Expect the Unexpected When You Travel Abroad

By Desirae Kay Johnson

I have to say that I’m having a blast in Ireland. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to get out of Dublin and explore some of the surrounding countryside through a bus tour. I visited Loughcrew Passage Tomb, Hill of Tara, Monasterboice and Trim Castle.

In addition to my excursion outside of the city, I have also spend hours just wandering around Dublin and have ended up at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Grafton Street and Temple Bar. And while I have been out and about I have noticed some things about Dublin and its people that I didn’t quite expect. Below are some of my observations:

Speed Walking: People in Dublin walk fast: I mean really fast. Even when I walk at a nice pace, I still get passed by people.

Crowds: It is always crowded here. So much so, that it can be difficult to get around on foot. Once, I couldn’t make it all the way across a narrow road before the crosswalk light turned red (I started walking when it was green) because there was a wall of people coming at me.

Trinity College

Cultural Hotspot: I expected when the cab dropped me off in Dublin City Center that it would be me in a sea of Irish people. I was wrong. It’s not just one lonely American among the Irish: There are a wide variety of different cultures represented in the city. In my apartment alone we have someone from America (me), Asia, Italy and Costa Rica. In the park I met a woman who moved to Ireland from the Czech Republic, and on the bus tour I met a lovely English couple as well as a woman vacationing from Moscow, Russia. 

Revival of the Irish Language: When I first arrived in Dublin, I saw that the signs had two languages on them: A phrase written in Irish followed by the English translation. I later learned from my tour bus driver that Ireland is trying to revive Irish, as many people have lost touch with the language throughout the years for political and cultural reasons. Therefore, the country passed a law that says all signs must include Irish, and it must be listed first.

Apple Juice

Different Foods: I’m not talking about weird or exotic foods. Ireland still has the same kinds of fresh produce and meat, as well as chips, sodas, etc. Though, they are not the same brands that I’m used to finding. I guess I just took for granted that my American brands could be found anywhere and everywhere. However, I’m starting to find new brands to love like Appletiser—a sparkling apple juice in the vending machines on the Trinity College campus.

Though it has been a bit of an adjustment to adapt to a new culture and lifestyle, I feel well prepared to handle the situation. The classes and assignments in the M.A. in Integrated Global Communication (MAIGC) at Kennesaw State University equipped me with the skills needed to think and react as a global citizen. Not only does the program give students practical knowledge for the professional world, but the professors also mentor students on how to think outside of the box and to be culturally sensitive.

To find out more about the MAIGC program, visit the Kennesaw State University website.

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