Travelling abroad is always an adventure! Student Ambassador Alexia knows that readjusting can become a game of spot the difference to your previous life, but if you pause and take it all in… you can find the hidden gems within!

Travelling to a new country is always an adventure. 


There are new things to see and learn that are so different from home. Moving is more than just moving from one place to another, it is stepping outside of your comfort zone, into brand new territory. There are some noticeable differences from my home country, El Salvador, and Ireland. It is interesting to note the differences, just like a game of ‘spot the difference’


Alexia (photo: Alexia)

One of the main differences is the language. I come from a Spanish-speaking country, so it has been a change coming to an English-speaking country like Ireland. Although English is very prominent, Irish is present daily. Public transport stations, road signs with their destinations and announcements are written in both English and Irish. 

Another difference is the accents. The accents vary county to county. At the beginning it may be difficult to understand them, but you get the hang of it easily and sometimes, because of the high number of tourists in Ireland, people don’t mind repeating themselves if needed! One last thing to consider regarding language would be the Irish slang. Each country may have their own way of saying certain things, it is the same thing for Ireland. ‘Grand’ means ok or fine,  ‘Thanks a million’ means thank you very much, and so on. These are 2 that I remember people saying on a daily basis. I’m sure there are many slang words that you can find on the internet to understand a little bit of how Irish people speak.


Another difference lies on the roads. Irish drive on the left so you must look to the right. I had a little difficulty getting used to it because in America it is the other way round, so I had to pay close attention when crossing the streets alone.  

In addition to this, the simple activity of walking on the street by myself was a huge change for me. Streets are safe, everyone either walks, takes public transport, rides a bike, or has their own transportation. It may sound silly but taking public transportation has been a whole different experience, in a good way of course. 

Salthill Beach (photo: Alexia)


A big difference is the weather. El Salvador is a tropical country with nice warm weather, however, here in Ireland temperatures tend to drop and constantly change. During the day you can experience a cloudy morning, see a warm sunshine afternoon (which can be rare in winter) and be fully raining for the remainder of the afternoon. I’m constantly checking my weather app to have an idea how the day is going to be and dress according to it. How cold it can get has been a big difference but something I’m enjoying a lot; the rain, cold and winds are details that I’m savouring, it has been a good change from what I’m accustomed to. 

Ireland is considered the ‘Emerald Isle’ and this is because everything is green, green landscapes of hills and valleys. You can find a million shades of green as you’re walking around, and all this green comes from a lot of rain. 


Merlin Castle Park (photo: Alexia)


Ireland is also rich in history. There are so many castles’ ruins around the country. Just around the corner from where I’m living is the ‘Merlin Castle’. This is a tower house built in the early 12th century and now a national monument located in Galway. It is surrounded by a big park where you can have a long walk, for some peace, and quiet.  

It’s very interesting to find differences or hidden gems that are just around the corner. It’s part of the experience of stepping out of my comfort zone. 


Alexia is doing a BSc in Applied Freshwater and Marine Biology at Atlantic Technological University/GMIT