An update to start off this week is that I went to the National Gallery for the first time. It was super cool to walk around and see all of the artwork. Fun fact, all of the National Museums in Ireland are free! I also went to Dún Lagohaire with my roommates and had fish and chips for the first time in Ireland.
These trips lead me into my first insight to Irish culture. As I might have mentioned in my previous posts, the bus system is widely used in Dublin. Public transportation is super accessible and convenient to use throughout the county. I went to both the National Gallery and Dún Lagohaire by bus. Through my daily bus commute to work, I notice many parts of Irish culture. For example, while the Irish language is not regularly used, the bus will announce all stops in both Irish and English. This can also be seen on road signs and in other places.
When I was working at an event, one of our guides mentioned that she had learned Irish in school. She mentioned that when she was in school, they placed an emphasis on reading and writing Irish. Now, there is a bigger push to be able to speak Irish as well. This is why it is so common to see Irish as well as English. It helps to keep the language alive for people who do understand it.
Another takeaway I have from the bus is that people are generally very friendly. Most bus drivers are willing to help you out if you are lost. As a result, people always say thank you when they leave the bus. Our program manager through EUSA said that could even mean shouting as you leave through the middle doors.
In terms of Irish phrasing, there are a couple of main terms that I have heard so far. For example, someone may say the word grand instead of the word great. If something was really fun you might hear that was good craic. Thanks a million is also quite common, as I’ve heard that a few times at the office.
Everyday for work, I usually bring a sandwich in for lunch. I learned the hard way that bread molds quickly in Ireland. This caused me to switch to buying rolls to avoid losing half a loaf by the end of the week. While it may seem kind of small to talk about food, it leads me into some of the differences I have seen at work.
Starting out on my first day, I quietly ate my sandwich for lunch in about five minutes. Then, I immediately went back to typing away at my computer. One of my supervisors soon told me later in the week to take a proper lunch: that I had an hour. This concept was entirely new to me. Since this is my first internship, I have yet to work in the U.S. However, I always associated work with the job coming first back home. Therefore, the idea of taking a whole hour off to slow down was a welcome change for me!
Another point related to this and my experience on the bus is my coworkers are all extremely friendly as well. People genuinely want to know how you are doing and are receptive to what you need. This brings the people to the forefront of the organization as opposed to the task at hand. Working at an Irish company has definitely changed my perception of corporate America. Allowing time to step back and take time to engage with your colleagues outside of project discussions makes it easier to sustain a work life balance. That way your foot is not on the gas all of the time. You can approach problems with a clear headspace.
My supervisors also have been flexible with my start time at work. If I happen to get delayed on my transfer bus they are very understanding. Therefore, I do not have to worry as much if I’m not there at the exact time. In the U.S, I have perceived timing to be much more strict. If anything you should plan to be around five to ten minutes early.
I luckily have not found a challenge that I have sincerely struggled to adjust to at the moment. I hope that the situation stays that way.
I cannot believe that I am starting my third week in Ireland already! I still have lots to see in the country!