In this guest post Guilherme from Brazil shares his experience arriving in Dublin to learn English.
Hey guys! My name is Guilherme (hard name to pronounce, I know). I’m from Brazil but I don’t have monkeys walking in my garden. My neighbours have. I’ve been living in Dublin for 2 years and I’ll tell a little bit all the awkward and funny situations that I have been through these last 2 years.
Arriving in Ireland
First, let me explain why I chose Ireland. It was because of the possibility of work and study for more than three months. I arrived in Dublin at the beginning of March 2018 in the middle of the Beast of the East. There was an untypical snowstorm that covered the whole of Ireland. And the last one was almost 10 years ago. What a good reception! The airport closed for 2 days exactly the day that I was supposed to arrive. I stayed 2 days in Frankfurt – Germany and after that finally could see the green (white) island closer.
My classes were supposed to start on the next day. I was like 3 km away from school in student accommodation and there weren’t busses line operating because of the snowstorm. I was so excited to start the classes that I had the idea to go walking. 3 km walking in the snow with Olympics shoes. What a great sport! I was using the offline GPS because I couldn’t buy a SIM card yet. I took a risk of asking a friendly guy on bus stop where was the bus stop where a could go to “downtown”. The guy was friendly and tried to help me, however, I couldn’t understand a word that he said. He pointed his finger in one direction and I realised something about that direction. But in the end, I just said “Thank you so much”. After walking for almost 2 hours in the snow I finally saw the Liffey River and I just thought “Oh my God I’m in Dublin”.
When I arrived at school I checked my email using the school’s wifi and I received an email from the director: “You can come tomorrow, there is no problem”. Anyway, I started the classes on that day and since I was in Brazil I thought to myself about how can I turn my name into an easier pronunciation. I could say my nickname in Brazil, Gui. The teacher asked my name and I said Guilherme, he struggled to pronounce it. I said: You can call me Gui, it is easier (pronounced as gee), and he said: “Well, it is not a good nickname to use in Dublin because it is a slang word that means vagina). He explained what it exactly means, and I thought: Well it is not a good idea introducing myself as a that!
Anyway, I tried to say my name slowly for those who I’ve been meeting. Guili-erme/ Gui-lerme/ Gui- herme/ after two years I don’t even know my real name anymore.
After class I top-up my student Leapcard to go back home by bus. I was on O’Connell street and couldn’t find the Dublin Bus Office, I couldn’t understand the directions that people were saying to me, I was going by the directions that they fingers pointed to. I finally found the Dublin Bus Office and could do my Leap card. The receptionist asked to remove my hat to take a picture for the Leap card, and I thought “Oh no!” so I took my hat off and she took a picture. When I saw the picture I promised myself that would never show that picture to anyone. A few months later someone found my Leap card and posted a picture on a Facebook group. How did I lose my Leap card? Well, this is another story. I’ll just say “Dicey’s pub” and you’ll guess.
Culture shock and language barriers
During my stay in Dublin I realised many different things to approach someone, for example, in Ireland it not often used the word “Excuse-me”, they say “Sorry”. Sorry for bumping into you, sorry for disturbing you, sorry for sorry. On the bus when I was seating on the aisle seat and someone on the window seat stands up to leave the bus I used to just move my knees to the other side and let the person leaves like we used to do in Brazil. I realised everybody stands up to let the other persons leave the place. I thought to myself, I think it’s better to do the same. Awkward to see what I’ve been done. Anyway, I didn’t know.
I remember once I went to the supermarket, I was so thirsty and I bought a bottle of water, I thought it was still water but it was sparkling, I didn’t know sparkling means, well, sparkling! When I opened the bottle it spread all over the floor of the supermarket. I was like WTH?, and many other things that I bought wrong and I’ve never used for anything. My advice is, if you are a student, never go to Penneys, EuroGiant, and Dealz when it is extremely necessary. I can’t remember how many times I’ve been to Penneys to buy a pair of socks and left with 3 jumpers, 2 pairs of shoes and 4 shirts, and any socks. Well, guys, this is a little bit of the experiences that I had in Dublin. Thanks a million! Stay safe.
Guilherme is a business student, an avid Taylor Swift fan and traveller. You can keep up with his instagram here.