Communication in Ireland

This past week has been very long and tiring for me. I am starting to get a bit burned out from working and all the activities I have been fitting in every weekend, so I have been quite tired recently. Over the weekend, I took a trip to Galway and the Cliffs of Moher. This has been my favorite day so far; it was very fun getting out of the city and seeing a different part of the country. I also took a day trip to Howth for the first time, and I really enjoyed the town. I am looking forward to my family visiting this weekend and showing them around the city. It will be exciting for me to show off my new knowledge of Dublin and take them to all my favorite places in the city. We are also seeing Cork and the Blarney Stone this weekend, so I am looking forward to it!

Regarding communication differences, I have noticed that people in Ireland typically use much more high-context communication as opposed to the United States’ preference for a low-context communication style. At my internship, I am rarely told what to do during the day. This is usually up to me to figure out. The communication between my coworkers is very ambiguous in Dublin, and I am almost never given explicit instructions during the day about my tasks and activities to do. My coworkers also seem to not expect much from me during the day, so they tend to not give me tasks to do unless I specifically ask for them. This has been a challenge for me to get used to since I am accustomed to low-context communication styles in the United States. I often find myself a bit lost in the mornings and I make up tasks for myself as the day goes on, and I ask my coworkers how I can help. In my previous jobs, I have been told exactly what my tasks are for the day, and explicit details were provided to me. I have also noticed that my bosses in America would always get directly to the point and tell everything how it is. They also would spend little time getting to know me or asking questions about myself, which has been quite the opposite in Ireland. This has been my biggest challenge to overcome. Prior to coming here, I was not comfortable with high-context communication, so it has been difficult figuring out my tasks for the day and carry them out. I have had to get used to asking for instructions rather than having them provided to me. It can also be a bit uncomfortable constantly asking my coworkers what to do multiple times each day. Despite this being a challenge, I have enjoyed immersing myself in this different work culture, and I believe that it will help me prepare for future jobs and the experiences I will have.

During my time here, I have had multiple miscommunication situations that I have had to overcome. Specifically, the high-context communication in Ireland has made it difficult to assimilate into the work culture in Ireland. Upon the start of my internship, some of my coworkers expected me to know how to do certain things that I was not used to doing. For example, within 20 minutes of my first day, I was told to set up tea for the day and make tea for those who wanted it, without any instruction whatsoever. I also did not have much of a conversation with my supervisor on the first day, so I was left feeling very lost and confused without having specific instructions throughout the day. I had to remind them that American culture was a bit different and that making and drinking tea was not as popular, so I did not have experience preparing and making it for people. I also made sure to talk to my supervisor the next day and try to clear up what my responsibilities and duties are. This directly ties into the high-context communication in Ireland since they did not prepare me much for my first day, but rather gave me little instruction on what to do. This continues to be typical since weeks later I am still asking how I can help and what I am supposed to be doing. The differing communication styles have been the most notable difference between American and Irish work cultures I have noticed so far and overcoming these situations can be very challenging and uncomfortable, but I believe that I have improved quite a bit since my first week here.

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