This weekend my parents came to visit me. One of the biggest highlights was finally visiting the Cliffs of Moher. It is such an amazing view and worth the 3 hour drive from Dublin. I also got to visit Galway as well which was really nice.
One of the main communication differences I have noticed in Ireland is that everyone is really very nice. You might hear “you’re very welcome to…” or “thanks a million”. Even on public transit you might hear “please mind the gap when exiting” or “please hold the handrail when the bus is moving”. New York City is one of the closest cities to my hometown and the subway is nowhere near as polite. You might just hear the stop name shouted a few times and nothing else.
I think this certainly applies to the workplace as well. When I am contacting suppliers for the first time via email or phone everyone says thank you and please rather frequently. Even when I am receiving work instructions someone might say “if you wouldn’t mind…” and then explain the task. Whereas in the United States it might simply be I need you to complete xyz task at xyz time. Again, to use a phrase I might have mentioned a few times, a welcome change.
Overall, I do not think communication in the workplace is hard to understand. No situation in particular jumps out at me as a time that I was confused. I think communication in the workplace is also similar to the United States in a few ways. If I need clarification on a task it is on me to ask questions. If I am finished with a task I need to reach out. In that regard, in both countries it is important to ask for the things you need or want from your internship. Not having those discussions will not allow you to maximize your career experience.
Communication tends to vary more so in my day to day interactions. For example, take out is referred to as takeaway or the stove is called the hob. Knowing the right term or pronunciation for something will help greatly.
Another communication aspect that I have come across is the strong presence of the Irish language. While many people may not speak it on a regular basis in the workplace, it is still used widely in the country. On the bus, street signs, and train tickets Irish is actually seen and heard first. I think this targets emphasizing the use of the Irish language. Culturally having Irish as a language is very important, as people do not want the language to be lost.
Irish as a language is not close to English unlike some other languages. At UCD, they have a sign that says “Be Inspired”. In Irish, this same phrase is written as “Bi Spregatha”. In this case, spregatha sounds nowhere close to the English word inspired. Another instance of this, is the phrase please which is written as le do thoil. Therefore, Irish is something that I will likely not be able to uphold a conversation in by the end of my trip. However, I do think it is cool to be able to pick up a couple of words here and there.
In terms of actions, when using the bus you have to signal that you want the bus to stop. This improves the speed of transit. When your bus is coming, you have to stick your hand out or wave the bus down. If you fail to do so, the bus will drive past you and assume you do not need that route.
An action at work that is similar to the United States is greeting someone for the first time with a handshake. You always introduce yourself and say something like ”nice to meet you”. This is exactly how you would be likely to greet someone in the United States.
Even when collaborating with colleagues you want to look invested in the task at hand. It is important to acknowledge what is being discussed and not zone out. This again is another similarity to the United States. It could come across as rude or a sign of disinterest in both countries if you do not maintain a positive presence.
I cannot believe we are nearing on the final two weeks in Ireland. My time so far has been filled with many adventures and experiences that I will never forget. I am so glad I was able to take on this opportunity!