Lifetime Lessons and Lifelong Friends

“It’s been almost 6 months now that I’ve been living in Dublin as part of the Work in Ireland program. Time sure does fly by. So far, it has definitely had its ups and downs, but I always remind myself in the tougher times that this experience is once in a lifetime and there are so many life lessons I am learning while over here. Not to mention, the craic in Dublin is great!!


After first getting here, I have to admit I was very overwhelmed, especially with finding housing and a job – the main priorities. I had a friend who was coming over to work in Ireland at the same time as me, so we decided to be roommates and at first, we were getting discouraged about finding an apartment. However, after sending plenty of emails on and, we finally found a suitable apartment in a suburb north of Dublin city centre. We have a nice little set up with a balcony and a lovely kitchen. Rent is a bit pricey, but we expected that when coming to live in the capital of Ireland.

As far as finding a job, it definitely was not the easiest task at first. I reached out to a few different recruitment agencies and spent the first week or two in the USIT office polishing up my CV and sending it off to employers. It would be discouraging after not hearing back or after getting rejected, but I tried to be positive and remember it would all work out one way or another.

I found an agency and they called me the day after receiving my CV. I had a good feeling about it and went in to interview the next day. I met with the manager there who told me that he would do his best to get me work as soon as possible. Well, turns out that he had work for me the very next day. He rang me in the morning to come in to the Bank to help out on the switchboard for the day. This assignment turned into an essentially full-time temporary role, and I have since got hired full-time through the Bank as a Business Services Assistant where I work in the reception department. I think my advice to anyone in this program would be to take advantage of agencies because they can be very helpful with finding work quickly for you, at least to start with when you first arrive.

As far as everything else, my experience has been great getting to travel around Ireland a bit as well as some of Europe. So far, I’ve been to Waterford, Belfast, and the Netherlands, and I have a few trips planned coming up including Barcelona, which I’m really looking forward to!


Overall, Dublin is a lovely place to live with plenty to do and with friendly people all around. I really enjoy exploring all of the coastal villages along Dublin Bay as there are so extremely beautiful towns just waiting to be explored. I feel very content now that I am all settled and in my work routine. Surely there are some things I wish I did differently in the beginning, but life is about learning from your mistakes and moving on.

Cheers to an amazing city and cheers to the second half of my adventure on this side of the pond!”


Blog Post & Photography by Valerie Stearns, a current Work in Ireland Participant.


Get Out There: Adventure Advice!

“I have been in Ireland now for a couple of months. During these couples last months, I have not worked, therefore I have had the opportunity to take in the country and the people, and am in a better position to offer some words of advice. Take it or leave it. Up to you, but here are some of the suggestions I would have liked to have from the very beginning.


1)         Book your GNIB appointment up to 8 weeks before coming to Ireland. I cannot stress this enough. If you want to work as soon as you get here, I strongly suggest you book your appointment for your  your arrival in Dublin as soon as possible.

2)         Don’t pack your umbrella. Do pack a good rain jacket. Umbrellas here are available everywhere, but, to be honest, a raincoat is much more useful. The wind in Ireland can be quite intense, so your umbrella probably won’t fair so well unless an inside-out umbrella is your kind of thing! While I’m on the subject of packing, include at least one nice outfit for interviews and evenings out, and definitely pack a great pair of walking or hiking shoes.


3)         When you figure out where in Ireland you will be settling down for a while, I suggest you plan to live with an Irish family for a while. Living with Irish people will allow for you to ask questions, navigate the area, get some good advice, and hear some wonderful stories about Ireland. Not only that, but you’ll be making local connections, which is pretty swell.

4)         Go on adventures. This seems like a silly suggestion but I think it’s easy to lose focus of why you’re relocating to Ireland. Don’t rule out small villages and don’t be afraid to ask locals where to go.


5)         Talk to people, but focus on listening. People here are very willing to share stories and advice. You’ll learn some wonderful stories of the history, people and culture of Ireland if you tend a listening ear over a pint or coffee.

6)         If you cross someone from your home country, don’t be afraid to speak up and ask them to have coffee with you. It’s nice to have someone to talk to from your country who has also relocated to Ireland. You can compare experiences and perhaps even share contacts.

7)         Read the newspaper once in a while. It’ll give you some insight as to what is happening around Ireland, be it politics, art, sports or classifieds. You might even find some activities happening in your area that you can attend to meet new people or learn a new skill or hobby!


8)         Download discount website apps such as Groupon to take advantage of some deals in your area. You might find some beauty services or tourist attraction discounts that will help with your budget.

9)         Learn basic rules of rugby, or find someone willing to teach you the basic rules of the game. It makes it a lot funner to watch a game in a pub with a bunch of locals when you have a general idea of what is going on. While you’re at it, learn the basics of hurling and football. Get in the game!


10)       Finally, get out there. Rain or shine, make it a point to get out of the house every day, even if it’s for a short walk. The days can be rainy, but if you’re dressed for the weather, it shouldn’t stop you from enjoying some time outdoors!

That’s it! I’m sure I’ll uncover some more suggestions as time goes by, but those are some basics to get you started on your Irish adventure!”

Guest Blogger Geneviève Laurent is a Canadian participant on the Work in Ireland Program. Check out her personal blog: