It’s not until we venture across the water that we realise quite how ‘different’ us Norn Iron natives are to the rest of the world…
Here’s our top 10 struggles every student from NI that has ever lived abroad might identify with.
1. Our Advanced Culinary Inventions Are Met With Disdain
No-one has even heard of a Belfast Bap – never-mind our culinary classic – the crisp sandwich. It’s almost as if we’re the weird ones. As. If.
2. Everyone Eats Our Tayto
We want to say sorry – but this is my care package from home. But we wish to sustain our newly-formed friendships so we have drinking buddies/ someone to sit beside at the back of lectures. Which brings us to our next point…
3. Everyone Thinks We Drink ALL The Time
This gets tiring, because we actually don’t drink all day every day – just most nights of the week. But even the most seasoned of party-animals amongst us need a break from time to time. To study / die a death in bed binge-watching Netflix (Don’t judge us. We already have the ‘Are you STILL watching The American Office?’ accusatory question on Netflix to instil us with shame…)
4. The Extremely Lacklustre ‘Fries’
Um where the heck is the potato bread/ soda bread/ wheaten bread? Seriously, they’ve had long enough to catch up. We need something to soak up the alcohol (last night was coincidently, a drinking night).
5. The Awful Cups Of Tea
No Thompson’s tea? Really?
6. The Struggle To Get A Decent Pint Of Guinness
Now this struggle is all too real. As a seasoned Guinness drinker (yes, to be fair that’s one stereotype that could generally be quite safe to make), we are experts in how to pour the perfect pint. And that just simply isn’t it. And you can taste the difference. Yet we persevere, as we are nothing but optimistic (after a few they don’t seem that bad…)
7. No Boojum
It’s the stuff of nightmares. Yes – you have to survive entire terms with no Boojum (unless you wish to return home more often to see your family, but we can’t vouch for that I’m afraid).
8. Everyone Thinks You Live In A ‘Warzone’
Whilst we’re secretly quite pleased they actually think we’re tough enough to have somehow survived a total ‘warzone,’ we can’t help but feel slightly miffed at the dramatic reaction that simply answering the question ‘whereabouts in Northern Ireland are you from?’ can attract. Because to be quite honest, the most exciting things in our lives involve getting to Boojum before the queue is too long, waiting for the Apprentice to start, and any day it isn’t raining.
9. Everyone Asks Us About Potatoes
No we don’t exclusively eat potatoes. Don’t be so ridiculous… We have also been known to play with the idea of lasagne, stew, and as previously mentioned, um, fries.
10. No-One Understands Us
Yes probably literally as well, but accent-wise no-one can ever quite make out what the heck we are talking about. Be prepared to repeat ‘hilarious’ words we say ‘weirdly’ – such as ‘towel’ and ‘mirror.’ Which we only hate so much because they are, admittedly, pretty hard to say for some reason…
But we just point them towards poor Julian and assure ourselves that compared to him, our accents not that bad, well, not really.