The idea of heading to America and having a stellar J1 is probably all you can think about now with it right around the corner, and meeting the locals is possibly one of the first things you'll be doing. Since you'll be immersing yourself in American, erm, 'culture' if you will, you might want to know a few things about us statesiders ahead of time. Trust me, as an American abroad, I can vouch for all of these.
1. You're Probably The First Proper Irish Person They've Met.
Unless they've got their gran's sister's nephew's cousin who is "definitely Irish," you're probably the first proper Irish person that they've met. We don't get up to much traveling abroad in the States (I mean, it's a bit difficult to travel just within the States), so you're probably our first real other culture experience.
2. They Love Their Sports.
Do not try to get between an American and their sports. Since it's summer, it's all about baseball, baseball, baseball. Even if we don't actually like baseball, we still go to the games. It's just tradition. Pack your baseball cap and show some support for that local team, you'll be headed to at least a few games.
3. They're Really, Really Gullible.
Sure look, you might not be able to convince someone who has actually travelled that there's no cars in Ireland, but if you get a hold of someone who hasn't ever been outside their state, with a bit of that Irish wit and humour, you're going to be able to pretty easily convince them of just about anything.
4. Drinking Isn't As Big A Thing.
Here in Ireland, drinking is a cultural highlight, something that everyone does. In America? Not so much. With a drinking age of 21 versus Ireland's 18, America doesn't see drinking as a social practice like Ireland does. Don't get me wrong, we love a good drink now and then, but our go-to social event isn't nearly as often drinking as it is for the Irish.
5. Which Means You'll Be Able To Outdrink Americans 98% Of The Time.
Obviously judge your opponent if you're up for a drinking contest (you're not going to win if the guy is 4 stone heavier than you and a freaking boxing champ), but you're probably going to be able to hold out longer. We're not exactly trained to be marathon drinkers, we're a lot better at blacking out early and passing out.
6. They Love Deep Fried Anything.
Summer's the best time in America because it means fairs and festivals galore and if you're lucky, you'll wind up at a truly American fair. The hallmark of that? Deep fried anything and everything. From hot dogs and french fries (that'd be called chips here) to deep fried Oreos and butter (yes, there's deep fried butter), we Americans love that sweet, cholesterol heightening heart attack on a plate.
7. They Can Spot A Fake ID From A Mile Away.
Nothing to worry about if you're already 21 going on your J1, but if you're not, your fake's not going to fly in America. With a drinking age of 21 and eager college students, most bars and clubs are accustom to searching out the fake IDs from the real. Unless you want to fork up a hefty amount of money for a pretty legit fake, I suggest just waiting til you're 21 to head to America.
8. Tipping Is Essential If You Want To Not Be An Asshole.
So the whole idea of a liveable wage being offered for every job? Yeah, non existent in a lot of service jobs in America. While it's been getting better as the years go on, there's still a lot of jobs, primarily waiting tables and other serving positions, that pay severely less than the minimum, liveable wage, which means that these people often depend on tips to pay their own bills. The customary practice is to tip 20% of your bill to your server, but you can sometimes get away with 15% if they weren't very good. Still, no tip is absolutely unacceptable. Servers will chase you down streets if you don't. You've been warned.
9. Cheese. Is. Life.
Literally. Like, put cheese on basically anything and an American will love you forever. We put cheese on the stupidest things, it honestly makes no sense. I mean, I've known people to put cheese on steak. Our love for cheese is unending.
10. Donuts Are Everywhere And They Are The Best.
Donuts. Oh, donuts. I'm talking Aungier Danger quality donuts every day, around every corner. Dunkin' Donuts is a way of life in America, and it is honestly the only way. Geez, you can probably now understand why we have an obesity problem, yeah?
11. They love a good Irish accent.
Again, since we're kind of surrounded by people all talking the same as us, having someone in with a new accent is automatically a point of interest. But for whatever reason, the Irish accent is extremely popular for Americans. Just keep talking and honestly, we're all yours.
12. Distance Doesn't Mean A Thing To Them.
In Ireland, driving 2 1/2 hours somewhere warrants an entire weekend spent at the place, maybe even longer. In America it just means that you're probably going to visit your friend. In such a large, spread out country, distance and driving mean absolutely nothing.
13. Smoking Isn't A Huge Thing.
It seems that, in Ireland, a good 80% of your 18- to 24-year-olds smoke, if only because it's a social thing. In America, with ad campaigns shoved down our throats and into our brains for so long, we tend not to smoke, even socially.
14. They Won't Understand Half Of What You're Saying, And You Won't Understand Them.
At first, it's going to feel a bit like you're speaking a completely different language. Aside from the few things you might've picked up off American movies, some phrases in American lingo are just plain confusing, and they're going to think the same thing about your terms.
15. The Dating Culture Is Drastically Different.
Guys are way more up front about asking a girl out, and girls are even that way, too. A lot of it probably has to do with the fact that Americans are always in a rush, so they're quite often trying to get straight to the point. Both a good and bad thing, honestly.
Video: Differences Between America and Ireland