From interpreting slang to ordering a pint with confidence, Sarah Deacon, our TU Dublin Tallaght Campus and Canadian Ambassador shares her tips for adjusting to life as an international student in Ireland…

Embrace Irish slang

When experiencing a new culture, you’ll quickly notice that accents, dialects and even phrases will differ from what you might be used to hearing. Interpreting can be fun, but also intimidating when you find yourself in a group setting and aren’t too sure what your friends are saying! Laugh it off because it’s no big deal, or even do some research and embrace a few phrases into your own vocabulary. Chat to your classmates about these differences too!

Here’s a short cheat sheet of some words I’ve come across so far and their translations:

  • Grand: good, acceptable, impressive
  • Gas: funny
  • Craic: fun, joking around
  • Knackered/wrecked: tired, drunk
  • Dear: expensive
  • Gobsmacked: amazed
  • Hiya: hello
  • That’s mad: that’s crazy
  • Jumper: coat or sweater
  • Chips are crisps and fries are chips (got that?)

Get used to the time

Besides a difference in time zone, which you will have to naturally prepare your body for, another time difference you will likely experience here is time meanings. Irish friends of mine have mentioned that if they plan to meet at 7:00pm, showing up anywhere from 7:15-7:30pm is common and normal. The Irish are laid back so don’t think your friend’s stood you up if you arrive at 7:00 and no one’s there yet.

Another difference you might come across is the terminology for different times. The Irish term for 7:30 can also be called “half-seven,” not to be mistaken for half way to 7:00 which would be 6:30 and therefore called half-six.

When it comes to planning to arrive for a job, meeting or even class however, you should stick to the golden rule of showing up on time just to be safe!

Confidently order Guinness

Beer culture is unique in Ireland and quite common among students and locals. The country’s most famous beer, Guinness, is on tap in almost every bar and pub. Enjoying a pint of Guinness here where it was created is a unique experience because it doesn’t taste quite the same anywhere else in the world. Guinness can be found in many recipes as well, so if you’re not a beer enthusiast, you could try ordering a delicious Guinness stew.

For a vaster experience of Guinness, book a tour at St. Jame’s Gate Guinness Factory and learn how to pour a perfect pint.

Enjoy the good and the not-so-good experiences

It sounds cliché, but you’re here to experience as much as possible so get out and enjoy what this country has to offer. Sometimes you might feel homesick or be missing the comforts of home, which can be an intimidating and stressful experience. But hey – it’s still an experience – and you will learn how to be more independent and resourceful. Hopefully you will also make many new supportive friends in the process!

Some fun outing suggestions: