Tanja from Germany is on an internship with Homestay.com in Dublin. She has found Irish people to be really helpful and friendly but isn't too fond of the black stuff (Guinness). Read on for ten observations on Irish life since moving to Dublin.
All over Germany there is right-hand traffic. I have never been in a country with left-hand traffic so I nearly had an accident with a car when I came out of the airport. Fortunately, the Irish are not only very friendly when you talk to them, they are also friendly because they write “look left” or “look right” on the streets. Anyway, that won’t change in the next three weeks I am here. I still look on the wrong direction and I'm sure I will look on the wrong direction for the next three weeks, too.
I don’t like beer very much, even in Germany, but sometimes I taste a mouthful of it. But because Dublin is so well known for Guinness beer, I felt forced to taste it. My result: for Germans who are used to drinking carbonated beer (in Germany only carbonated beer exists), it is very hard to drink this. It tastes like a flat carbonated German beer, but everybody says: after the third beer, it tastes like a German one. But I can’t even drink one glass… Well, to each their own.
On our first work day everyone from my class had to come to the school that organised our stay here in Dublin. The meeting was supposed to start at 9:30, so in stereotypical German fashion, my classmates and I all punctually arrived at school at about 9:20. So the first comment we received from the school was "It is very nice to see you that punctual, like all Germans. Well done!" We will continue to verify our stereotype about punctuality. I don’t think we’ll ever lose this stereotype, because it is our mentality and we love it.
In Germany everyone listens to music with headphones in or stares out of the window on buses. Sometimes, if you know the person next to you, you will have a short talk with him or her. Our teacher had told us how Ireland would be different and everyone laughed at him at the time. Sure enough, he was right! On my first day here, I waited for the bus and a woman started to make small talk with me. Her first question was where I came from. When she heard that I had come from Germany, she asked me if I am as strict as the others. Well done – second prejudice – check. Well, after that I thought to myself: Comply with all German stereotypes – challenge accepted. So we had a nice chit chat until the bus arrived. But after the small talk, I thought about it and my result: the lifestyle here is much better than in Germany.
If you put a country bumpkin is in a big city, they're helpless like a ladybird on his back. But here in Dublin all people are so kind and cooperative that even a country bumpkin reaches his destination. You can always ask for the way to your destination, maybe not on St. Patrick's Day, because there are so many German tourists in Dublin and they don’t know the way either, but on every other day you can! And if you don’t understand what they said, because they speak too fast, ask them to repeat what they said and it won’t be a problem. If you ask for directions in Germany, you have to be lucky for somebody to explain it to you, because all are so busy or don’t want to have a small talk…
In Germany, I am training in a big industrial company (KARL SPAEH GmbH & Co. KG) who make my stay in Dublin possible. Even during your training you have to work a lot. The workdays life in Germany is, in comparison to the Irish one, very time-consuming. My experience here in Dublin is that you can talk to each other, listen to music, or even have a pause for your coffee, whereas in Germany there is one meeting after the other. I think the working morale here in Ireland is a very grand morale, because everyone already has enough stress in his/her life.
Another thing, I already noticed is that Irish people have a lot of trust in other people. When they enter the bus and have got a big bag with them, they leave their bag in the area next to the exit of the bus and go upstairs to the upper part of the bus. When they leave the bus, they pick up their bag(s) and leave the bus. In Germany, everyone watches their own bags because everybody is afraid of that someone steals something out of the bag, regardless of which size the bag is.
Because of the very heavy traffic in the city center of Dublin, pedestrians sometimes have to wait up to 5 minutes to cross the street by using the traffic lights. I am often the only person who is waiting, according to the German habit, until the traffic light switches to green. All of the other persons look left/right (in my case that doesn't work - see 1) and pass the street when it is still red. In Germany everybody stares at you if you pass the street when the traffic light is still red, in Dublin everybody stares at you if you are waiting till the traffic light switches to green. My result: traffic lights for pedestrians in Dublin are only a recommendation.
Without any foreboding I came to Dublin and wanted to drink a glass of water. No problem - I received a glass of tap water. Normally that isn't a problem for me but in here, the tap water has a light taste of chlorine, I noticed. I know that in Germany there is a big discussion about the tap water because of bacteria, but after drinking this tap water I am sure that the German tap water is very, very healthy. So I will advise you: drink one glass and decide on yourself. In addition, buying water is not very expensive in here!
The favorite lunch of the Irish people is the sandwich. I am here for three weeks, and this is my experience: in the first week it tastes very good, in the second week it is okay, and in the third week I look forward eating German lunch. No matter which supermarket you will go: if you want to buy something which fills you up, you have the chose between sandwich and sandwich. In Germany you will also get sandwiches in supermarkets, but you have a bigger chose between small salads, cereals, and more.... That shows me, that I really love the German food!
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