The semester has finally come to a close and while all feel relieved to be done with finals, the handful of us on exchange are struck with the realization that we are about to go home. It’s such an odd feeling of excitement and sadness all at once. I am thrilled to be going home but I know I am also going to quickly miss being in Ireland not too long after my return. Luckily, however, I will be taking back with me many memories, souvenirs and more importantly new knowledge gained from my time studying at the University of Limerick.
Business in Ireland is a bit different than what we are used to in the United States. Things are much more relaxed and informal than what we typically expect in a professional setting back home. Correspondence with superiors and colleagues is much like how you would address a friend or close work acquaintance. Language towards one another is always quite unique in terms of the informality, slang, and even profanity used when addressing one another. I had previously mentioned the concept of Irish time in my first post, the idea that typically things run a few minutes behind schedule. This lax take on time schedule applies to even the most professional of entities in Ireland. Furthermore, the Irish people are fairly focused on social issues such as the status of workers’ rights or income inequality. The society as a whole favors more welfare based governmental systems in order to provide a more equal system of living for its citizens. In classes over organizational behavior and business statistics, examples and concepts were often looked at from a more progressive and social aspect such as emotional work, inequality statistics, and other similar ideas. These instances reinforced the social ideology that I had been exposed to all semester long. To some, I suppose, that can be seen as a good thing but from what I noticed, this definitely comes at a fairly high cost for the quality of life of Ireland as a whole. Relatively high prices for everyday items and poor infrastructure are two of the biggest things that come to my mind. Regardless of this fact, however, the Irish are still quite positive people who are proud of their heritage and live a comfortable life style. I, personally, do not think I could work in Ireland simply because of their interpretation of how things are supposed to be run, but I do appreciate the exposure and experience to life in a system like the one in Ireland. If anyone reading this does appreciate a more relaxed and unstructured form of business, maybe Ireland is a place for you!
Anyways, today is my last day in Europe. I am currently in London where I await my morning flight tomorrow out of London Gatwick airport flying into Austin. I left Ireland this past Saturday right after my final and I can honestly say I already miss it. Maybe that has to do with my distaste for London but I think it’s because, to me, Ireland truly became my home away from home and now I’m moving away for good. The people and culture there is so inviting and fun. Though hard to meet with Irish students who tended to stick with just their Irish friends, I made plenty of international friends who I will miss dearly. The last picture is a group photo of a Gaelic Games class I took with all international students where we were taught how to play Hurling and Gaelic football. I hope to stay in contact with the lot of them and perhaps even run into them again somewhere down the road. I will not soon forget my amazing experience at UL and I will always cherish the memories and life lessons learned on the Emerald Isle!