Individual and Personal Issues (Getting Attacked by Pigeons)

So far, Ireland hasn’t been too much different from America. Irish people are extremely friendly and typically respond fondly to American tourists. I was a little bit nervous about studying abroad, especially during a time when American politics seems to be at the forefront of world news, because I didn’t want people to misjudge me or have a certain view on Americans that wasn’t accurate. I have found this to be mostly untrue. They obviously are aware of stereotypes, which usually have to do with cowboy hats and plaid shirts, but they don’t really project them onto me.

I don’t have any experiences with conflict here yet. No one in my office has had any differing of opinions with anyone else. I feel like in America I would have experienced or witnessed at least a disagreement by now. Perhaps this is the Irish way of dealing with conflict; they avoid it altogether. Everyone in my office is very polite, almost too polite. It gets a little annoying, they sound like they’re talking to people they’ve only just met, like they aren’t too comfortable with each other yet. I have equated this to how young people talk to their friends’ parents, always on your best behaviour. But overall, this isn’t a bad thing. It makes the office environment quite pleasant.

One thing that I have noticed a difference in is time management. Americans are very much organized around time, and rigidly so. We like to keep schedules and adhere to them. Irish people, at least in my office, tend to go with the flow. There have been times where we’ve all forgotten about a meeting and one person just sits in the room and waits for us, thinking we are just late. In America, I feel like it’s way less common to forget about meetings like this. Eventually someone will wander into the cubicle area and mention the meeting and everyone will say, “oh, yes! I’ll be right in,” as they proceed to take their time in wandering over to the room. In America, missing a meeting would most likely be met with some urgency and apology.

As far as I can tell, the living conditions for the average citizen are pretty comparable to an American’s in a city this size. I see both homelessness and lavish homes; there are people of all economic backgrounds mingling about the city. I do think the transportation system here is quite good. It seems like you can get almost anywhere by bus very easily. I don’t know if this is the case in all large American cities. I’ve been to San Francisco and felt like the public transit was lacking there, as well as in New York City, where the subway system is currently a wreck. These cities are considerably larger than Dublin, but are some of the largest cities in America, as Dublin is the largest in Ireland.