When I decided to study abroad in Dublin this summer, I wanted to keep a fairly open mind and try not to have too many expectations of what it would be like. From everyone I have talked to about their experience abroad, they highly recommend it and say it is one of the most worthwhile parts of their undergraduate career so far. I knew I couldn’t miss out on that, so I decided to spend 12 weeks in Dublin.
When I arrived early on Sunday morning, I immediately noticed a few stark differences between Dublin and Pittsburgh. First of all, they drive on the opposite side of the road and the driver is on the right side of the car instead of the left. Next, Euros look like Monopoly money to me and I am just now conceptualizing that it is real money that I am spending way too much of. Also, the light switches are outside of the bathroom and I always forget that. And perhaps most shockingly, the language spoken here is really different than how we speak at home.
Though they still speak English here, I noticed immediately that it is not like the English at home. My taxi driver from the airport sounded like he was speaking a foreign language, even though he was speaking the same language as I do. I realized how much we rely on others understanding slang phrases and dialect in communication, so I decided I have to learn some Irish phrases. Here’s a few:
- Scarlet on you- it’s like shame on you/ you should be embarrassed
- Kneeling down- settling in
- Crack- fun
Basically, I have learned to ask people to repeat themselves and/or talk slower and that that is okay to do. I also learned that Dublin is confusing and complicated and beautiful and majestic and that just because something may appear difficult at first does not mean it is impossible. I have learned to take living abroad one moment at a time and to appreciate all of the little wonders in doing so. The first week has been a big adjustment, and I cannot wait to see how much I grow in the next 10.