Exchange students in Ireland enjoy a lot of culture and history. However, to make the most of the experience and effectively integrate into local society, understanding and respecting local etiquette and customs is vital.
In the beginning, this can have a big impact on the student’s life, but with time, you’ll get used to it. Check below for the main tips on etiquette and local customs in the country.
1. The art of conversation
The Irish are known for their hospitality and conversational skills. A common topic, especially when getting to know someone, is the weather.
It may seem trivial, but discussing rain or sun is a way to break the ice. Be prepared for friendly conversations with strangers, whether on the bus, in the shop or at the local pub.
Although Ireland is a modern and open society, it is wise to avoid sensitive topics such as religion and politics, especially given the conflicted past with Northern Ireland.
If the subject comes up, listen more than you talk, and try to avoid strong opinions or judgments. This is a way to avoid enmity in the country.
The Irish, like the British, value punctuality. Whether it’s a social or professional commitment, it’s essential to be there at the agreed time.
If you know you’re going to be late, always let the person you’re meeting know. Arriving late without notice may be seen as disrespectful.
3. Pub etiquette
In Irish pub culture, it’s common for people to buy rounds of drinks. This means that one person buys a drink for everyone present, and the next round is bought by someone else in the group.
If you are in such a situation, you are expected to participate and buy a round when it’s your turn. Do not run away from it so as not to appear impolite.
4. Respecting the locals
Pubs in Ireland are more than just places to drink; they are community centers. Respect space and places. If there is live music, especially traditional music, it is polite not to talk loudly and enjoy the performance.
Remember that in Ireland, saying thank you is a fundamental part of etiquette. Whether getting off the bus, receiving your food at a restaurant, or after a transaction at a store, always say “thanks” or “cheers”.
This small gesture shows appreciation and is an integral part of Irish etiquette. So never forget to keep that etiquette in any situation.
Another point you need to be aware of is that the British and Irish have great respect for queues. Whether at the bank, at the bus stop or at the coffee shop, always respect the queue and wait your turn.
5. Respecting traditions and festivals
Finally, Ireland is full of traditions and festivals, from the world-famous St. Patrick’s Day to local festivals in small towns. If you have the opportunity to participate, remember to be respectful.
These events often have deep roots in local culture and history. Participate, but do so in a way that respects tradition and participants.
By respecting and understanding local etiquette and customs, exchange students not only ensure a harmonious coexistence, but also earn the respect and friendship of the local people.
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