What is like to study abroad in Ireland as a Mexican?
University College Cork student and Mexican ambassador, Diana Jael Villamares tells us about her experience of studying in Ireland…
I live in Cork, which is the second largest city in Ireland but still quite small. However, this little town (compared to where I am from) is full of surprises.
Mexicans are not used to the cold and rain so, if you’re from a warm country, be sure to bring your rain boots, umbrella and rain coat — you will need it. It’s probably best to bring an umbrella with you as they’re hard to come here — I think it’s because the Irish are so used to their weather that they don’t use them anymore. However, don’t worry you will get used to the rain too — maybe even to the point where you’re addicted to the fresh and forest-y smell in the air.
I did not expect to miss home when I came to Ireland, but now that I’m here, I have realised how much I enjoy the Mexican traditions, culture, way of living, and the prices.
One of the things I miss most are the festive days — especially the food, music and traditions with family. They are a huge part of our culture and we know how to celebrate. Here in Cork, there is no shortage of celebrations; There is a small celebration for Independence Day and on the 31st of October, there is the Dragon of Shandon Parade. While not exactly the Day of the Dead, it is a beautiful and fun festival with a similar history. These festivals help you submerge in local culture, learn other ideas and meet new people.
It’s good to be aware that Ireland is an expensive country to live — One avocado is €1 (which is important when you’re with guacamole). And although Irish tequila isn’t as good as back home, Ireland has the best beer and the cocktails are always delicious.
The nicest people
Most people are aware that Mexico isn’t the safest place to live on the planet. But it’s been pleasant to find out that Cork is extremely safe. The Garda (Irish police) do a great job at keeping an eye on the city. I never need to stress about walking alone and being harassed and the news isn’t always discussing who’s been kidnapped — Life here is calm, and more enjoyable. However, best practice everywhere is to always walk at reasonable hours of the night, no matter where you are. Another thing I’ve noticed is that if you have a problem and ask for help, people will genuinely worry and try to help in whatever they can.