Rachel: It's There For A Reason
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Ireland, etc.
I am Rachel, a 25 year old expat from New Zealand now living in Ireland. I came here in early 2012 on a shoestring – a few hundred euros in my pocket, no job, and only two days accommodation booked. I soon found work in County Kerry and made Ireland my home. While working at a hostel in Killarney I met my Dubliner boyfriend. By August I had made my way to Dublin where I am now based.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I started blogging in August 2012 because I thought it would be the easiest way to share photos and stories with my friends and family back home. After making friends in the blogging community I realized that the website is a fantastic resource through which to help other prospective expats!
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
Killarney for Christmas is my favourite post. It was my first time back in Kerry after moving to Dublin and I was incredibly excited to be back! I also made a vlog series about that trip.
Tell us about the ways your new life in Ireland differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
Interestingly, Ireland is a lot like New Zealand (albeit smaller and wetter)! I love the friendly people, their amazing culture and it always feels like there is plenty to see and do. I definitely feel very at home here and I really never went through culture shock after arriving here.
There is a huge Irish diaspora Down Under so although I have learned a lot by moving to Ireland I had met plenty of Irishmen and women back home and knew what I was getting myself into. Combined with the internet and Skype it is really easy to stay in contact with friends and family back home.
The hardest part of moving to Ireland was trying to find work in a land that is only just starting to pull out of recession.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Ireland? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
I’m sure I would have loved to have had a little more money! My circumstances were very different to most people who chose to move overseas. I made the decision and left within a three month period and I would only recommend that method to people who are well travelled and are familiar with having to box up quickly to move. That said, Ireland is a very easy country to move to thanks to the visa waiver programme and the working holiday scheme.
I wouldn’t change anything I did to get to Ireland. The unplanned spontaneity of the move has made me who I am.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
When I was working in a hostel in Killarney I met a guy travelling the globe on such a tight budget he could only afford to eat two eggs a day. There was also the time a couple asked me if it was OK to light candles in the dorm and draw a pentagram on the floor (er… no). Oh, and who can forget the time my fellow Kiwi expat opened her bedroom door to find an Irishman asleep outside it. Somehow he’d managed not only to break into the hostel, but to get to the fourth floor before passing out. You really do see all sorts when you’re prepared to do any sort of work!
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Ireland?
- Be prepared for long stints of unemployment and a lot of leg work unless you have the type of career which will find you a job before you go. Ireland is still in recession and jobs are scarce so you might have to clean bathrooms to get by.
- It will rain! Almost every day of the year it is raining somewhere in Ireland. Expats shouldn’t let this stop them from exploring. Rug up and get outside!
- Don’t pack everything, including the kitchen sink. Ireland is a modern country and the UK is right next door. You can find most of your favourite brands (or something better) of everything from stockings to technology. Only bring your memories with you.
How is the expat community in Ireland? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
My life in Dublin really does not involve many expats. One day I realized I was the only non-Irish person in my friendship circle. At work there was a South-African expat much older than myself, but all the other team members were Irish. It is easy enough to make local friends who are plenty of fun (craic).
As it turns out, my closest expat friends in Ireland are bloggers who are on the other side of the country. If you are looking for some people with similar interests or backgrounds meetup.com has a strong and safe Ireland membership.
How would you summarize your expat life in Ireland in a single, catchy sentence?
Every day is a green adventure and every night the craic is mighty.