International students increase campus culture: Ireland
If your idea of an Irish girl is a red head that two-steps like Michael Flatly, then juniors Jenny Keating and Deirdre O’Flynn are quite different than the expected. Keating and O’Flynn are both international exchange students from the Dublin Institute of Technology in Dublin, Ireland.
Since arriving in South Orange for a semester at the Stillman School of Business, the two have been confronted with a lot of stereotypical impressions of the Irish.
Keating said she keeps hearing the same questions. “Do you eat stew all the time? Do you like potatoes? Do you have computers?” O’Flynn also said that during the first week of classes a professor asked her if Irish students used the internet for assignments.
“We’re not that different from you,” she said.
Like many students at Seton Hall, both girls selected the University as one of their top exchange choices because of its proximity to New York City. O’Flynn and Keating had both been to New York City on vacations before applying for international study.
However, both girls explained that the transition to America has not really incited culture shock. Ireland is filled with American brands, restaurants, drinks and lots of American entertainment.
“We’ve got so many American TV programs, food chains, celebrity gossip; I don’t feel that it’s that different here,” O’Flynn said.
However, the Irish aren’t the only ones that have a fair share of stereotypes. With the prominence of American television come impressions both good and bad about the land of the free. You see where this is going: Jersey Shore.
The two said that they often joke to their friends at home about the Jersey Shore serving as an accurate depiction of New Jersey, but they ultimately agree that the experience is quite different.
“I’m happy that [New Jersey students] aren’t like they are on the Jersey Shore,” Keating said. “I don’t think I could deal with that every day for a semester. People are friendlier than I thought they would be.”
Fortunately the Seton Hall community has shown hospitality towards the two and reversed the stereotype.
Both girls said that they feel more engaged in classes at Seton Hall and that their absences go noticed, which deters them from skipping class. They said that they prefer the American education system, although they believe the grades are inflated.
“It’s much harder to get an A at home than it is here,” said Keating. “Nobody gets an A; it’s extremely rare.”
Even if Keating and O’Flynn miss their families, pets, three euro shoes from Penney’s and homemade soup, they also said they are going to greatly miss their time in the U.S.
When asked if they would ever consider continuing an education in the U.S., Keating was quick to respond. “The price of education here is insane!”
Meghan Dixon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.