3 Things to Consider before Moving to Work in Ireland
Are you currently thinking about taking time out to do something different from your normal life / routine? Are you open to living in a new country / culture? Read an experience from our featured travel writer Megan Prettyman from the United States who took a break from working full time to experience life abroad working in Ireland. Here she shares her experience, what you need to take into consideration and if she would recommend the experience.
In October 2013, I decided to take a leap of faith. Even though I was enrolled in a wonderful graduate program that was paying my tuition, employed and doing a job that I loved, surrounded by genuine, kind friends and coworkers. On paper all was set, but something was still off. There was a sort of void that I couldn’t quite seem to fill, or even necessarily explain from where it was manifesting. So, I decided to give it all up and move from the chief vacation spot for so many of the other 49 states across the pond to work in Ireland. Is it worth it for you?
1. Does it keep you up at night?
Prior to my move to Ireland, I had visited the Emerald Isle three times. In 2010 I went for the first time to visit a friend who was studying abroad in Ireland. In 2011, I spent two months in Ireland studying Irish history and politics. After this, in 2012, I backpacked around the country with one of my friends in order to celebrate our recent graduation from college. Every time I went to Ireland, my love would grow exponentially.
When back in America, I’d find myself comparing my best moments to the small, insignificant moments that occurred in Ireland. Even though they seemed far from parallel to others, those minute details of Ireland carried such esteem in my heart. I would lie in bed, despite my awesome gig, and wonder what life would be like if I took the plunge and gave Ireland a long-term shot.
One of the most cliché, but also solid, pieces of advice given to us at the crossroads of our lives is to follow your heart… so why shouldn’t that advice be applicable when it comes to travel?
2. Is the gain greater than the loss?
Growing up in the United States, the following steps are ingrained into the minds of my generational peers: graduate high school, go to college, get a job right after college graduation, find your soul mate, get married, have children, and the list goes on and on. Who said these steps have to go in this order? If you’re going to bypass any of these steps, or step outside of the box, how do you know whether or not it’s going to be worth it?
To put it bluntly, you might not know. However… there are always going to be other job options and plenty of opportunities to be swept off your feet by prince charming no matter where you go. Following those life guidelines doesn’t need to confine you to a specific area. If you’re young, unattached, and not yet high up in the management ranks in your career, then there will always be another, and probably equal, opportunity that awaits you. It’s just a matter of finding it.
3. Does it challenge you?
Of all points, this is the one with which I grappled the most. I had become complacent. Every aspect of life had become scheduled and routine – work days, weekend activities, new television episodes, even the meals I was eating. The sense of adventure and spontaneity on which I had once prided myself was withering away. Even though I was enrolled in graduate school, my mind felt slightly under-stimulated and I didn’t feel as if I was becoming a different, enlightened, or better person than how I entered the program.
When it comes down to it, this was the biggest reason why I decided to leave and start over. I didn’t want complacency to turn into laziness, blinding me from seeing any chances to better myself. I knew that moving by myself to another country would be far from easy, assuming complete responsibility for all of my actions and choices. I knew I would probably get lonely from time to time, and that I’d probably encounter some moments where I’d think to myself, “why the heck did I decide to do this?!”
But, no pain, no gain. If I didn’t take the time to challenge myself, then the current boring version of myself would metastasize and become permanent.
So, you might be asking yourself, how did it end up going for me? I am officially nine days into my journey and living in Galway, Ireland. Earlier today I visited the immigration office and received my GNIB card, which is a sort of residence permit showing that I am here legally. I am on the hunt for an apartment, having visited one earlier this evening, and I landed a trial run for a job. Making a decision as big as moving to another country is definitely one that requires a lot of deliberation, but that nagging feeling is one that can’t be ignored.
Even though working abroad has been challenging, and temporarily living in a hostel has been lonely from time to time, the gain has absolutely been greater than the loss. I never realized I was capable of such high levels of independence and trusting my gut instinct. For me, the most bewildering part is realizing that I’ve learned so much about myself despite the fact I’ve only been here for nine days - 2% of my visa’s duration. I can’t wait to see what the next 98% contains.
By Megan Prettyman