Take the 2021 Expat Exchange Survey

Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Countryside, Ireland

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Countryside

Did you receive any cross-cultural training for your move abroad? If yes, was it before or after the move?

No, I didn't get training, since I thought the culture would not be too different from other Western European cultures. I lived in the UK before, and I believe Ireland is very similar.

Need health insurance in Ireland? PassportCard Introduces an innovative approach to expat health insurance with no out-of-pocket expenses, no paperwork and no long claim processing, facilitating payout on the spot when you really need it. Outstanding service validated with more than 2 million customers for over 20 years. Get a Quote

Need health insurance in Ireland? PassportCard Introduces an innovative approach to expat health insurance with no out-of-pocket expenses, no paperwork and no long claim processing, facilitating payout on the spot when you really need it. Outstanding service validated with more than 2 million customers for over 20 years. Get a quote from our partner, PassportCard.

If they speak another language in your new country, do you speak the language? If yes, did you learn the language before you moved or while abroad? If no, are you planning to learn the language?

Yes. I learned the English language at a young age. I started using it in my twenties though.

Were you worried or concerned about culture shock before you moved abroad?

Not at all/

Moving to Ireland?

Get FREE quotes from up to 6 international movers from The Relocator. Save up to 50% on your move to Ireland! The Relocator offers an easy and free service to receive quotes from renowned and certified movers worldwide. They only work with qualified moving companies. Over 500 movers worldwide have already joined their service to help you get the best price and service for your international move. Get your moving quotes.

How significant was the culture shock you experienced when you moved abroad?

It was worse than I thought.

Expats often talk about going through the "stages of culture shock." Examples include the honeymoon phase, the irritation-to-anger stage, the rejection of the culture stage, and the cultural adjustment phase. Do you feel like you went through these or any other stages as you settled into the new culture?

I think I am still in the irritation-to-anger stage, but I'm glad to read that will be over soon. In the beginning I definately has a honeymoon phase, since I loved (and still love) the beautiful nature and the peace and quiet. Nature is more beautiful in other European places, such as Switserland and France, but it is more quiet. Now I am in the irritation-to-anger phase, because the people are very annoying to me.

What, if any, were some of the changes you noticed in yourself that might have been caused by culture shock? These might include things such as anger, depression, anxiety, increased eating or drinking, frustration, homesickness, etc.

I did start eating more, but that was caused by the great and cheap food they have here, especially the meat. I do eat less vegetables and fruits though, because they are more expensive. But when it comes to emotional changes, I have felt depressed, because I am all alone and new here and it is hard to really connect to the locals. They seem pretty nice on the outside, but I feel it is just superficial. I cannot really get closer to them, because they are offended by almost everything I say or point out (which, in my view, is just stating the obvious). They don't like sharing personal information and they don't like to talk politics. Also, it seems the way to get a job is not by expressing your personality and showing your achievements, but rather by knowing the right people. And I know nobody, so I do also not know the right people. This makes me frustrated. I get angry because of the inefficiency here. Importing my car is one example: I drive to an office to get license plates and instead a woman writes down some information that I could have given her over the phone or internet. That took me about two hours of my day! And when I call the main office to complain about this procedure and I give them tips on how to improve their system (if you can even call it a system...), they get upset instead of thanking me! Another example is the fact they don't have postal codes and people refer not to streets but to estates. But these estates are not helpful when you are using a GPS system. Everyone just expects you to know every little neighbourhood in the towns. Furthermore, bureaucratic offices here do not explain what the procedures are. I believe they don't have any set procedure. They would rather not be held responsible and just go with whatever pleases them. There is no equality. One person gets treated better because they happen to know someone. This doesn't provide for the best outcomes, everything takes too much time, and the system is not dependable. It's tiring to me. And then the lines... Please. I am not interested in who got to the busstop first, and so I will not remember. So don't be mad at me when I try to be the first in line, even if I arrived last. When the bus arrives, I will try to be the first person getting in and everyone else should do the same! It's so dull when there is no competition getting in the bus first.

What are some things you appreciate most about the new culture?

People do smile on the streets, are nice in shops and in restaurants, and generally helpful. In my home country everyone looks grumpy and acts arrogant.

What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?

Getting to meet 'the right people'. That could be the baker, for the freshest bread; the postman, so he can give you your packages sooner; the handyman, so he won't let you wait for a day to fix your problems.

Did you "commit" any embarrassing or humorous cultural blunders? If you did and you'd like to share them, please do tell!

I had a clash regarding directness. The people here are not too direct and don't say what they mean. I on the other side want to know how things work. I was getting gas, but there was no fuel coming out of the gaspump. I was talking to an Irish customer about it and she said she didn't know why it didn't work either. I tried another pump, on the other side, and that one also didn't work. The Irish customer had moved up to the first pump I tried out, and she did manage to get the gas running! I went inside and asked a woman in the store why the pump wasn't working. She said that it was pay first then get gas. I was surprised and pointed out to her that for the other woman it worked without pre-payment. The woman in the store was a bit shocked and she said that she had not seen me stand there, so she didn't push the button for the pump to start working. She said that she would press the button now and that I could get gas. It was only later that I realised that the woman in the store and the customer both had lied to me. The woman in the store did not want to admit that she make the pump work for the other customer because she knew her and that she refused to make the pump work for me, because she didn't know me and I had foreign license plates. I understand she didn't want me to get gas without payment, but instead of just saying so, she made up a story about how she did not see me. And the customer knew all along why the pump did not work for me. I also had an experience where a shop owner said to me: great weather, isn't it? I looked outside and it was grey and it almost started to rain. I said: well, I don't like it at all. I would have liked to have sunny weather, because I am showing some friends around today. I thought it was the most normal response, since I was stating the obvious and I felt like the shop owner had this answer coming. But still, she was shocked. Weird.

Do you have any advice or thoughts about culture shock you would like to share?

Just smile.

Talk with Expats in Ireland

If you're not involved in our Ireland Forum, it's a great place to meet others in your area, get answers to questions about moving to Ireland or offer advice to a newcomer.

More about Ireland

10-Tips-for-Living-in-Ireland

10 Tips for Living in Ireland

Expats living in Ireland say that the transition from tourist to expat is not as easy as one would think -- from challenges making friends with the Irish to the rainy, gloomy weather. Expats who make the effort and take their time are rewarded with life-long Irish friends and a love of Ireland.

Expats living in Ireland say that the transition from tourist to expat is not as easy as one would think -- from challenges making friends with the Irish to the rainy, gloomy weather. Expats who make ...

How-an-Expat-Retiree-Fought-to-Stay-in-Ireland

How an Expat Retiree Fought to Stay in Ireland

Expat retirees David and Maura Woods were given 7 days notice to leave Ireland. David shares his story, why they were asked to leave, and how they found a way to stay in the adoptive land they love.

Expat retirees David and Maura Woods were given 7 days notice to leave Ireland. David shares his story, why they were asked to leave, and how they found a way to stay in the adoptive land they love....

5-Tips-for-Tech-Jobs-in-Dublin

5 Tips for Tech Jobs in Dublin

Expats in the tech industry in Dublin live in one of the most vibrant tech economies in the world. Ireland's favorable tax policies and other factors have made "Silicon Docks" a magnet for tech firms of all sizes.

Expats in the tech industry in Dublin live in one of the most vibrant tech economies in the world. Ireland's favorable tax policies and other factors have made "Silicon Docks" a magnet for tech firms...

10-Best-Places-to-Live-in-Ireland

10 Best Places to Live in Ireland

Expats in Ireland have a lot of options when they consider where they would like to live on the Emerald Isle. From great cities like Dublin and Galway, to more rustic areas such as Killarney, this is a good start for expats looking to explore where they will be happiest in Ireland.

Expats in Ireland have a lot of options when they consider where they would like to live on the Emerald Isle. From great cities like Dublin and Galway, to more rustic areas such as Killarney, this is...

Write a Comment about this Expat Report

Sign In to post a comment.
addacomment

Comments about this Report

guest
May 7, 2013 01:45

thank you for being so honest...i live in the united states [in oklahoma] and have been thinking of moving to ireland...i have no desire to live in the city because i have always been a country boy....so it is very helpful to have a grasp on the irish country living.... wonder how they will take to cowboy hats...lol...if anyone can give me any advice please contact me at

guest
Nov 26, 2013 09:22

Hoo boy, I can readily see why you are having problems. Perhaps after rereading this yourself you will see what I mean. The irish culture is so different from your own, I hope by now you've stopped trying to tell people how to do things and barging ahead of them in line. Good manners and consideration will take you much farther. Your last bit of a advice gives hope, yes, just smile and go with the flow.

dsdlprice8
Nov 5, 2016 06:10

I believe if you move to another country, you need to adapt to their culture, not the other way around. We moved here and knew no one, but haven't had any difficulty with service or store people treating us fairly. Yes, the bureaucracy is difficult and we do still feel like outsiders, but we are enjoying every new experience and greatly appreciate the opportunity to be here.

dawanda
Jan 10, 2021 08:17

I get what you mean, I feel similarly, it would be interesting for me to hear how things are now for you. Also, someone here commented that good manners will bring you further. What defines what good manners are? Good manners is exactly one of these things that I miss here in many people. But my Irish neighbours might well say the same about me. It's culture-relative and there is no "just adapt". I lived in six different countries due to my job. I only ever experienced a real culture shock in Ireland. Some cultures probably find it more difficult to go together. I come from a much more individualistic society than the Irish one and coming to Ireland as a single person with no family is really hard. It wouldn't be so hard for an Irish single with no family to settle anywhere in my home country. (But they might struggle with the lack of family structures)

Cigna Expat Health InsuranceExpatriate Health Insurance

Get a quote for expat health insurance in Ireland from our partner, Cigna Global Health.
Get a Quote

Ireland Forum Ireland Forum
Join our Ireland forum to meet other expats and talk about living in Ireland.

Living in Ireland GuideLiving in Ireland Guide

The passion that expats in Ireland have for their adoptive land is often truly amazing. Many get absolutely absorbed in the culture, the people and everything else that Ireland has to offer. (more)

Moving to IrelandMoving to Ireland Guide

Expats moving to Ireland have a wide variety of options in terms of great places to live. People moving to Ireland for work, to retire or for any other reason can realize the life they imagine if they do enough research before taking the plunge. (more)

Best Places to Live in Ireland Best Places to Live in Ireland

Expats in Ireland have a lot of options when they consider where they would like to live on the Emerald Isle. From great cities like Dublin and Galway, to more rustic areas such as Killarney, this is a good start for expats looking to explore where they will be happiest in Ireland. (more)

Healthcare in IrelandHealthcare in Ireland

Expats in Ireland face very specific timelines and rules when it comes to getting healthcare in Ireland. It's important to understand how this will impact your journey and your individual health before you decide to move to Ireland. (more)

Real Estate IrelandReal Estate in Ireland

Real estate listings in popular cities and towns in Ireland.

Pros Cons of Living in IrelandPros & Cons of Living in Ireland

Take off your rose-colored glasses and learn what expats have to say about the biggest challenges and the greatest rewards of living in Ireland.

10 Tips for Living in Ireland10 Tips for Living in Ireland

Expats living in Ireland say that the transition from tourist to expat is not as easy as one would think -- from challenges making friends with the Irish to the rainy, gloomy weather. (more)

Read More

Copyright 1997-2021 Burlingame Interactive, Inc.

Privacy Policy Legal