Today, we had our first lecture in Dublin by Dr. Kelly, informally referred to as Darren. He was very informative and engaging about Ireland and Dublin history as well as its culture. He defined culture as “everyday human behaviors/habits that is not taught, are embedded, and socially inherited.” He had many activities and examples that helped us fully understand the reasonings behind Irish behaviors. For example, he told us that in the Irish culture, people have a hard time saying goodbye on the phone or accept compliments. This is because they do not want to be perceived as rude or conceded. This stemmed from the fact that Ireland was ruled by the English for 800 years. The Irish were characterized by the English as “inhuman” so that the English could justify the fact that they took over their land. They were rudely told what to do by the English; therefore, the Ireland culture adapted that being like them is unacceptable. He also stated the most obvious cultural difference between the United States and Ireland is that Ireland is high context but while United States is low. This means that everything is bluntly stated in a low context culture while in a high context, it is not as much. This ties in with emotional intelligence and understanding people as well. Ireland values relationships and spending time with people is more important than productivity, according to Dr. Kelly.
After our lunch break, he continued the lecture by informing us about how a country that was once considered a ‘2nd’ world country became a leading country. Dr. Kelly said that Ireland has a divergent way of thinking. This meant that it is not in their nature to do things by the book. When Ireland was considered a 2nd world country and suffering severely, the people left the country to obtain a better living condition and stable jobs. So, the government started by changing its fiscal (tax) policy. They started with a 5% on corporate tax which is significantly lower than United State’s. Then, they also made college education free which produced a highly skilled and intelligent workforce. These are the main reasons why businesses and major corporations have headquarters in Ireland, specifically Dublin.
Speaking of major company, we visited Google Docks after our lecture. We were able to compare the difference and the similarities between the office back at home and the one here. The building was very modern compared to Pittsburgh’s; however I felt that the Pittsburgh office had more unique and comfy features. Unfortunately, we were not able to tour around the whole building, but Stephen, our guide, answered our questions in detail. Compared to Google Pittsburgh, I felt that Google Dublin did not engage much with their close community. Their community engagements include: providing technology help to elderlies, donating money to charities, and personal fundraising for charities of a ‘googler’s’ choice. The major difference between Pittsburgh and Dublin offices is that Dublin is more business based while Pittsburgh is engineering based. This opened up a new perspective because I assumed that Google only offered mostly engineering jobs. Lastly, Stephen emphasized the importance of having various perspectives when entering the “globalized” business world.
Overall, this day was filled with information that I wouldn’t have learned without being in Dublin and immersing myself in the culture. I am excited for tomorrow’s company and sight visits.