By ex-Mervillian 2007
This post is specially dedicated for the first year students heading for UCD insyaAllah. I’d like to share briefly on my experience living in the same house with 2 Irish girls. Basically, there’s two residential halls that Malaysian students will be placed at; they’re called Belgrove and Merville. For those living in Belgrove, there’s like 3 persons per house and usually all of them are Malaysians. Belgrove is also closer to the Health Science Building which is the center for medical students! If you walk fast enough, you can actually reach the building within 5 minutes! But words has it that Belgrove can get really colddd.. (they say it’s colder than Merville.. )
As for Merville residency hall, it’s like 15 minute walk to Health Science Building. But the advantage is that it has a more fresh look compared to Belgrove! (that’s what I think anyway..hehe) However, for those staying in Merville residency hall, there’s an extra sort of experience that you guys will have to endure throughout the year; living with Irish or other foreigners (usually Irish but some of my friends have Austrians, Germans, French as housemates!). I got the chance to live in Merville. Don’t worry, what you have to share is just the kitchen, the fridge and the living room. You have the room all to yourself because there are 4 rooms in Merville. (There’s only 2 rooms in Belgrove, meaning that two will have to share a room) There are also two toilets in Merville house.
Usually, they’ll allocate two Malaysians at least in a Merville house. Like for me, I have to share the house with my classmate from KMB (we planned that out by sending the accomodation form together at about the same time), and another 2 Irish girls. Initially I found the idea of having to live with Irish to be pretty scary. You know, since we have different styles and way of life. However, they were not that bad. We got off to a good start, we sort of allocate the space in kitchen cabinets, the spaces in the fridge, and also since there’s 2 toilets, we decided to have one for us Malaysians and the other one for the Irish girls. So the first lesson is to make an agreement as to which toilet you want to use, which kitchen cabinets you choose, make a point to take turns in throwing garbage, make a list of turns for topping up the electricity bill. For muslims, it’s strongly encouraged for you guys to highlight to your non Muslim housemates on what you can and cannot eat, why you have to wear hijab in the house (girls, you have no choice since they constantly have guys come over your place and windows wide open), and if not much, at least share with them on what Islam really is. This is your chance of being a good example of Muslim to them. Don’t worry on what they think, because I’m sure they’re all eager to hear it all from you!
The thing about Caucasians, especially Irish is that they like to have parties! This was one of the most spookiest experience ever (exaggeration mode..hehe) well, luckily my housemates are not the type that like to host parties. I do have an experience whereby they have a sort of party session, people flooding into our house with their beers and wine. I stayed quietly in my room and lock the door during that time. (note: please lock your door at all time, especially in time like those!) before long, they were all gone, heading for the bar. My house was in a terrible mess after that and the smell of beer actually nauseated me! It really was a test of patience for me. But you can’t put the total blame on them for that was how they define their entertainment. What you can do is tell them in your best manners how you consider it would be much better if they hold the parties elsewhere instead of the house. I’m sure they will understand.
I learned a great deal during the experience of living with these two Irish. But I also took the opportunity to learn a bit on the backgrounds of Irish, how they’d react to the war with the British and etc. It’s my best platform to practise my communication skills and social interaction with people from all walks of life. So grab the opportunity! Be international but play safe. Know your limits as a Muslim. Clubbing is definitely a big NO even if they invite you so! There are other better ways to socialise. I’m sorry to be highlighting on this but I find it very dissapointing to see how people nowadays manipulate the term being international as in exploiting the freedom of mixing with these Caucasians.
All the best! Explore!