Madeline Messina is an official CAPA blogger for summer 2017, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. An Advertising major and a French and Francophone Studies minor at the University of Florida, she is studying abroad in Dublin this semester.
In this week's post, Madeline gives us her first impressions of Dublin and the people she's met there.
Arriving in Dublin was a surreal experience. Looking out of the window of the plane as we were landing, I was assuming once we descended beyond the clouds I might get a nice view of the country. I had no idea that we were already so low to the ground, so that once we were under the clouds, we had already landed. A heavy fog amassed the entirety of the airport and the clouds hung low to the ground. I felt an indescribable mystery at the first sight of Ireland.
Right after I got off the plane, I noticed how lovely the people are in Ireland. Me and a couple of other students were a bit lost, so many people came up to us and asked if we needed help. Once we found our way to the taxis, our driver welcomed us warmly and told us loads of history about Dublin on the ride from the airport to our apartments at Stay City. I could tell that what I had heard about the Irish people was true, they love to tell a good story. He spoke of many tidbits about Dublin’s past as we passed by historical sites, and with incredibly funny dark humor. He mentioned that his uncle was imprisoned because of the rebellion in the early twentieth century and starved himself to death in protest for 42 days. He then said, “I don’t know about you folk, but I just had breakfast three hours ago and I’m bloody starving!” I could not stop laughing! The taxi ride was where I first realized a big change from the states. Often, taxi drivers in the state don’t talk very much, if at all, during the ride. Also, I’ve never experienced a cab ride that the driver basically gave a tour of the area. He was so knowledgeable about everything there, you can tell he had a deep relationship with the city.
After we got to the apartment we walked around Dublin quite a bit to get our bearings, and did even more of that the next day on our historical walking tour. It was amazing to get the context of all the historic buildings, from the time of the Vikings, to Edwardian times, to present day.
Also on the second day, we met with CAPA staff and learned more about what life will be like for the next 10 weeks. What I found most interesting during our orientation was our professor and internship advisor, Darren Kelley, talking about Irish culture versus American culture. He put in to words what I had been noticing upon meeting people the first couple of days. He talked about how Irish people take their time talking to people, ask how they’re doing and how their family’s getting on, before getting to the meat of the conversation. Also, he said that Irish people are very frank about religion and politics, and ask about it freely. Opinions in Ireland are not taken very personally like they are in America. No one would get offended if you stated an opinion on any subject, Darren said, but they might challenge you to see why you think that way, or poke holes in your argument just for a laugh. I really like that about the Irish culture because it’s easier to have deep conversations without fear of offending someone or ending the conversation in a heated argument.
Overall, these past couple of days has been eye-opening, and I’m even more excited to learn more about Irish culture and about the city of Dublin. I hope to talk to more locals during this trip and learn as much as I can whilst I am here. But even though I’ve been here for two days now, the thought of all the adventures I will have here hasn’t quite hit me yet. Because these past couple of days have been so packed full of activities, I haven’t been able to really digest them properly. I’m sure very soon I’ll realize; “Wow, I’m actually here.”
Madeline's journey continues every Wednesday so stay tuned.