My First Difficulties and the Main Differences between Germany and Northern Ireland
Learning the lingo
I was sure that I would not have any problems with communication in English because I know the language very well… but perhaps not enough for Northern Ireland! The accent here is so strong that you can barely understand people during your first days after arrival. For example, I had to ask a bus driver three times what the fare was because his pronunciation of the word “eighty” was completely different from what I was taught. However, after spending some time in Northern Ireland, communicating with locals, you slowly get used to their pronunciation and intonation, though one can expect some problems from time to time.
Way out weather
Do you remember those jokes about how Brits constantly talk about the weather? Now I know why they do so. The weather in Northern Ireland is absolutely crazy, and you just can’t help but to talk about it at least five times a day.
Sometimes it rains all day; sometimes it is as sunny as can be, and surprisingly, it is not unusual to experience all four seasons simultaneously: blue skies, grey skies and plenty of rain. Moreover, when the wind blows, it spares no one, so much so that you feel as though you might be blown away! You will soon acclimatise – literally – and start cracking some weather jokes yourself!
Some foods taste completely different from their German and Russian counterparts, but I think it is to be expected that every country will have its own “taste”. I am still trying to find really tasty bread, but I am not sure that I will be successful. Aside from that, there are many low or no-fat products, such as yoghurt, sour cream and quark. I was surprised to learn that it’s the very same word as in German.
Pounds and prices
I find that prices in Northern Ireland are higher than in Germany. Transport is definitely very expensive. For example, a return ticket to and from university costs me 2.60 pounds.
It took me some time to get used to the currency and to remember the value of each coin. Unlike Euro coins, the coins here do not bear a large digit signifying their value. The digit is usually printed in very small letters along the coin’s rim. So, for those unfamiliar with the currency, counting money can take some time.
(Bachelor British and American Studies, 5th semester)