Although I have been in Ireland for four weeks now, it doesn’t seem that it has been that long. Time goes by so fast here and it is crazy to think it’s already the middle of September. The Irish students just came back to school this week so it is the first week of classes for everyone here even though we have already been here and taken a class. That is why this prompt was a little difficult when thinking about finding an Irish person to interview. We haven’t been with the Irish students long enough to have made any close relationships. That’s okay though, Mary has come to the rescue once again! Mary has been the most amazing help to all of the Quinnipiac students here in Ireland. If we ever have a question about anything she will be the first person to help us out. She wants us to succeed here and it is so great having someone here with us who really cares. I don’t think my transition to the Irish culture would have been this easy without Mary.
When I met with Mary, she immediately talked about how here point of view could be different from a person of a younger generation, which I completely understand. It was still great to hear the perspective from a person who has been through a lot more and also understands both the Irish culture and the American culture. We talked a lot about how children here are very dependent on their family, where in America you are pushed to being more independent. It is very interesting because the Irish students here go home on the weekends because they are so close with their family. She talked about how a lot of the dependence is cost related and the students depend on their family for money. She also stated that, “We would mortgage our house in order to put our kids through college because education is that important to us.” That was pretty amazing to hear because although families in the U.S. do go through a lot to help their children with college, she was basically saying she would put her fortunes on the line to make sure her children get an education. She talked about how everything in Ireland changed when university was not free anymore. But she did state that, “School is appreciated more when you have to pay for it, unfortunately.” I agree with that because you will work harder for something you are working towards. If something is just handed to a person, they might not try as hard.
We also talked a lot about how the Irish are more indirect and they never say “no” to anything. They “beat around the bush” and don’t really give direct answers. She said that by them not saying “no” to anything, they don’t upset people as much. I completely agree with this because the Irish are so friendly. I will have to start listening to see if they ever say “no”. Another topic we discussed was how the Irish have a lot of respect for the elderly. She said that they are very important when it comes to things like voting. She did say that there are areas that need improvement like nursing homes and such, but for the most part, the elderly are taken care of pretty well, especially when comparing it to America.
When thinking about HOME campus life, there are many groups that I do not participate in for various reasons. One group in particular is sorority life. There are many reasons why I have never wanted to join sorority life, but I know many people that are part of it. I should consider talking to someone who can explain why they believe it is great for the Quinnipiac community. I can’t say that it would change my opinion so much that I would join one, but at least I might not have such a negative attitude toward that group. I would love to find out what good sororities do for the community and beyond.