We wrapped up our first week in Dublin with a tour of the renowned Guinness Storehouse and an insightful discussion on cross-cultural communication styles. During our site visit to the Guinness Enterprise Center (GEC), we learned that the Guinness Storehouse is a pioneer of employment benefits and prioritizing the needs of employees. Our tour of the Storehouse solidified my impression of Guinness as an innovative and entrepreneurial company. Guinness not only produces Ireland’s most iconic beer, it also prioritizes diversity, women’s empowerment, and employee satisfaction in the process in one of their exhibits. Another one of the exhibits at the storehouse was a short video biography of its founder, Arthur Guinness, who was essentially an embodiment of the entrepreneurial traits that we talked about at GEC and characteristics of the Irish workforce with Dr. Darren Kelly. Witnessing real-life examples in Ireland of concepts taught in my classes at Pitt makes the learning process incredibly rewarding and engaging. In addition, interacting with Irish locals at grocery stores, bars, and restaurants have helped me understand the distinction between a high-context country like Ireland vs. a low-context country like the US in a social setting.
As we were exploring places around central Dublin, we stumbled upon the Fitzsimons Bar, where we were asked to display our IDs to the bouncer. I didn’t have my physical ID on me so I pulled out a digital copy of my passport, which also shows that I’m an Indian citizen. To my surprise, he started speaking in Hindi and asked me if I understood what he was saying (I did), and when I responded saying that although I’m fluent in Hindi my native language is actually Tamil, he answered me in Tamil! I was at a loss of words. In my experience, it has been incredibly rare for me to meet someone else who spoke Tamil, even in the United States—and here I was, conversing in Tamil and Hindi in the streets of Dublin! I was aware of the diverse range of ethnicities and nationalities (locals or tourists) in Dublin through my evening trips to clothing stores, restaurants, and bars, and I recognized myself getting excited every time I heard someone speaking one of the non-English languages that I’m fluent in or currently learning. This interaction meant a lot to me as I was feeling a bit homesick having been in Ireland for a week now. Dublin is a gorgeous city filled with excitement and liveliness, but every now and then I miss my mother’s cooking and the familiarity of Pitt’s campus. The interaction with the bouncer in my native tongue relieved some of the homesickness though, and I am looking forward to the upcoming week as we have some amazing visits planned!
Tomorrow we are going on a day trip to the Cliffs of Moher and Galway to explore the breathtaking scenery on Ireland’s ranked the seventh most wonderful heritage site in the world–so that’s sure to be a lovely change of pace. Can’t wait to tell you guys all about it!