Experience 17 – ““Erasmus was a complete springboard for my future career. The year abroad taught me so much about myself and helped me to develop independence and resilience.”
Mr Barry Slowey
Posted: 11 September, 2017
Mr. Barry Slowey from Dublin embarked on a National Diploma in International Marketing at Dundalk Institute of Technology almost 30 years ago.
At that time, the European Erasmus programme was in its infancy in Dundalk Institute of Technology. The Institute was just starting to grow its European partnerships in the early 1990s with France and Germany, where students took French, or German as part of their International Marketing Diploma studies. DkIT’s partnerships have now burgeoned to 60+ partner colleges all over Europe and beyond, since those early days of Erasmus.
The IUT in Le Havre, France was one of Dundalk IT’s first French partner colleges and to this day exchange links between both colleges remain strong, with DkIT students studying in Le Havre every year on Erasmus. Barry was one of the first students of DkIT to study on Erasmus in France.
“I really wanted to seize the opportunity to go on Erasmus. I wanted to improve my French language skills for personal and career reasons and to experience life in another country.”
“Erasmus was a complete springboard for my future career. It totally changed my outlook on Ireland, on France and gave me great intercultural awareness, as well as developing my emotional intelligence skills. The year abroad taught me so much about myself and helped me to develop independence and resilience.”
“One of my closest friends to this day is a French student I met while on Erasmus (Christophe Bordin). During my study abroad, I convinced him to come and study at DkIT on Erasmus the following year! I was his best man at his Wedding in France last year, almost 30 years later!”
Indeed it was at Dundalk Institute of Technology that Barry met his future wife Anne. “I sat next to my wife in Dundalk IT on the first day! We were friends for a few years before going out with each other.”
After finishing his studies at Dundalk IT, Barry successfully applied for the one-year European Orientation Programme where he worked for GMX Ireland in Thurles, which incorporated a 6-month placement in their partner company, Moulinex in Paris.
With the onset of the recession in Ireland, Barry decided to spread his wings again and seek work overseas. He successfully applied for a role with Phillips in Vienna for 6 months initially, before being offered a permanent job with them, where he remained for 4 years. While working in Phillips, he adapted himself to learn German from scratch at night-classes.
Barry then returned to Ireland to work for Cook Medical in Limerick as their European Marketing Manager.
“My fluency in German and French and my work-experience to date were key to me getting the job with Cook Medical. I’m still with Cook Medical 21 years later, now based in Northern Carolina, USA, where I’ve been for the last 15 years.
Barry is now President of Cook Medical’s global Endoscopy division.
“My Erasmus studies totally changed my life! I’m a totally different person, thanks to Erasmus. It was the key turning point in my life and career!”