering what to do with the rest of the summer, so I went job hunting in Perugia, having made a list of all the English schools in the area. I happened to pass by the Oxford School, and give them my CV. It being August, a very quiet time for TEFL work, I wasn't very hopeful. They phoned me the next day for an interview, and I started giving private individual lessons three days a week. October came around very quickly and they offered me a contract, 25 hours a week. This is what I am still doing, and I enjoy it very much. Having done many private lessons, and all sorts of student survival jobs in Italy, this is my first 'proper' job and thankfully it is going very well. So much so that I have applied for the Higher Diploma in Education, as well as the PGCE course to teach in the UK. Ultimately, I would like to return to live in Italy. No place compares, really. (March 2003)


Elaine Power (BComm (European) with Italian, 2002)

'Since graduation, I have been registered as a substitute teacher with the Cork Education Centre and I spent the year teaching in primary schools in the city centre area. It wasn't what I had planned to do originally but, not having found immediately a job associated with my degree, I registered for teaching and enjoyed it so much I stayed at it for the year! Having finished in June, I am currently doing interviews for jobs in the business field, mainly in the Dublin area. Ultimately I am hoping to get into Human Resources Management. One thing I will say is that all interviewers are extremely interested in the Erasmus year as regards how we coped, the challenges associated, what the year entailed etc. and I'm sure it is seen as a big plus on all of our C.V.s .' (July 2003)

'Just letting you know that I got the job with State Street and I started yesterday. It's in the client services department and so far it's all going well! Everyone is extremely helpful and hopefully I'll be settled in soon enough.' (October 2003)

Katherine Fitzpatrick (BA European Integration Studies, Major Italian/Secondary French, 2002)

'In 1998 I started a BA Degree in European Integration Studies (Major Italian/Secondary French).  I spent my Erasmus year in Siena and completely fell in love with that area of Italy.  After graduating in 2002, I did a TEFL course in Cork and then returned to teach English for a year in Florence.  I returned to Ireland, planning to go back to college, but I worked for a year beforehand, including six months in the tourist office in Cork, where I got to speak a lot of Italian.  In 2004-2005, I did a Masters in Italian Translation (NUI, Galway), then spent a summer doing in-house translation and interpretation in an engineering company in Siena.  After working for a while in Cork doing freelance translation (for a Milanese company), I then began working in a European Information Centre (part of a European Commission Network) in Cork Chamber of Commerce.  I continue to travel back and forth to Italy regularly and I use my Italian whenever possible.' (February 2009)


Department of Italian


First Floor Block A West, O' Rahilly Building, University College Cork, Ireland