Ireland is a wonderful country to visit – but before you go, remember that nowhere is perfect, and that being aware of some differences to home [Culture shocks] before you go will help you settle in and enjoy studying there. The Weather Ireland has the most changeable weather ever! You don’t go to Ireland expecting tropical weather (although some summers it can feel like it). What’s more amazing is the lengthy conversations Irish people can have about the weather, and the 20 different words used for rain, wind and sun. It is a great way to start a conversation – ‘Fine day today, isn’t it? Or Terrible rain again today!’ It opens the conversation and gets you talking!! The kindness of Irish people Irish people are in general very friendly and kind – it is in their nature. You only have to open a map and someone will come over, offering to give directions. They go out of their way to help you, you just have to smile and ask! Shop opening times This can actually come as one of the biggest culture shock. On the continent shops are open from Monday to Saturday, 9am to 7pm, many with a 2 hour lunch break. Almost all shops are closed on Sunday. So it is a bit of a surprise when you discover the bank opens only opens from 10am to 4pm (Tuesday-Friday) and 10am to 5pm on Mondays. Shops generally close at 6pm every evening, but many are open late on Friday and all weekend (especially in the shopping centres) Informal dress Irish people in general dress casually and do not wear formal suits to work. Now it depends obviously on the company you are working for so if you are going to Ireland to work or do some work experience it is worth asking beforehand what the dress code is.