This week my family went on a vacation to visit me. During the week they stayed in Dublin and I was able to visit them for dinner at night. As a result of this, I got to experience what some of the more high end dining options in Dublin are. I had dinner with them on Monday and Wednesday, and both meals were excellent, although I would not consider the restaurants to have served traditionally Irish cuisine. This weekend, we all went to Spain to see the city of Barcelona. I had a great time there, as the climate has much more of a summer feel to it. It was around the high 70s and low 80s in degrees while I was there, and it was usually sunny. This was a stark contrast from the colder and occasionally more rainy Ireland I have been staying in for about a month now. While in Spain I got to see some of the beaches there, as well as see some historical landmarks like La Sagrada Familia (a really large church that is still being constructed) as well as visit the Pablo Picasso Museum where many of his works are showcased. The hotel we were staying at was also pretty nice, and it was certainly an upgrade from my accommodations in Ireland. I also got to eat at some great restaurants where I tried some traditional paella with seafood for the first time, as well as some other seafood and fish as all the restaurants we ate at were near the ocean. It was great to spend time with my family and it was all of our first time in Spain except for my mother, but she had been there about thirty years ago, so it was interesting to explore a new city together that none of us were very familiar with.
This week at work I mostly continued with creating the fraud index myself and my fellow interns have been working on. However, on Thursday my boss gave me an alternative task to work on that took up most of the day. He had recently hosted a conference on sustainability where there were seventeen speakers who all spoke about different aspects of sustainability such as hunger and climate change, and how their research at Dublin City University could be applied to help others. My task, along with another intern, was to watch these videos and select a few “highlights” from each speaker so someone could then later edit together a video that captured the best moments form the conference. The videos ranged from ten to about twenty minutes in length depending on the speaker, so it took me some time to select which parts of the video I thought would be the most impactful or important to cut into a ten to fifteen second clip. Ultimately, my boss was satisfied with my selections and I then resumed working on the government fraud index again. This was a nice change of pace, as doing the same exact thing every day can become tedious.
If I am being honest the cultural difference between Dublin and the United States is not as stark of a contrast as I expected it to be. Upon arrival I expected to encounter more individuals with thick accents that I could not decipher or even people speaking Gaelic that I could not understand at all. However, this only seems to be the case in the more rural parts of Ireland and for the most part everyone I have encountered has been easy to understand. I would say that in the workplace from what I have experienced through my boss is the work environment is a little more relaxed than in the United States, but this could also just be a product of working in academia. I am not sure how coworker interactions would be in an Irish setting, as all my fellow coworkers are interns here as a part of EUSA as well. I would say that the largest difference I have noticed culturally through simply talking to strangers is that people are very honest and want to know more about those who they are talking to. Additionally people are blunt and want to get to the point, unlike in the United States where individuals might be a bit more subtle and may fear of offending an individual they are speaking to. The culture here is less politically correct, and people are not afraid to voice their opinions on any matter of subjects for the most part.