That’s Hot

On May 13th, 2022, our Plus3 Ireland crew had a lovely breakfast of scrambled eggs at Chorus Café before proceeding to the Guinness Storehouse to learn about the history of Ireland’s most iconic beer company. I was very excited to go as I had previously heard of this attraction from a hilarious TV segment done by Conan O’Brien.

In addition to exploring the brewing process of Guinness from start to finish, it felt special to be able to connect all the dots—revealing how Guinness became successful and how it was able to use its wealth to help lift the country of Ireland. Given that the Guinness Storehouse is known for being a tourist attraction for people from everywhere, it was quite easy for us to observe and digest what information the displays and the people were trying to communicate. However, the study abroad experience (and the act of cross-cultural communication) has not always been simple like that…please allow me to explain. 

The United States is very much a low-context culture, which is different from Ireland, a higher-context culture. Although I cannot recall a specific example, I have noticed that people say things that would sound like sarcasm back home but are completely acceptable in Ireland as a way to bond with others. I think the key to cross-cultural communication, especially between cultures of unequal contextual levels, is NOT to take anything that is said at a surface level. After all, if you think everyone you come across in Ireland is being sarcastic towards you, there’s probably something you’re not picking up on—and they aren’t actually being sarcastic at all. So, even though I don’t necessarily have to look at someone to hear and properly understand what they’re saying in the United States, in Ireland, it is crucial that I pay close attention to what they’re saying AND what they’re not saying (hand gestures, facial expressions, etc.) to fully comprehend what is happening. Having had numerous trips abroad to China—a high-context culture, I believe it has been easier for me to follow along than for someone who may not have had those experiences. 


For this day’s interesting tidbit (5/?), I learned during the Guinness Storehouse tour that the temperatures during the roasting process can reach upwards of 232°C. 

Leave a Reply