Tips & Bits In A New City

Photo credit: Daryan Shamkhali

By Lauren Mhyra

 

So you’ve taken the leap to head abroad, new country, new city, fresh start! It’s exciting but can be nerve-racking to head somewhere with a clean slate.  Much like heading off to college for the first time there are those things you wish you knew from the start. So, here are my tips and bits for starting life in a new city.

Don’t expect things

My biggest recommendation is to not set expectations for yourself. You probably have done countless hours of research and scrolled through hundreds of Instagram pages and have a must-do-list. If you block out every minute of your stay you’re likely to miss out on the hidden gems you had no clue about. You’re going to be integrated with others in a similar situation as you as well as locals so you’re going to get tons of suggestions that weren’t necessarily on the ‘Top 10 must do in Dublin’ list.  Go with the flow, try out suggestions from colleagues and talk to your housemates about their interests.

 

My rule of thumb is if I can get it at home, I tend to pass on it.

 

Additionally, mentioning expectations, completely forgo any notions about home. Dublin is a modern and diverse city. There’s going to be tons of the same things that you can find back home. But you will come to find out that your regular order from Starbucks doesn’t exist here. You’ll be in a for a BIG let down if you are constantly comparing things from back home. My rule of thumb is if I can get it at home, I tend to pass on it.

 

Get the touristy bits out of the way first

Photo credit: Trevor Cole

 

The first few days you’ll likely have some free time. Do those big-ticket tourist items first to check them off so when people ask, you can say you’ve done it.  If you make friends with locals, they are likely not going to want to do the leprechaun museum with you. This also opens up your schedule to do other things when you begin to meet people. This is also a great way to learn your new city’s history and culture so you’re well immersed when you make friends with locals. When people are talking certain historical events, you’ll understand and you can point out an awful Guinness pour.

 

Learn the public transit system

Photo credit: Nico Baum

 

Learning to use the public transportation system is going to save you so much time and make your life easier when it’s down pouring rain. I was intimidated by the bus and afraid that I would look ‘stupid’ not knowing what to do. For 6 weeks I walked everywhere and if I couldn’t walk I said forget it.  I could have slept in a little more in the mornings and think about all of the things I was missing out because it was ‘too far’. Don’t let this happen to you, it might take a try or two to get it right but after a few rides, you’ll be able to do it in your sleep.

 

It’s okay to do things alone

Photo credit: Milan Popovic

You’ve already taken the leap to move to a country on your own. Don’t be afraid to go do the things you want to do regardless of if there’s someone to do it with. There are many ways to find events happening within Dublin, utilize them! Going off on your own allows you to step out of your comfort zone. You’re not shielded by the comfort of familiarity.

 

The best stories are found in the pages of a passport!

 

Travel Travel Travel

Photo credit: Paolo Nicolello

You’re living in a country that is accessible to so many wonderful places. You could have stayed home and watched Netflix in bed for free, why come do it in a foreign country? Whether you take a bus to the next town over or you splurge on that €50 Ryanair flight, just go somewhere. I like to head somewhere new at least once a month. The best stories are found in the pages of a passport!

 

If travel planning on your own feels overwhelming, you could always consider traveling through a program. At Stint Ireland, we provide experiences for those wishing to intern abroad, take a gap year or a combined experience. Our enquiry form is non-committal and we aim to ensure you are supplied with all the right information that you will need to make that travel dream a reality.  

An Internship Abroad

Blog by Lauren Mhyra (Photo Credit: Štefan Štefančík)

 

So you’re thinking of doing an Internship Abroad, whether it is a program requirement or you need a valid excuse to live your European dream while padding out that resume. An Internship abroad comes with so many more great benefits than just ticking off a requirement or some skill on a resume.

 

Here’s what they don’t tell you about interning abroad.

 

Photo credit: Kevin Lee

It’s going to be challenging

An internship is essentially a peek into what working full time in your respective field is like. So you’re going to be doing things you may have never done before, be ready to take whatever comes at you and don’t be afraid to ask questions.  The company knows you’re coming in with minimal skills and experience they’re not going to expect you to do brain surgery on the first day. But they also know you’re there to learn so expect to do things you might know how to do. No question is stupid, and you’re supervisors are going to understand if you don’t quite know how to do something. When in doubt, ask about it!

 

Ultimately this is your internship, make the most out of it.

 

Stint Ireland does an amazing job of placing you into an internship where they see you thriving the most. They take into account what your major is, what careers you’re thinking about and create a placement that works for you. Use this to your advantage, because, learning about an international company and forming relationships is just as important as the tasks you perform. Ultimately this is your internship, make the most out of it.

 

Photo credit: Aaron Kato

 

Adjusting to Cultural differences  

Many people say going to another country, you’re going to experience a culture shock. This is absolutely true, but they don’t say what aspects. When you intern abroad you’re going to live and socialize with people from all over. People are going to cook different food and have different habits than you’re not used to. But when you start your internship, you are going to be the different one, your colleagues are going to ask questions about your culture and the things you do. You’re going to notice your idiosyncracies more when you’re the so-called foreigner. Your colleagues might think something you say or do is funny but don’t take it personally, it’s new them too! (My Irish housemates laugh every time I say ‘awwh man’ after a small problem and I never realized I did that myself).

 

Accept the difference and you’ll come to find out that learning these things is an added bonus to the job title on a resume.

 

The work culture is probably going to be the biggest thing to adjust to, though I think this is the best way to assimilate to Irish culture. You’re going to find yourself learning the everyday differences in life. Like, how in Ireland trash cans are called bins, taking several tea breaks is acceptable and even going for an after-work pint with your boss is normal. Accept the difference and you’ll come to find out that learning these things is an added bonus to the job title on a resume.

 

Photo credit: Annie Spratt

 

Real life experiences

 

When you go back home and eventually have to explain what skills and experience you gained from your internship, you’ll, of course, share the work you did daily but there is so much more to the daily work. You could have easily learned to write that press release at the PR firm in your hometown, but along with this skill you put that you learned the brand of an international organization all while adjusting to life in a foreign country. When spending two to three months working in a foreign country, you’re going to gain personal skills you never even thought you needed.  From from living with unfamiliar people to navigating public transportation, you can share how all of the skills you gained from such tasks.

 

An internship abroad offers an opportunity for both personal and professional growth. Your boundaries are going to be tested and challenged in a 24 hours a day 7 days a week setting while you are abroad. You will develop a load of soft skills such as networking and communicating that will be beneficial in and out of the workplace that you might not get in an internship in your hometown. All while experiencing the greatness and beauty of Ireland.

 

Don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our team to hear more about Interning Abroad in Dublin.

The Gap Year Balance

Blog by Lauren Ponsi (picture credit: JESHOOTS.COM)

 

The working holiday visa comes with immense benefits compared to regular travel. You get 365 days of living AND working in Ireland all while having fun, making memories diving into Irish culture.  In order to survive your working holiday, you have to find that that work-play balance that is ideal to you.

 

Work balance

Most likely the first thing you’re going to do once you land in Ireland is start job hunting. Think about what your goals and budget are.  For me, I registered with a few employment agencies, started off with temporary job assignments. This put me at working 35-40 hours a week Monday through Friday. This fit my goals and budget because I made enough money to pay rent, travel every so often as well as go experience the Dublin social life.  I had weekends off to travel, go out for the occasional Tuesday night trad session and even enjoyed take away a few times a week. This is what worked for my lifestyle within reason, I was able to gain work experience whilst still having fun.

 

I was able to gain work experience whilst still having fun.

 

FYI: If you know you hate mornings and sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day will drive you crazy, then temp jobs won’t be your thing. Dublin is such a diverse city, there are all kinds of jobs you can apply for. You don’t want your gap year ruined because you’re at a job that is not on par with your expectations.

 

Photo credit:  Angela Compagnone

 

 

Ballin on a Budget

Along with your gap year expectations, comes the price tag. When you’re thinking about the lifestyle you enjoy and the goals you want to accomplish in the year think about how much things cost.  Create a budget for yourself, what are the things that you can’t live without, how much do you need to save for travel and what are those extras you can forgo. Plan out the trips you want to take in advance, this way you can pay a little at a time or put extra cash away each paycheck. Also, Ireland likes to give everyone a little 3 day weekend every now and then called bank holidays. Utilize these to your advantage because it’s a free paid day off in most Monday to Friday jobs.   

 

Budgets are a good habit to get into, and it helps you become aware of how you’re spending your money. If I want to do more traveling I will maybe limit my take away and cook more, or skip out on that Wednesday after work drinks event. And that is a great benefit to taking a gap year, you don’t necessarily have to be go-go-go all the time. It’s fine to take a weekend off to save a little extra for that beach trip next bank holiday weekend.

 

Photo credit: Jess Watters

 

 

Work Hard Play Harder

So we all aren’t going on a gap year to strictly work, of course,  we want to meet new people and jump right into the Irish culture. The Stint Gap Year Program is a great way to kick-start your year in Ireland.  Before you even land in the country you’re already being linked with people on the same path with their Facebook community. Here you get the chance to make friends and find those who are similar interests as you.  With Stint, you’re never alone and there will always be someone who would be interested in doing stuff with you.

 

Along with Stint, there are so many social applications such as MeetUp, GirlCrew and the Facebook Events section are a few of my favorites because it allows me to filter by interests. You can find weekly hiking groups or what events are going on that week in the community and even get involved with some locals.

 

Photo credit: Kinga Cichewicz

 

A working holiday gives you the freedom and flexibility to grow into a new culture. You create an everyday life in a new country and can find yourself amongst the locals. Find the balance the perfect balance of travel, work, and friends to create the best year ever. Interested in hearing more about The Gap Year Program? Fill out a super-short form and we will give you all the infomation you need. 

A Gap Year

(photo credit: Ian Schneider, Unsplash)

By Lauren Ponsi (Stint community manager)

 

College is coming to an end, the countdown to graduation is on (or in some cases passed!). Friends are accepting those big kid jobs or committing to graduate school. Neither of which seem to take your fancy.  The world is calling your name and you decide that a gap year is what you need.

 

Well, here are some things you should know:

 

Money (…& Work) 

Finance is the first thing that comes to mind when considering a gap year.

 

“How can I afford to spend a year traveling whilst living at the same time?” A working holiday visa is a great way to spend your gap year.

 

A working holiday visa is a residence permit allowing travellers to undertake employment while supplementing travel expenses. Take up a job in a bar, or cafe to make some extra cash. Employment agencies are also a great way to balance work and travel. They work with the schedule you want- say you work one month then take off the next month to travel. Having a stream of income makes financing a gap year less stressful and putting international work experience on your resume is a BIG bonus.

 

Solo travel

(photo credit: Steve Lewis, Unsplash)

Don’t be afraid to be alone

You will be starting fresh in a new city, and probably know no one there. This is the most intimidating idea of taking a gap year. Even for the most outgoing people, being in a foreign city and making friends can sound terrifying. But you’re already out of your comfort zone, what is the worst that can happen! Going off on your own is the best way to learn about a new city (and yourself). You’re not reliant on anyone else and you can do whatever you want to do. Sit at the cafe reading your favorite book, spend hours in the art museum or take that Irish step dancing class.  Just go for it!

 

don't be afraid

(photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez, Unsplash)

There will be ups and downs

You are probably daydreaming of that perfect hollywood-esque gap year where you meet Paolo and become an Italian pop sensation- come on, we’ve all been there! Being honest, things aren’t always going to go as planned. If you have a hard checklist of everything you want to get done, you’re going to be highly disappointed. Because with life ‘sh*t’ happens.

Enjoy the time that you have, the bumps in the road will pass and the ups will outweigh the downs.

You have to learn to go with the flow because when you miss your connecting flight and are stuck in the East Midlands (middle of England!) airport for 24 hours, there’s nothing having a meltdown will do to fix it, but it will make a great story later on.  Enjoy the time that you have, the bumps in the road will pass and the ups will outweigh the downs.

 

A gap year is ultimately what you make of it. Experiencing a new country, new city, and a new culture is terrifying yet exciting. The best part of it all is you get to experience all these from a locals perspective. You melt into everyday life just like someone who was born there.  You have your favorite Chinese food place not on the must-try tourist lists, you’ll know the bus routes like the back of your hand and even find yourself speaking the slang in everyday conversation. So what’s holding you back, just take the gap year!