French student Mariana Hervigo, who recently spent a fortnight on work experience in The Southern Star, was amused by our fascination with ‘warm’ weather, drinking tea and the Angelus bells
I LIVE in Nice in France and I left my home to spend two weeks in total immersion in life in Ireland. I needed to do work experience because I want to study journalism or political science in college. I arrived in Cork on the 16th of June. When I started my trip, it didn’t begin very well with my baggage lost in the Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris. It arrived two days later. I started my work experience in The Southern Star newspaper in Skibbereen the next Monday and met all the people who were working in this enterprise. The names are very different from in France so I had difficulty remembering everybody.
My first day out was on Tuesday when I went to Bandon Circuit Court. I listened to cases like driving under the influence, car accidents and fraud. I noticed a few differences between France’s and Ireland’s court system, like the fact that in France we just have one lawyer and not a solicitor and a barrister, or the wigs that the barristers wear, like they did in the past. They make the atmosphere seem out of the time, and also in France we swear on the civil code and not on the bible.
During the two weeks, I could see that Christianity was very present with the schools, are even in politics. For example, when I went to Cork County Council and at the beginning we needed to pray. It was really weird for me to see how much the State is bound to the church.
In France, the State is secular so we don’t talk about religion at school besides in history. In France, most of the schools are public and without religion, but we also have private schools which do have a religion class. In Ireland it seems like it’s the opposite, and there are more religious schools than secular schools. I also noticed that on the radio and TV at midday and 6pm there are the angelus bells.
One thing that I really liked about Ireland is that it’s very peaceful and calm. There are no security checks like we have in France in a lot of places.
I went to Live at the Marquee in Cork city where we saw the Irish band The Script and the music was really good, but I noticed that there were not a lot of security checks.
It was the same thing when I went to the Cork County Council meeting. I was really surprised that no one checked my bag at a place with important people, where in France we are checked in the shops, concerts and even in my High School.
In school, we also have, since last year, an emergency drill to practise for a terrorist attack.
During the two weeks in Ireland the weather was sunny almost every day and everybody complained that it was too warm, when it was 25 degrees Celsius.
Where I live, it starts to be regarded as warm at 30 degrees, or more. But the good thing is that during the night the temperature is colder, unlike in the south of the France, where very often during the summer the night is almost as hot as the day. I was really impressed by the weather that was unusual for the country.
The cliché says that England is the country where people drink the most tea. It’s wrong. It’s Ireland.
You drink tea all the time, at breakfast, during breaks, at lunch, dinner and even after the evening meal. In France we don’t drink a lot of tea but coffee, and it’s not as much as in Ireland.
One other thing really different from France is the time of meals. In Ireland lunch is at about 1pm where in France it’s at noon or 1pm, so that’s not too different, but dinner is.
In Ireland, it’s about 6pm, compared to at 8pm in France. It was very difficult to get used to this rhythm because I was not hungry at 6pm, but I was later. Also I don’t know if it’s my appetite or the food portions, but I couldn’t finish my plate almost every time.
Overall, I would say that there are a lot of differences between France and Ireland, and it was really nice to discover a new culture and way of life.