Wadja Embraces Irish Politics, Culture During Parliamentary Internship

By Purnell T. Cropper | February 25, 2011

By Dave Reale ’09

Patrick Wadja ’12, a Political Science major with minors in Pre-Law and Philosophy, is interning abroad this semester at the Irish Parliament in Dublin. Since he’s harbored a passion for politics all of his life, he was excited to discover Arcadia’s College of Global Studies parliamentary internship program and became determined to make his way into it.

“When I found out that Arcadia offered a Parliamentary internship, I knew that this was the program that I wanted to do,” he says. “In my Comparative Politics classes, I learned all the differences between the American System compared to the European Parliamentary System. Now, I get to experience the system and see how it works in person.”

His application essay won him the chance and so far he’s been introduced to a culture of politics much different than what he was exposed to during previous internships in the States.

“To be honest, coming to Ireland has given me a newfound respect for the American system,” he says. “People call their Teachta Dála (TD) for all kind of things that have nothing to do with politics. The TDs accept it, because they know this is what is going to get them elected.”

As an American, Wadja found that by association alone people were skeptical of his knowledge of world affairs, something that changed very quickly as conversations took place and preconceptions vanished.

“Once they discover that you do know some things about the culture and issues in Ireland and around the world, they treat you like their best friends.”

Because of the upcoming elections, Wadja’s days have been extra hectic.

“My typical day in Parliament consists of checking my TD’s e-mails and voicemails in his office and then waiting for a call from his secretary who gives me my tasks for the day. Typically, my tasks range from making phone calls to constituents  to creating a cell phone number database, so my TD can text his constituents with the latest news. Sometimes I even work on my TD’s Facebook page.”

Seeing the inner workings of Ireland’s Parliament system also has impacted Wadja’s view of politics.

“I wanted to get into politics to make it more personal with the people. I feel that Ireland is on the extreme end of the personal level and, in my future career, I want to find a healthy balance between the American way and the Irish way.”