In my time in Ireland so far, the differences between living here and living in America were more prominent in my day to day than I originally expected. There are a few reasons why I expected Ireland to be pretty similar to America, and in some ways it is and other ways it isn’t. My first reason for going in overconfident was that I have visited Ireland quite a few times before. I have come here and stayed with relatives and I thought that those experiences would prepare me better. One thing my visits did prepare me for the Irish sense of humor, which I have seen catch some people off guard. There is a lot of joking around and poking fun at people in Irish humor and I remember it surprising me the first times I was here. I also went into the experience expecting the worst from Irelands inconsistent weather but have been pleasantly surprised by how nice it has been here.
The list of differences I was prepared for ends there though. There are many parts of living in Ireland that are very different from visiting. For example I have had to get used to grocery shopping and eating in Ireland. Though there isn’t anything too surprising about the food in Ireland, there are some differences that take some getting used to. When grocery shopping, its a little different than in the United States because there is a smaller selection and all the food goes bad very quickly. This is because there isn’t a lot of preservatives used in the food here. This means that you can’t as easily do one big shopping trip to last a while. I find myself shopping more frequently for less food to avoid things going bad.
Outside of grocery shopping, the kinds of food you find when you go out is also way smaller than in other places. Most of the restaurants I have seen have very similar menus, and I eat almost the same things every day. Though its not like things taste particularly bad, I wish I could find more variety in flavors and kinds of meals to eat.
Another thing that has taken some getting used to is the taxes when buying things in Ireland. Some things aren’t taxed at all whereas others are very heavily taxed. If I go out to get lunch and the food on the menu says four euros, I pay four euros. However if I am buying something else like a glass or some kind of souvenir, those are taxed far more heavily than they would be in the US.
Another thing that I have found to be different here is the transportation. Dublin is a reasonably small city by American standards but it still has a substantial portion of the Irish population living here. I have found that the public transportation is very good at getting you to any location you want to go. Though it wont always be right on time, if there is a destination you have in mind there is a good chance that a bus can take you there. This is different from what I have experienced in the US because of how car focused everything is there. There are many places you cant conveniently reach by public transportation but here most locations are accessible. This also has something to do with the way roads are designed here. Throughout the city the roads are fairly narrow and the traffic gets pretty congested, even with many people taking public transportation. There just simply aren’t as many lanes for people to drive in here which means that the public transportation needs to be better to make up for it.
My time interning in Dublin so far has been a lot about balance. Balancing the things I know and am comfortable with from my time in the states with the new things I have to get used to when living in a country like Ireland. I have really enjoyed my time here and the chances I have had to experience new things. Though it feels like I have experienced a lot and have been adapting well, I am only half way through the experience so I am sure there is a lot more for me to learn.