As of today I have been in Ireland for a month. During the past month the one person who has shown me where everything is, is Mary Steele. Mary happens to also be my host-culture informant, who has lived in Ireland her whole life. I choose Mary because she is the only native Irish person I know and she has a lot more experience and knowledge on the Irish culture than some of the Irish students I have met. I found my discussion with Mary to be very informative mainly because she answered some of my questions about Irish culture differently than I would have expected. Not only was the discussion informative but important because prior to the meeting I made my own opinions of the way the Irish do things. After the meeting I realized that I was mostly wrong about my impression of the Irish culture. The parts of the Irish culture I was wrong about were a big surprise to me and the other students with me.
There was one part of the conversation that really stood out to me, it was when Mary was talking about the right to vote in Ireland and how the citizens are very gracious of this right and take elections very seriously. This was a big surprise to me because a lot of American citizens, including myself, see voting more as a chore than a right. While I have been here I have been following the presidential race in America and it proves my point even more that Americans take a chore and make it amusing by putting Kanye West at the top of the leaderboards. Another moment that took me by surprise was when a former helper of Mary’s showed up and started have an in depth discussion with her. This was not the first time that I have seen Mary stop and have a talk with someone she knew on the street, but this was the first time I was a part of the conversation. It seems to me that everybody knows everybody in Cork which I find fascinating. When the guy stopped by our table the first thing he did was give Mary a hug. They then talked for ten minutes discussing one another’s plans for the foreseeable future. I do not believe I have ever seen someone know someone else no matter where we are, including Blarney castle.
When I asked Mary about confrontation in Ireland and how she deals with it I got a response I was not quite ready for. I had asked Mary if she ever confronts anyone for doing something wrong or saying something mean behind her back and she responded by saying that the only time she would ever confront someone was if it was absolutely necessary. Even if she had to confront someone, Mary said that she would write down what she would say and practice her speech before actually confronting the person. Of course Mary is a sweetheart and would rarely have issues with someone else but her response still shocked me. I feel like the American attitude towards confrontation is a lot more direct and immediate. If someone does something wrong they instantly get called out for it.
Ever since I have been in Ireland most of my friends here are involved in Greek life back at their universities which made me think about Greek life at Quinnipiac and how it is secretly a huge part of Quinnipiac. Before I got to Ireland I never really gave Greek life much thought because none of my friends at school were involved in it and I didn’t see the point. Now that I am seeing Quinnipiac’s environment strictly though social media I am realizing that a majority of people are involved in Greek life. I could definitely see myself getting involved with a Fraternity when I return to QU in the spring not only because everyone else is doing it but because it is a great thing to put on a resume, you make a lot of connections, and you expand your social life. Fraternities also host a fair amount of philanthropy events throughout the year which benefits the university community as a whole.
This picture is of myself, Ashley, Jenna and Mary. The three of us interviewed Mary on Thursday September 10th.