New Views

“I’m not a traveller, or more accurately I’m not someone who has had the chance to travel until recently. Before Ireland I backpacked, have lived in multiple Canadian provinces, camped alone in the wilderness, and have been to the top of multiple mountains (mostly in British Columbia). But I’d never left the country, so moving to Ireland I had no idea what to expect.

Thank god for USIT. Sure I could have gone about getting a visa through the normal embassy channels, but having started that route, this saved me a headache and so much more.

Having the constant support available to me is a load off of my shoulders. Though I haven’t used all of the resources available to me yet, just knowing that they’re there is huge.

Through the Work in Ireland Program I have access to a large group of people, some with so much experience to share, and available at any time to answer questions. The USIT team is constantly updating the group, letting us know about any meetups, job vacancies, or other relevant information, it’s an advantage I never would have had if I had done this on my own, it might cost more, but you really get what you pay for.

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Since coming to Ireland I’ve done a lot of the touristy things. Giant’s Causeway, Blarney castle, and the Rock of Dunamase were all amazing. However in the last few months after getting a bike, the real treasure for me has been cycling. Travelling primarily (so far) all over Cork County, and seeing not just the main sites, but the hidden gems. Ireland has so many of them, when I leave here if I regret anything, it’ll be not getting the chance to explore every nook I could find.

The perfect example in fact happened only a few weeks ago. It wasn’t a half bad day out, windy as usual, but otherwise great weather for a bike ride, so I headed out, wanting to check out Ringaskiddy and Carrigaline.

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After coming down Carrs hill,  I ended up passing through Shanbally, completely by accident. It’s tiny, as in only a handful of houses, that all together might not fill up a hockey rink, and definitely the first time the the word ‘quaint’ has ever organically popped into my head.

Soon after that, on the edge of Ringaskiddy I came across Barnahely Castle, totally overgrown and abandoned, blocked off by fences, but awesome to look at.

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It’s things like these I’m learning to appreciate about Ireland, yeah Canada has incredible sites, and beautiful views, however we lack any relatively old history. You can’t walk up to a building and say wow, humans have lived in this place for 500 years. Or go up to a castle and think to yourself about the thousand years of history that went into building, maintaining, and sometimes even trying to destroy that thing you’re looking at, or standing in.

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A love for this is something I might not have found if I hadn’t come here, and something I’ll get to keep with me for the rest of my life. Well worth every bit of work it took to get here.

So if you’re new to Ireland, or thinking about coming here, do it! For anyone already here? Put down the tourist books, turn off your GPS, and just wander, you might be missing all the best stuff.”

Blog Post and imagery by Work in Ireland Participant Brandon Mayovsky. Check out more of Brandon’s adventures here: bikenhikeblog.wordpress.com 

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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!!

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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 rent.ie and daft.ie, 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!

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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!”

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

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