During my stay in Ireland, I learned a lot about my host family. I loved having a chat with them in the evening or morning. They’ve been living in their house for not too long, which meant that there wasn’t much interior decoration, but they said that in Ireland there is this deal that you can live in a house for a year and then you can decide if you want to buy it or not. Our host mum Sharon sadly got a throat infection not long after we arrived, so we didn’t see her often since she stayed in her room. Shaunah told us about her younger sister and one day her sisters puppy Archie stayed at our place, who Shaunah had to dog sit. Jake and Shaunah love animals and at night they even go outside to feed the foxes. The job interviews our host mum had on Thursday went well and she started her first day at the bank on the Monday we left. One evening Sharon heard Huihui and me say a German word since we forgot the English one and she asked us if we had just spoken German because she had no idea what language people in Austria speak.

I try to adapt to new situations as quickly as possible to not cause any trouble, so I didn’t have a lot of problems. However, I am a very shy person and at first, I was a bit scared to ask my host mum about taking a shower or other stuff on the first day. Eventually I got more confident every day, and I had a great time. I never got lost in the city as I would say that I have a decent sense of orientation.

Irish households are similar to ours at home but there are some differences, for example that in Ireland people walk around their house in shoes. I don’t even want to know how dirty those carpet floors were. The walls are so thin that you could even hear someone coughing in another room, so I tried not to make a lot of noise. They also put their heating on way later than we do and I was freezing every morning. And also Jake called his mum by her name and not “Mum”.

The people in Ireland are very friendly, but they are hardly ever on time. Maybe it’s because the public transport is almost always late but thinking about the fact that they cross the street when the traffic lights are red, I don’t understand them. If you are in Ireland there is one thing you have to remember; don’t mention the British, or at least don’t compare them to the Irish people. The British suppressed Ireland for a long time and when the Republic of Ireland was finally formed there were still fights in Northern Ireland. It is similar to Austrians not liking the Germans.

Irish everydaylife is not exactly like ours, so here are some differences I noticed. School starts later for the Irish students and even if it’s not that much later, our host mum told us that it used to start at nine when she still went to school. There are hardly any schools in which you don’t have to wear a school uniform and another thing is that in Ireland you have to drive on the left. Something that had a really bad consequence on our trip to Galway, is that you don’t have to get your car checked every year, which means that you can drive in it until it falls apart.

If there is one thing I learned about food in Ireland, it is that the Irish love potatoes. Fries, chips, mashed potatoes, baked potatoes and potato stew are some of many dishes. Unlike my home they have dinner as their main meal of the day, whereas I eat my main meal for lunch most of the time. When you ask for tea, you are not going to be offered all kinds of green, herbal, fruit or spice tea but just a plain and bitter black tea with milk and sugar.

Shopping in Ireland isn’t much different than here but after you get the receipt you will notice a slight difference which is that very often the price gets rounded. Let’s assume a product costs 19,99, then you would have to pay 20€. Another thing I’ve noticed is that ice cream is way more expensive in Ireland than it is in Austria.

Acoustically I understood most of the language but there were some words I didn’t know or I didn’t know the exact meaning of but all in all I never struggled to communicate with the Irish. I love to learn new vocabulary and going to Ireland was a great opportunity to learn some new words. The only problem I have is my German accent, but I also don’t want to use a different one because it feels disrespectful, and I always have the feeling that I’m mocking someone even if that is not my intention.

I didn’t have lots of specific expectations before our trip but some fears. My sister told me all these stories about her host family, and I was afraid that my host family wouldn’t be nice, however, I was positively surprised to have such a nice and welcoming one. One thing I did not expect was the weather to be so nice. There was one rainy day, which is nothing compared to what Ireland normally is like.

I now know a lot more about Ireland, for example that there are 26 counties in the Republic of Ireland and six in Northern Ireland. Even though Ireland is very flat, the cliffs look so spectacular and overall, Ireland has a beautiful vegetation with a lot of green and even palm trees. This country is truly stunning, and I would love to visit it again sometime.

Christina Berer 6M // October 2022

Oberstufe // NonFiction // Article