It was roughly a month ago when I made one of the biggest decisions of my life, which was to leave Ireland and try my luck in the UK.
I had just finished university at the end of July and moved in August.
There were a few reasons behind my decision:
• I had just spent the previous 6 months on a work placement in Meath which was a great experience, but not somewhere I wanted to stay as I felt quite isolated there.
• Application after application for new jobs but with no luck.
• My partner had just started working abroad, which was a bummer
• I just wanted to try something new, put myself out of my comfort zone and gain some valuable life experience.
The next thing for most people to consider, would be to find somewhere to live. Fortunately for me, my brother lived in Guildford and was willing to put me up until I found my feet. I spent the first few days finding my bearings, applying for jobs and trying to get set up, however, this proved much more difficult. As I hastily moved, I wasn’t aware I would need a National Insurance number. While I was waiting for my meeting, I went about setting up a bank account and phone bill but low and behold, I couldn’t as I didn’t have an NI number.
At this time it was quite frustrating not being able to set anything up. I was being charged a lot to exchange money and my phone was basically useless. As I lived with my parents during university, this was also my first real experience of contributing towards bills and grocery shopping. As the weeks went by and still no job, I was beginning to worry as my funds were running low. A couple of times a day, while being a couch potato, I checked my bank balance on my phone, to see how poor I was (first world problems, right?).
Finding Social Outlets
No man is an island, etc., etc.
Leaving behind your established social network to move somewhere new can be quite lonely – unless you replace it with new friends and activities. As I didn’t have much to do while I waited to hear back from my job applications, I think it was really important to find a hobby. Depending on what your interests are, this will keep you sane. I tended to go to the gym, for a run and even visited some of the local sites.
Missing family and friends
What did people do before low cost air travel and Skype? These have greatly helped with immersing myself into a new culture. With Skype I can keep in contact with everyone, which really helps during the transition. Nevertheless, separation from partners, family and friends is probably the hardest part, however, I’m lucky that I have a few relatives here to help me settle in.
OK, I bet your thinking what is he on about? Ireland speak English. Yes we do, but it’s the accent and certain words where a language barrier can get in the way. As a person from Cork, we are known for having quite strong accents and speaking very quickly, which can be difficult to understand for people outside of Cork. Since arriving, I have tried my best to slow down and pronounciate words clearly which will hopefully reduce awkward situations, where people look at me like I have ten heads when they can’t understand me.
A few words which have different meanings from back home include:
College: In Ireland it refers to third level education but in the UK refers to the Irish equivalent of 5th & 6th year of secondary school. Use University to refer to third level education.
Runners: Refers to sneakers in Ireland. My new word is trainers.
Poppy: A.K.A a potato in Cork. Well, it’s a flower in the UK, so in future I’ll just say potato. (Oh Potato!)
Foxy: Often used to describe a person with ginger hair in Ireland but defines someone as good looking in the UK. Make sure you don’t forget this and refer to your sister as being foxy. This can then lead to people thinking you’re a weirdo.
However, for any Irish person who goes back home visiting, make sure you revert back to the Irish words or you may leave yourself open for criticism.
Over the course of the month I took part in numerous phone interviews, skype interviews and face-to-face interviews. Although I was sick tired of talking about my experience, it was a great way to refine my personal pitch. I also learned that it is vital to research any job you are interviewing for. The last thing you want is to be left sitting there looking silly mid-interview.
While registering with Morgan McKinley, I was made aware of my current role and invited to an interview. I was offered the position of Regional Marketing Assistant, which I was delighted to accept. I now look forward to building my career within the company and learning many new skills from such an experienced group of people.
Graham Long, Regional Marketing Assistant