Halfway Through

This past weekend I was able to say goodbye to Dublin for just a few days and spend some time in Galway and the surrounding area. I really didn’t know what to expect but I absolutely loved the weekend we had. The first night we found a pub that had a hidden pizza stand in the very back of their beer garden and the music from the DJ was so fun as we sat and just enjoyed a late dinner. The first full day we were there we decided to go to the Cliffs of Moher, and walk eight kilometers from Doolin to the main visitor center. It was rainy and cold and windy but the views were definitely worth it. The uphill trails definitely made me question whether it was a good idea at times but ultimately it was a great way to be in nature and see the Atlantic Ocean from these gorgeous cliffs.

That night in Galway was some of the most fun I’ve had since being in Ireland and most of it was because of the new people we met and how friendly everybody was. We went to a pub for dinner, then followed recommendations from the different people we met and traveled to three other bars the rest of the night and made friends at each one. Galway had a little bit of a different feeling than Dublin, less crowded and more personal. The next day we spent a lot of time walking around the area, visiting Salthill, the local beach. People were swimming at the beaches and it was only 60 degrees outside, something we had to get used to but it perfectly normal for them. Then we shopped and walked around the city centre of Galway finding local sellers and listening to buskers on the street. This city was very cozy and definitely left a great impression on me.

As far as work goes, this past week has been busy because my company’s competition had their submission deadline so we all spent the whole week screening the essay submissions to make sure instructions were followed. This took a lot of time and required a lot of team effort and focusing in on getting the papers done so we could begin the judging phase this past Friday.

One thing I sometimes find difficult at work that I believe comes from a cultural difference is a lack of direction and feedback sometimes when I am given tasks. Every once in awhile I am not even given tasks, just sort of expected to start the day doing my own thing every morning even if I was never given anything to do. There aren’t very official lists of tasks given to me and things are suggested rather than just asked of me. I think part of this is because they don’t really abide by a very strict hierarchy in their workplaces and treat others like peers and coworkers rather than subordinates or bosses. This is difficult because I feel lost sometimes while working and don’t necessarily know who to turn to when looking for things to do and what they specifically want from a certain task. Although this is the case sometimes, I don’t find it super hard to work in this environment even though it is a different culture since the way Irish people communicate is very similar to American workplaces.

Within Dublin and being around Ireland I notice a few things that are different but are not necessarily super challenging or disturbing to my everyday life. For example, there are certain phrases and words they use in casual conversation that we don’t and we wouldn’t really understand unless they are told to us. This isn’t too hard to navigate however because I feel like this is experienced across the US in different regions as well. Another thing I heard while here that I thought was interesting but not necessarily relevant to the workplace, is that their police do not carry guns most of the time. This was something that really surprised me because of how our police act and are put on more of a pedestal in America but here they are given less power and not necessarily given the same responsibilities. I feel like this might make people feel more safe here and has made me look at them differently when I’m walking around and see them out.

Besides these few differences there hasn’t been much that has surprised me here and I feel relatively comfortable speaking and interacting with Irish people. It’s still been really new and exciting to meet new people and I still learn from talking to new people and experiencing new things.

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