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A Norwegian study-abroad student returning to Ireland

St Patricks College, Drumcondra. Image credit: Francisco Osorio

Håvard Eriksen (30) had his exchange program in Dublin in 2013. Since then he has traveled back on a regular basis. He studied at St Patricks College for six months. Today he works as a teacher in a kindergarten back in Norway.

A lot to offer

When Håvard was deciding where he wanted to travel, he had a lot of options. “We could choose amongst mostly all of the European countries, some states in the US, and Canada. I like Europe, so that’s one of the reasons why I ended up here.”

He was excited about the culture. “I liked the British culture, so I was interested to learn about the Irish culture.” Furthermore, since his dad is a musician, Håvard was also interested in the music here. Especially the Irish folk music. “There is a strong culture for the folk music in Norway, but I experienced a stronger culture for it here.”

He had also a significant interest in history. Especially the Vikings, churches, and cathedrals. Which Dublin seemed to be a perfect place to explore in.

Though he had a great passion for sports, particularly football, he became fascinated by the Gaelic football and hurling.

“I think it is fascinating to observe their engagement and the patriotism for the sports. The pride.” One of the things which stand out is that the players always play for their hometown. There isn’t a question of money in the picture. “That is something unique.”

Love the local

We are sitting in Håvard’s favorite bar, The Ivy House. This feels a lot like home for him. “I wasn’t that eager after exploring Ireland. I liked Dublin and wanted to explore the city. So when my friends from college explored other places, I went here. There was always someone I knew here, either other students or locals.”

Håvard (right), with some of his friends from college at The Ivy House. Image credit: Private
Håvard (right), with some of his friends from college at The Ivy House. Image credit: Barry Ward, the former manager at The Ivy House

He finds it easier to get to know people here, than in Norway. “Norwegians are not outgoing. We sit as far as possible away from each other on the bus, rather than sitting closer so you can have a conversation with someone, even if you don’t know them.” He hasn’t experienced the ‘friends for life’ concept with his students. But he found it easier to come in contact with the locals.

“I like the culture amongst the locals here. It is okay to grab a couple of beers after work, no matter which day it is. With the job I have, I could never have done that in Norway. It would be seen as inappropriate.”

Not the last time in Dublin

This is the seventh time Håvard is here in Dublin. This time he brought with him a couple of his friends. “They want to do some tourist-things, which I am not a huge fan of. I think this is the sixth or seventh-time I am at the Guinness Storehouse.” Even so, it is for sure not the last time he is coming to the city.

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