5 Surprises About Studying Abroad in Limerick

Sarah Smaby is a student at Michigan Technological University and an ISA Featured Blogger. She is currently studying abroad with ISA in Limerick, Ireland.

Rainbow photo, Limerick, Ireland, Smaby, photo 1
Lots of changing weather in Limerick leads to lots of rainbows!

1. Weather

The weather here in Limerick is quite unpredictable and changes very frequently! It can be sunny and 50 degrees Fahrenheit with no clouds in sight one minute, and ten minutes later the sky is black, rain is pouring down, and there are wind gusts large enough to knock you down! If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s to always bring an umbrella or raincoat with me regardless of how seemingly sunny it may be outside!

Snow photo, Limerick, Ireland, Smaby, photo 2
Getting to see all four seasons over the course of a day!

2. Heating

In Ireland the water and the heating is quite expensive, so to account for this fact, the heat only runs certain hours of the day and the water heater is also only on for certain hours. It took a bit of time getting used to only being able to take a shower at certain times of the day and at times I still manage to forget. I have gotten quite a few ice cold showers as a result!

Figuring out how to use the grocery carts- also known as trolleys!
Figuring out how to use the grocery carts- also known as trolleys!

3. Grocery Shopping

Of all of the things that are different in Limerick compared to back in the US, one of the differences that stuck out to me was the grocery shopping! For starters, to get a grocery cart, you need to insert a one-euro coin into the cart to remove, and then after you return the cart you get your euro back. The other part that seemed different to me was that you aren’t given grocery bags while shopping, and you either need to bring your own or purchase them from the store. While neither of these differences are that large, going grocery shopping for the first time solidified for me that I was no longer back in Wisconsin!

4. Accent(s)

I was prepared to hear accents when coming abroad, but it wasn’t until I arrived in Limerick that I realized how many different accents there are in Ireland! Most of the accents are pretty similar to what I was expecting–the stereotypical “Irish” accent found in movies–what I wasn’t expecting was all of the different phrases! I can be speaking to an Irish person and understand every word they are saying yet still have no idea whatsoever about what they are actually saying–this seems to happen quite often when people are asking me what I am studying/majoring in I have come to the conclusion that when in doubt as to what someone is saying, I should just tell them what I am majoring in!

University of Limerick sign, Limerick, Ireland, Smaby, photo 4
The University of Limerick: where my adventures take place!

5. Atmosphere

The overall attitude and atmosphere of the Irish people is very laid back and different than what I am used to. People here are especially lenient about time, and it’s not uncommon whatsoever for the professor to not even get to class until ten minutes after the designated starting time. Overall the lifestyle seems a lot more relaxed and laid back than in the United States.

Want to read more about Ireland? Check out “5 Magical Places to Visit in Ireland” 

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