By: Karianne Johnsen
Just a short drive from Causeway coast, known as one of the most scenic coastlines in Europe, sits the University of Ulster – Coleraine in Northern Ireland. During the spring of 2013, Blair Gabalis, a graduating Integrated Language Arts student at Kent State University, spent a semester studying abroad at the university as an exchange student through the school’s study abroad program. When she wasn’t in class or embarking on fun adventures across the beautiful countryside, Gabalis spent her time making memories with her new Irish friends. As one would expect when visiting an unfamiliar country, it took a while to catch on to the Irish slang and humor.
“There is absolutely a difference between Irish humor and American humor. At first it was quite a bit more dry,” said Gabalis. “My Irish friends were convinced I didn’t understand their sarcasm, when really it was their slang I didn’t understand.”
Luckily for her, it didn’t take long before she had a grasp and better understanding for their style of humor. She found its use to be centered on their drinking culture and is quite funny once you have the chance to understand it more. She viewed the Irish to have a laid back way of life which made for an interesting adjustment compared to her fast-paced upbringing in the United States.
“The pace of life is totally different in Ireland, and sometimes I think it’s something we Americans could really learn from,” said Gabalis.
Studying abroad in Northern Ireland is a recommendation Gabalis says she’d give to anyone interested in exploring and getting a new perspective on the world.
“It is one of the best things I have ever done in my life,” said Gabalis. “It’s so incredible to submerge yourself in another culture and really learn about who you are when you’re taken out of your element.”