A small country in the Atlantic in the very west of Europe. Wavy peat, sheep-strewn green fields, crossed with rough stone walls, quiet slate-gray lakes, surrounded by steep valleys, mist-covered mountain tops and a coastline with semicircular bays and sandy beaches. That is Ireland. Even in the bustling cities and colorfully painted villages, Ireland is urging to stand still, absorb the surroundings and merge with cheerfulness (craic), seduced by seemingly nothing special.From the Giant’s Causeway to the Cliffs of Moher, from the Blarney Stone to the Famine Ship in Dublin, Ireland never ceases to amaze any and all adventurers with its breathtaking landscapes, intriguing history, and unrivaled charm. And don’t you love the melodic tone of the Irish-English?
But how about living there, studying there? How do you fit in? First of all, what kind of Irish explorers would any of us be if we failed to embrace all of the mystical tales and enchanted treasures that Ireland has to offer? So brush up on your Irish tales of ghost and fairies, leprechauns and giants, selkies and banshees. Background knowledge of these beings and their corresponding folktales will certainly help you on tours, in conversations, and while reading Irish literature.
Let’s not forget to plunge into the Irish music. At least once during your study abroad in Ireland, find a venue with traditional Irish music and go to that venue for the night. Sit down and really listen. Irish music has this incredible power - it can transport anyone to any place or time, make you feel any emotion, and give anyone willing to listen a sneak peek at the life of another. Let the music provide you with a greater understanding of what Irish culture is all about; let the music transform you and take you on voyages of the mind and soul!
While you listen, have a drink. Despite what you've already learned about beer, Guinness is best served at room temperature. It's also a drink to be savored and consumed responsibly. Simply put, if you choose to enjoy a pint or two at the pub, make sure you are in control not the pints. Don't be that obnoxious backpacker stumbling around town and vomiting in the bushes -- you're a student here. You know better.
In Ireland, life is much more “chill” than you might be used to. The Irish prefer to dwell in Kairos Time (Greek for “of the opportune moment”) rather than Chronos Time (Greek for “chronological”). In other words, the Irish like to truly live in the moment. As William Ernest Henley put it in his poem, “Invictus”, the Irish people embrace the saying, “I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.”
Just as you shouldn't force a fast pace life in Ireland, sometimes you have to "go with the flow," as they say and be flexible. Surely everyone has heard about Ireland’s ever-changing weather that deviates from the norm of any and all regular weather patterns. Same goes for your plans. Your plans while in Ireland, whether you are studying or traveling, will inevitably change as quickly as the weather. So bring an umbrella and a flexible mind.
The Irish are pretty well known for fancying their sports. So you’ll need a strong set of lungs to cheer for your favorite teams. No matter what type of match (rugby, hurling, football), no matter the weather (rain or shine…usually rain), no matter the time, no matter the place, the Irish are passionate about their athletic endeavors! A tip: get involved! Learn the rules of the sports you’re not familiar with as soon as you can! Pick a team! Paint your face! And most important, have some good craic!
Studying in Ireland for a summer or a winter, might change your life forever. Go for it!
Greeting: What’s the craic? (what’s new, what’s the fun?)
Typical: potatoes, Guinness, harp, leprechauns (elves), lots of green, greetings ending in 20-minute conversations
Did you know: Ireland is the only country in the world with a musical instrument as national symbol: the harp