Communication Abroad

Since being abroad, I’ve been noticing a lot of similarities, as well as, differences between the types of communication being used throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland. The country that has peaked my interest the most is Ireland. I am going to be discussing the different communication mediums and how they differ between Ireland and the United States.

sitting-in-park.jpg
St. Stephen’s Greens- By: Tiara Terry

One of the huge differences that I have noticed is how people communicate with one another here in Ireland. The people here are a lot more friendly and open. Once people heard our American accents, they were not hesitant to ask us where we were from and converse with us. A lot of people were excited that we were visiting and were more than happy to offer sites to see while in Dublin. In the United States, we don’t usually speak until spoken to and don’t involve ourselves in other people’s business. Another thing that I realized here in Dublin is that people use parks as social gatherings. In St Stephen’s Green Park, much of the grass areas were taken up by people sitting out enjoying themselves. In America, people usually only go to parks for events/holidays, to play sports or for their children to play. It is not much of a social site for adults. Americans tend to communicate more so through phones and social media, or we will go out to events to spend time with others.

Something that has stood out to me while being in Ireland is the different vocabulary they use to communicate. I think it is cool that in different areas of the world, a word that we use could have a completely different meaning elsewhere. Some examples are, chips/fries, toilets/restrooms, pavement/sidewalk, pancs/pancakes, rubbish/garbage, mind the step/watch your step and trousers/pants. Those are just a few examples. Being abroad, I had to become accustomed to the language barrier. Another communication barrier are the Irish accents. Some accents are so strong that I struggle to hear what they are saying. In this case, I tend to use hand gestures to get my point across or I try to switch my vocabulary for better understanding.

A unique form of communication that Ireland displays is through their travel sites. Many sites that we have been to such as Guiness, Jameson and the old burial sites were all forms of communication. The distilleries were able to communicate to the public how they go about making their products through interaction. The taste tests given even allowed for the company to communicate to potential customers, the taste of their product. The old burial site told a story and communicated to the public, the significance of the site. Another form of communication was through the Dunluce Castle. People who are fans of Game of Thrones were able to recognize the castle and better connect to the show. For the people unfamiliar with Game of Thrones were able to learn about the show and become potential viewers. While in Ireland, we visited the Dublin zoo. This was another great place for communication. For every animal there was a sign giving the description of the animal, stating if the animal was endangered or not and listed why it was endangered. This allows the general public to better educate themselves and hopefully better protect all wildlife. Another great example was the Kilmainham Gaol prison. The prison communicates to people the history behind the jail. It shows the conditions that people lived in back in the day and why they were jailed. Through the tour I was also able to learn more about the potato famine and how badly it impacted Ireland. In America, we don’t have many historical places left to explore. A lot of our landmarks today have been built within the last century. Some more historical sites to visit in America are the Grand Canyon, Washington D.C., Mt. Rushmore, Hoover Dam and the Statue of Liberty to name a few. To learn more about a city, a museum is usually a go to in the US. Some cities offer tours but not all.

street sign
Dublin Streets- By: Tiara Terry

Another huge communication difference that I have noticed is their use of advertising. While exploring Dublin’s night life, I noticed that men were walking around with glowing advertisement boards on their backs. This is a cool, unique technique to advertise. They were advertising a strip club. This was a smart move because they brought their target audience the information they may need. They know that their audience are young adults who are out at night time, looking for a good time. They also know that they can promote live and give out deals and fliers on the spot, which will drive more people to their establishment. I also notice a lot of advertisement on their public transportation, whether it is a logo or slogan. In America, most of our advertisement is seen on television, online or posters around town. The furthest extent I have seen advertisement go in Detroit is on a car/truck/bus. In Detroit, advertisement is rarely face to face.

After being in the United Kingdom and Ireland and having to switch through different currencies, I tend to get a bit confused because most of their coins are identical. If you look closely, Ireland communicates the difference through the use of the harp symbol on the back of their coins. England communicates the difference with a picture of the queen on the back of all of their coins. I’ve also realized that Pounds are more shiny/slippery while Euros are dull. I love the dollar bill because it is the easiest to identify out of all currencies in the world. There are many things on the dollar that indicates that it is American currency such as the slogan, “In God We Trust,” it says “One Dollar” on the front of the bill and it also says, “The United States of America” on the front. With so many foreign people traveling to America, I think it is quite amazing how well the government communicated the American currency.

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