Gap Chats #2

Gap Chat #2 is with Kyle Kredt: a super cool gal currently living like a local in Dublin. Kyle mixes her weeks with adventure and working. In any way, let’s hear from Kyle…

Tell us a little about why you chose to take a gap year?

During my junior year of college, I had a classmate that was a Stinter intern. I remember sitting in class absolutely fascinated that she had gone abroad and worked in Ireland for a few weeks. I wanted to study abroad while in school and was never able to make it happen, but I decided the day I heard about my classmate’s experience that I was going to try out a gap year after I graduated college.

….and why Ireland?

I didn’t look into any other gap year programs because I knew I wanted to do it in Europe. Ireland seemed like a great introduction to a continent I had never visited.

Gap Chats #2 (Photo Credit: Ayla Graney)
(Dublin: close enough to Europe, yet far enough away to feel like a tiny continent in itself!)
The weirdest thing about Dublin is…?

For me, the weirdest thing about Dublin is the weather. It can change quickly throughout the day, sometimes making it hard to know how to dress appropriately.

Has it lived up to your expectations so far?

Being in Ireland and living in Dublin has been everything I thought it would be and more. The people are lovely, the culture is amazing, and there is so much history.

Explain what kind of work you are doing?

Right now I am doing a lot of reception/admin work. Since one of the main reasons I took a gap year was to travel, a 9-5 office schedule is really nice for weekend trips.

Have you any advice to people who are considering a gap year?

My advice would be to do your research. Whether you’re considering an internship or a gap year, you’ll want to be prepared.

 

So far Kyle has visited England, France, Switzerland, Germany and various parts of Ireland. I would highly recommend heading over to Kyle’s Instagram (@kylej0rdan). Her Insta-feed contains epic travel pictures, glorious food and lots of humor!

Stinter Ayla Graney

Gap Chats #1

Let us introduce our Gap Chats series. Over the next few weeks, we will feature some of our Gap Year Stinters, share their stories, what they are working at and hear the advice they have to offer. Although each Stinter story is completely unique, you will see that everyone shares similarities in reasons or ambitions to do a gap year. Why did we decide to create blog posts around their stories? Well, because they are pretty awesome and we also get a lot of questions from prospective Stinters about connecting with others that are like them! So here goes…

Gap Chat #1 is with Stinter Ayla Graney. Over to you Ayla!

Tell us a little about why you chose to take a gap year?
As my college graduation date quickly approached, I knew I was not ready to settle down and find a steady job. Since studying abroad in New Zealand, my desire to travel and explore different cultures has become an important (and arguably vital) part of my life, so it seemed natural to take a gap year.

 

….and why Ireland?

There are many reasons why I chose to take a gap year in Ireland, but the two main deciding factors were my family’s Irish history and the unique visa that Ireland offers for U.S. citizens who have recently graduated from college. Other reasons include the unreal natural landscapes (which satisfies my need to sit in trees), the ever-flowing Guinness (which makes my stomach full and my heart happy), and how close I am to an airport (which fuels the travel photographer in me).

 

Gap Chats #1 (Photo Credit: Ayla Graney)
(Some of Ayla’s crazy amazing travel photographs!)

 

The weirdest thing about Dublin is…?

I love Dublin – its canals, its proximity to other coastal towns, its diversity… the list goes on for ages. I think that the weirdest aspect (but also something I have come to enjoy) is how it is not a picturesque Irish city. It, of course, has areas that have the stereotypical Irish vibe, but Dublin is different from other Irish cities, like Galway. It’s perfect the way it is, and it allows me to better appreciate the times that I am able to explore outside the city center.

 

Has it lived up to your expectations so far?

When I moved to Dublin, I didn’t really have any expectations – I think that’s a primary factor to true happiness. That said, Dublin feels like home, and I think that is the best way to describe how comfortable and welcoming it is to live in this city.

 

Explain what kind of work you are doing?

Currently, I accept temporary jobs when I can get them, but most days I go to a cafe (or curl up on the couch in my pajamas) and work on graphic design and photography freelance work that U.S. clients have assigned me. While this style of work is not always reliable, it allows me to live and travel a bit more freely. Temporary positions are also incredibly flexible, and working with different Irish agencies has been a great addition to my freelance gigs.

 

Have you any advice to people who are considering a gap year?

My biggest advice to individuals who are considering a gap year is to be entirely open and take the time to get to know yourself. I started this gap year thinking that I knew myself quite well, but after taking multiple solo trips and spending many days alone, I have become even more independent and self-aware than I was previously. Being comfortable with yourself also makes traveling with others a lot easier, as it gives you the independence to go off on your own if what you want to do doesn’t align with the group mentality. Traveling with friends is an incredibly fun experience, but having an understanding of your own mind makes everyone happier – trust me 🙂

 

Ayla is currently exploring Ireland and Europe whilst freelancing. We highly recommend following Ayla’s gap year journey on Instagram (@aylagraney), her pictures will give you all the wanderlust feels!

Anis-Blog Main Pic

Irish Adventures: A Cultural Insight

Hi, my name is Anis Raihana. I’m from Malaysia. In January 2017 I became a Stinter and started an internship within the area of chemical engineering in Dublin. This blog outlines the cultural differences between my home country and Ireland. Whilst I also talk about how unique Ireland truly is. I hope you enjoy!

Moving to Ireland for an 11-week internship experience with lots of adventures around the island was the best decision I have ever made, despite feeling heavy hearted to leave my loved ones behind. I had tons of fun and gained heaps of knowledge. I knew I did not regret taking such a big decision almost a year ago when I rejected a local internship offer. Of course, this involved a rollercoaster of emotions and patience but most importantly, I had the opportunity to observe and learn about a new culture.

Due to the fact that it has a long history on monastery sites during the golden age, Ireland is known as the ‘land of saints and scholars.’ The Irish culture is unique in its own way.

 (Some of the Stinters I met) 

Irish Adventures: A Cultural Insight

 

The Irish Humor!

One of the first things I realized about the difference between Malaysian and Irish culture is wittiness and humor. Malaysians typically joke around with their closed ones, unlike Irish people who can joke around with strangers without anyone feeling offended. One day, I was buying a card from Spar at the place where I worked at, the cashier played around with me by not letting me take out my bank notes from my purse. I did not realize it was a joke until I looked at him and he was giggling. My top employer too, teased me when he thought I sailed from Indonesia instead of Malaysia.

Next, Irish or Dubliners, in general, prefer to take public transport rather than driving unless they live far from the city center. On the other hand, Malaysians prefer driving our own cars with public transport being the second option, regardless where we live.

(Walking means you can explore castles!!)

Irish Adventures: A Cultural Insight

Phrases

Malaysians would say ‘okay’ or ‘alright’ after they understand a topic, or ‘Everything will be alright,’ Irish would say ‘grand’ or ‘Everything will be grand.’

Malaysians address customers as ‘sir’ or ‘madam’, Irish addresses their customers as ‘love’ or ‘darling.’

In addition, Irish people are full of praises. Even when it is a small achievement, they would say, ‘Excellent!’ ‘Brilliant work!’ ‘Perfect!’ Unlike Malaysians, we only praise one another when it is a big achievement.

Malaysians say ‘thank you’ or ‘terima kasih’ in Bahasa – a lot but not ‘sorry’ and ‘please’ which are being said for almost everything and all the time in the Emerald Isle.

Your Health is Your Wealth in Ireland

In Malaysia, we work like there is no tomorrow or in other words, ‘work comes first before health’. In Ireland, it is the other way round, ‘health comes first before work.’ Even if it means you have a very light fever, you’ll be sent home immediately.

(Howth is a lovely place to unwind- plenty of fresh air!)

Irish Adventures: A Cultural Insight

Food and Social Time

Rice is our staple food in Malaysia whereas potatoes are the staple food of Irish. Hence, why you’ll be able to buy 1 kilogram of potatoes at €1.

Malaysians love spending weekends at shopping malls ( an exceptional case for myself :D) and our shopping malls close at 10pm every day. On top of that, one can also easily spot a person with sunglasses even at the malls! Shopping streets or malls in Ireland generally close between 6pm to 7pm and even though the Sun is shining brightly, it is pretty rare to spot someone with sunglasses.

Random Fact: There are only 11 toll roads or motorways in Ireland. In Malaysia, there are 33 highways or expressways with toll points. Even so, our government is planning for more toll roads!

Unique to Ireland

You can hear Irish music almost everywhere you go including souvenir shops and on tour coaches, whereas Malaysian music is only being played at certain places or occasions like museums, temples or during weddings and local concerts.

(The amazing Cliffs of Moher)

Irish Adventures: A Cultural Insight

 

At home, we love our beautiful sandy beaches, Petronas Twin Towers, and Mount Kinabalu. While the Irish love their green scenery, sheep, and Cliffs of Moher. We have 7Eleven and Mydin all over the country while there are Subway and Spar everywhere in Ireland. Pubs are the norms and hang out spots in Ireland while Indian restaurants or what we called as ‘Mamak’ are our normal hang out spots in Malaysia.

In terms of time keeping, both Malaysians and Irish are somewhat very relaxed about it. For example, when someone arranges a meeting to commence at 8am, this normally mean 8:15am or even an hour later for Malaysians.

Ireland: A Truly Amazing Experience

All in all, my time in Ireland was craic! I wouldn’t want to trade the experience with anything else. I have definitely missed hearing people say ‘grand’ at all times, on top of striking a conversation with strangers on the streets. If I were given a chance to return to Ireland for either a holiday or even a job offer, without any doubt I’d say YES.

Anis became a Stinter in January 2017 and really embraced her time in Ireland. Anis has many talents and being awesome is just one of them! You can catch more of her writings via her personal blog. Stint Ireland would like to thank Anis for her blog contribution. We look forward to her coming back to visit us in the near future. 

A Gap Year: How Affordable is it?

The single biggest worry for many when deciding whether to a do a gap year or not: money.
Firstly, let’s clear something up right now, yes you need money to do a gap year but you don’t need to have a whole heap of it. This blog covers some simple tips that show how affordable a gap year can be. It’s just a matter of getting clever. Managing Director of Stint Ireland, Aoife Bradley offers some pretty great advice on how to make your gap year affordable.

Plan Well

When choosing to do a gap year consider a variety of countries and programs. Yes going through a program might add to costs but the benefits are significant. Many programs offer visa application tips, legalities support, and accommodation advice as well as instant access to a community and arrange social events: which are vital when settling in a new country. If traveling is a huge priority for your gap year, you might consider a city in which it is affordable to fly in/out of. For example, Dublin is the gateway to Europe (whilst also being the closest city to the US and Canada). The airport is a mere twenty minutes from the city whilst airlines such as Ryanair provide low-cost flights to a variety of destinations across Europe. Aoife Bradley, Stint Ireland Managing Director offered some great advice on planning:

 

 “Give yourself at least four to five months to plan your gap year, that way nothing is rushed. You are affording yourself the time to build up cash, whilst giving yourself the opportunity to spread the costs of your visa and program fee too”

 

Get Paid

The initial cost of a gap year can be worrying. Fear not as the beauty of a gap year is that you can combine work and awesome adventures. Whether it’s to fund your travels or recoup costs, the ability to get a job makes things a whole lot easier. Aoife suggests the following, “make sure you research: apply for jobs before you arrive. Have an up to date resume ready. Become familiar with the legalities of working conditions within the country i.e. minimum pay and average working hours”. If you fancy trying your hand at being a digital nomad, you can also find freelance work via sites like UpWork: types of work involve photography, content creation, blogging, vlogging, graphic design and even coding.

 

Gap Year How Affordable Is It

Scholarships & Funding

Yes, you read that right, there are various scholarships and grants available to help fund your gap year. Head over to the American Gap Year Association website for more information on financial aid. More and more universities are recognizing the importance of a gap year and offer financial aid to students. Therefore it is always worth contacting the relevant department within your college. Or why not get creative- set up a GoFundMe page. Ask your peers and family to help fund your adventure. Aoife tells us how previous Stint program participants have had successful GoFundMe pages: 

 

 “Stinters have blogged about their pre-arrival experiences and also throughout their time in Ireland by linking blogs to their GoFundMe pages. We even had Stinters create short videos and pictures of Ireland and sell them via their blogs or personal websites”

The Bottom Line

Basically plan well, explore your financial aid options and remember that a gap year allows you to travel AND earn cash: win win. Money should not be a deciding factor when it comes to the opportunity of a lifetime and it doesn’t have to be!

 

Feel free to contact us via team@stintireland.com, we will be happy to provide any support or answer questions. Thanks for taking the time to read our blog, we hope you find it helpful.