Katerina Russo is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2016, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A communications and political science major at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, she is studying abroad in Dublin this semester.
In this week's post, Katerina talks about how buying groceries in Ireland differs from buying them back in the States.
While living at Griffith College, most of my grocery shopping has been done at the Spar right across the street from campus. Occasionally I’ll stop at a Tesco located a little bit further up the road. It seems like the enormous grocery stores that most of us are used to at home in America are few and far between around Ireland, let alone in the city. In Ireland there seems to be more of an emphasis on going to different shops for different items like a butcher’s shop or deli for meat, and bakeries for bread. Luckily, I’ve been able to acquire everything I really need at this tiny little Spar, which from the look of it appears to be more of a convenient store rather than a place to buy food. Inside they offer small selections of fruit and vegetables as well as a few different refrigerated meat options. I have gotten into the habit of buying items like these the day that I will cook them, as almost everything here goes bad significantly faster than it does at home. However, a lot more of the products are locally grown, so with the good comes the bad I suppose.
Hopping off the bus at around 6pm on the way back from my internship and stopping at Spar to decide what I’m having for dinner has actually become quite enjoyable. There’s less worrying involved about whether you have the right things available at home in order to prepare something and you’re able to decide in that moment exactly what you’re in the mood to eat. For times when I’m feeling especially tired or lazy, they even have a decent collection of microwaveable meals or pre-made sandwiches which aren’t nearly as bad as they may at first sound. I was also pleasantly surprised with the selection of different cheeses that Spar offers, with an entire shelf in this tiny store entirely dedicated to them. As for snacks, potato chips are overwhelmingly popular. There are so many different kinds and the Irish brands are especially good.
Living at Griffith has been the first time in my college career that I haven’t relied on a meal plan for food and it’s been refreshing. Cooking for yourself can save you quite a bit of money when you’re on a budget and is a very helpful skill to have, even if you only know the basics. Here in Ireland, food shopping seems a bit more simplified and manageable, while when at home I think of it as a large and rather annoying task. Overall, I’ve found that Ireland supermarkets offer a nice variety of delicious options that are especially great for students.
Katerina's journey continues every Tuesday so stay tuned.