Differences Between US and Ireland

17 Apr

          Moving to a new country means adjusting to a new culture and different customs. Before leaving Boston I realized my life was going to change I just didn’t know how. While the introduction to new and foreign cultures undoubtedly greatly benefits a person, it can also be overwhelming. The new cultural elements a person encounters in Ireland may be so different that they seem “shocking” in comparison to cultural norms they are used to at home. When arriving in Dublin just over a month ago immediately I had noticed differences between Ireland and home; nothing to the extent to shocking however.  In the past 5 weeks of living in Ireland my day to day life has definitely changed, I can’t say for the better or for the worse because I find that you can’t equate the two in such a way. However, I can explain some differences I have noticed in the last month since my arrival.

                Compared to Americans the Irish are Olympic speed walkers. The first week I had arrived in Dublin I held on to my Americans ways and walked at my ‘normal’ pace. I quickly realized compared to them I was practically crawling and was in everyone’s way. Since then I have learned to pick up my pace which has made it increasingly easier to blend with the locals.

           Not only are the Irish the fastest walkers but ironically they never seem to get anywhere on time. In the U.S punctuality is a must. It is seen as rude and unprofessional to arrive late. In fact I have been taught that to be early is to be on time and to be on time is late. Now there are the exceptions of young children making it harder or your car broke down but usually in the U.S people are punctual. Now for the Irish I am beginning to learn that to be punctual is to arrive anywhere from the time they said they would be there and up to 25 minutes past that time. Even at classes people walk in fairly late and it seems like it’s a norm. In America the door is usually shut 5 minutes after the class is scheduled to start and you can’t get it once it is shut. In Ireland everything is always a 5 to 10 minute walk as well. Whenever you ask an Irishman how long of a walk a place is it is always 5-10 minutes. When in reality it is always at least double that time.

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         I have also found that pubs aren’t seen as the way as Americans think of bars. In Ireland a pub is more like a meeting area, somewhere to hang out. It is a social norm for the Irish to go to a pub mid-day and drink some coffee, read the paper, or have some lunch. It seems as though the Irish are more sociable than typical Americans. They don’t like much alone time. They rather go to a pub and chat with people. Realizing that the Irish seem to be more of a gregarious bunch it makes sense that they would like to be out and interacting instead of having some quiet time for themselves.

Ireland has had the ability to consume me with the new culture and the customs/beliefs that come within it. Being immersed in a new country with all new societal norms completely engulfs you and I believe you just have to let it. Because when you come out you’ll realize who you truly are.

 

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