University College Dublin, Fall 2018.
Being in a foreign country, it is quite a given that there are going to be a lot of differences between that particular country and the country where you are from. Now as stated in previous blog posts, being here in Ireland is a lot…, I don’t want to say easier, but it is better for me as someone who doesn’t speak a foreign language, to be somewhere where English is the main language spoken. Of course with those differences come similarities as well.
Clothing wise a lot of people here dress up more than people back at home. I can only talk for myself and from my own experience, but most college students back in the states do not dress up that much for class. We wear leggings, jeans, a sweater or just any outfit that is simple and easy to throw on. We normally do not put that much thought into what you will be wearing to your 8 a.m. class, well of course unless you do put a lot of thought into that decision, then more power to you. Anyways, college students here, whether they are Irish students or other study abroad/exchange students from other countries, I have noticed that they get more dressed up for class. Not necessarily wearing suit, ties and ball gowns, but the girls wear dresses and skirts a lot as well as heels and boots, but thinking about it, that is the style here. Their casual dress is more of a higher tick on our fancy scale, which I like to see as well as realizing how different it is to actually see it.
Going to the restaurants here is very similar to back home. You walk in, either seat your self or a waiter or waitress seats you. You then receive a food and drink menu, you order a drink, then order your food, then receive both food and drink, consume your meal, then pay and leave. One thing about paying though is tipping. Here in Ireland of course they won’t turn down a tip, but they aren’t really big on tipping in general. Back in the states we are huge on tipping and especially if everyone were to always tip 20%, the waiters and waitresses are making bank, but as I said, that isn’t the case here. They will accept a tip from you, but they are never expecting it. If you don’t tip them they won’t come up to you saying was it bad service? Did you not like me? And all of those other questions running through the wait staff’s mind when they receive a bad tip. Going off of that difference, there is another major difference with the restaurant atmosphere and that is that there are mainly pubs here in Ireland, not really restaurants, so whenever you want to go out for a nice quiet dinner, do not go to a pub, because at a pub all you will get is live music which I couldn’t be happier about. Of course not all pubs do live music, especially everyday, but no matter what corner you turn, you will be able to find a pub that suits your needs.
Slang is something that I really haven’t been learning while being here. To me if I were to use Irish slang I would feel very fake. I do not want to impersonate the people who live here and treat them like they are a museum exhibit to make fun of, of course not. Now when people come up to me and use slang and I ask what it means, they do not hesitate to tell me, so I am learning it yes, but do I use it, no. I feel comfortable with using some slang the Irish people use, such as something as simple as they call french fries, chips, which I wouldn’t really consider slang, but there are things like that where I feel comfortable, but besides that I do not want to be disrespectful.
When I am not traveling on the weekends I try and do some sort of activity here in Dublin so I can still get out of my room and explore. Even if it is just going downtown to a place I have already been, I don’t want to be sitting in my room when I have the experience of a life time. Of course with that being said, there are certain circumstances where sitting in your room and taking a breather for a night is completely acceptable. My weekends although are fun and action packed, traveling can take a real toll on you and tire you out. Now since I have been here I have visited multiple different cities in Ireland, as well as Germany, Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and this past weekend I was in the Netherlands. I love traveling, I have always loved going to new places so being able to have the opportunity to fly wherever I want for a cheaper price than flying from the states, it is such a deal breaker. Anyone who ever studies abroad, I highly recommend traveling and seeing different parts of the world. I wish I had more money and that there were more weekends in my time here where I don’t need to be studying for exams and working on major projects so I could travel to more countries, but I still have a few more up my sleeve that I am really looking forward to.
Safety is a major concern with me. With what is going on in the world, not even just now, but ever since I was young, I have always been someone who likes the follow the rules and be responsible. That particular category, safety falls underneath it for me. It makes me feel very powerless when I do not feel safe and that to me is one of the worst feelings in the world. I do not mean the feeling of “power,” I mean feeling defenseless and physically weak. If anything were to ever happen that were to put my family, friends or I in any danger, I would want to be able to take care of us, so safety is a major high on my must need list. Ireland so far has been quite safe. I haven’t felt unsafe at any particular point, of course there are certain superstitions with if you are walking alone, you always need to be aware of your surroundings, but no I have not felt unsafe, which I value very much.