Your Ireland To-Do List

By Lauren Ponsi

Photo credit: Photo by Madelon 🇫🇷

 

Your bags are packed, visa in hand and you’re off to start a new adventure in Ireland. Going to a new country can be a little bit scary and maybe even a little overwhelming. But, you’ve already made the biggest leap by taking a gap year.  Taking a gap year allows you to transition from tourist to local and after spending almost a year in Dublin, here are my tips and tricks to a year in Ireland

 

Dublin is an ever growing city with great diversity.  There is something always going on for everyone.

A big city with a small town feel

Dublin is an ever growing city with great diversity.  There is something always going on for everyone. Utilize social media to find out what’s happening within the city.  If you’re like me you want to find the Instagram worthy hot spots. I like to use the explore page on Instagram to find different places to go.  You can find great brunch spots, or those little coffee shops that wouldn’t pop up on your average tourist guides. Also, the events tab on Facebook is another great way to find what’s happening in Dublin.  This allows you to filter by where you’re living or even by your interests.

My favourite Instagram finds:

The Jar: Bottomless pizza on Sundays

Eat Yard: Food Truck like spot

Platform 61:  Insta worthy brunch

The Comedy Crunch: Free comedy show (with free ice cream) at the Stags Head

The George:  Amazing Drag shows

 

 

Photo credit: Adam Markon

‘Round the Island

With the whole country the same size of the state of Indiana, it’s not hard to get out of Dublin for a day.  Ireland is made of 26 counties and 6 counties part of Northern Ireland. Each county is unique to one another and you’ll find that such a small country is full of so much culture.  There are tons of day tours that will take you to the popular hotspots around the country. But, the public transportation around Ireland is also really simple to use. You can get to most places by bus or rail and sometimes just getting out of the hustle and bustle of the city is relaxing.

My Favourites:

Cork & Blarney Castle: Get the gift of gab and make sure to pick up some fresh finds at the English Market in Cork

Galway & The Cliffs: Travel along the Wild Atlantic way and see the breathtaking views of the west coast of Ireland

Belfast & Northern Ireland: layered with troubled past and Irish folklore. And fun for you fans of Game of Throne fans.

 

Photo credit: Cathal Mac an Bheatha

A Hop, jump and skip Away

Centrally located, Ireland makes traveling mainland Europe super convenient. Dublin is the home to budget airline RyanAir which you will have a love-hate relationship by the end of your gap year.  Utilize RyanAir’s frequent sales to travel on the weekends. With most destinations being no more than an hour to two away you can find yourself wandering the streets of a new city on a Saturday and be back in Dublin by Sunday afternoon.  At the beginning of your gap year create a list of all of your dream countries and cities to see, then list out your bank holidays (three day weekends). Bank Holidays are the perfect weekends to schedule that weekender away. I personally like to use flight and travel apps on my phone to set alerts on certain flights for bank holiday weekends.

My Favourites:

Skyscanner: Finds the cheapest flights available and allows price alerts

Hopper: Predicts the best time to book flights

EuropeWSA: plans guided and unguided weekend tours (great if you’re lazy at planning like me)

Now, this is only a peek into what to do on a gap year. Ultimately, the year is what you make it and the possibilities are endless.  Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try something you possibly never imagined. Transform from being that lost tourist to that knowledgeable local.  

Stinter Chats

We recently caught up with medical intern Téa Sue and asked her to tell us about her experience abroad. Téa interned at the pediatric hospital in Dublin. Outside of her internship, it seemed Téa had an awesome time traveling Ireland, making friends and exploring the city. So with further adieu, over to Téa…

Explain your internship in a nutshell

My internship was honestly unlike anything I had ever expected. I was excited but as the date got closer I got anxious and started to second guess my decision to go away. However, being and Ireland with the people I was with and getting to go to work everyday was amazing. I worked at one of the paediatric hospitals and the amount of new things I was exposed to was surreal. Not only was I exposed to many new things, but I also got to work with professionals in the field I would love to work in. How welcoming, informative and kind they all were really focused me in more on what I would like to pursue in the future.

 

How welcoming, informative and kind they all were really focused me in more on what I would like to pursue in the future.

What have you learned from your internship?

Academically, I have expanded on all my previous knowledge, not only by going into more detail about various concepts but also by being able to really understand everything I had learned by applying it to real practice. Professionally, I was fortunate enough to see the day to day life of a doctor, their schedules and how much work goes into what they do. 
(Téa exploring Dublin with some fellow Stinters)

What has been your favorite aspects of Dublin

I loved living with the people in the house and exploring all over Dublin. The atmosphere was brilliant, I loved how it was always lively and how there was always somewhere to go. Everything was within walking distance especially the historic buildings. I loved how much it contrasted with the city I grew up in. It really showed me the diversity that exists from country to country.
(Friends for life- Téa and Clare biking in Galway)


What has Stint helped you with?

Stint was a great welcome and support system throughout. I am very thankful for the internship placement I got. It was something I always imagined but knew I wouldn’t be able to get at home.


Your advice to anyone considering an experience abroad?

My advice would be to just go for it. Everyone has apprehensions, everyone’s in the same position. But speaking from my experience and others I know who have been abroad, everyone loves it and marks it as one of those experiences that really directs their future. 

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.  

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!

Considering A Graduate Program?

Graduate school can seem a little intimidating. You’ve just spent the guts of FOUR long years doing your undergrad. The thoughts of more all-nighters, increased student loans, and a pretty competitive jobs market- boo!

What if there was an option that was lower in cost, took less time and came with some pretty sweet perks…sounds too good to be true?! Well, it’s not. Here’s why you should consider a graduate program in Ireland.

 

(photo credit: unsplash)

Timeframe…

Time is money and money is being able to get that guacamole on your burrito, win/win! You’ve spent at least FOUR years as an undergraduate, the thoughts of two, three or even four more years to gain a masters degree is killer right?! Fear not- most graduate programs in Ireland take one or two years maximum. Short and sweet!

 

Cost…

Program costs can vary depending on the course and university, average costs are between $10,000- $20,000 per year which is significantly lower than in the US (medical based graduate programs can be higher). Sidenote: you will also have the ability to earn some cash while you study, more on that next. 

 

(photo credit: unsplash)

Opportunities…

Employment

You will also have the ability to work while you study! Those on graduate programs are permitted to work 20hrs (part-time) per week during university terms and up to 40hrs (full-time) during the holidays. Graduates can also avail of an extension of up to 24 months after their program finishes. Currently, graduates with skills in STEM, Accountancy, and Law are in high demand. 

Resumè boost

Your resumè will get a big ol’ boost too. Graduate school alone looks good on your resume, but graduate school abroad looks even better. This shows employers you’ve super skills in areas such as maturity, working/learning in a diverse setting, and much more.

Language barriers

Embarking on a graduate program in Spain or Italy sounds A-MAZ-ING, until you realize that language can be a huge barrier. Let’s not beat around the bush here, settling into a new city and school can be stressful enough. As English is the spoken language in Ireland, you won’t have to worry about a language barrier…just make sure you know all about having the “craic” and a cuppa “tae”.

 

(photo credit: unsplash)

Experience…

Away from the classroom, the experience will be awesome! Live in a new city, immerse yourself into local culture, connect with people from all walks of life and take the opportunity to travel across Europe too. Weekend hop to places like London, Edinburgh, Barcelona, and Paris with cheap flights from Dublin airport.

 

Bet you still have a million thoughts and questions!

If you’re worried about financing your studies, check out this helpful how to get scholarships to study abroad blog.

There are programs that can help with the application, arriving and settling in process. The Stint Ireland Graduate Program which is in partnership with UCD, one of Europe’s top universities, offers a program packed will all the support you will need to help you get set up and settled into life in Dublin.

How to be a digital nomad

 

 

Here at Stint Ireland, we are always challenging ourselves and what we do. When we say that we provide tailored experiences, we mean it. We recently caught up with Stinter Caroline Burden. Caroline is working remotely for a startup in Washington D.C. whilst on a working holiday visa in Ireland. Although not a very traditional way of experiencing a gap year, it is a pretty cool way!

 

“But how?”- we hear you ask.

 

We’ve got a three-part series where Caroline discusses all things remote work and living in Ireland. 

Part One

In the part one Caroline covers how the merging of her working holiday and remote work came about.

 

Part Two

Part two Caroline tells us what an average day looks like and how connecting with the startup scene in Dublin has been beneficial.

 

Part Three

And lastly, in part three, Caroline provides us with her top three tips for combining a working holiday with remote work. 

 

 

Note: Currently Dublin is booming with startups, tech companies and much more. There is a huge need for graduates with skills and experience within computer science, web development, data analysis, web architecture, data mining, cyber security, SEO/digital marketing, mobile development and much more.

 

If you’re interested in hearing more about our working holiday program simply fill out our enquiry form

Fancy an early Christmas present?! Well…

We teamed up with Go Abroad to give one lucky person a working holiday experience of a lifetime! 

 

To give you a little insight into what your working holiday could look like, we caught up with Khaki Bowman, a gap year Stinter. Khaki tells us all about why she decided to take a working holiday (a.k.a gap year) to Ireland and much more. 

 

What Could I Win?

We want to give one lucky person the experience of a lifetime!

Grand prize:

  • Stint Ireland Gap Year Program
  • 365-day Medical & Travel Insurance provided by Volunteer Card
  • 8 weeks shared accommodation in Dublin
  • International flight stipend from StudentUniverse
  • Weekend trip in Europe from Andy Steves Travel

Am I Eligible?

If you are from Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan, and the USA, then you are eligible to enter our Gap Year Giveaway. As the conditions and eligibility criteria differ for each country, participants must double check the eligibility criteria for their specific nationality on the Department of Foreign Affairs website.

How Can I Enter?

Simply visit the Go Abroad Gap Year Giveaway competition page.

Team Stint would like to wish the very best of luck to all participants that enter!

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. 

I Regret Taking a Gap Year, Said No One Ever

Malia Obama made headlines recently when she announced she’ll be taking a gap year before attending college at Harvard University.

 

Almost every major news organization picked up on this development and had something to say about the “gap year.” What is it? Why should young people take one? Why shouldn’t they? Almost every angle was broached.

 

So, without further ado, here’s our two cents.

 

The gap year is often discussed in relation to students who have graduated high school, about to enter college. However, a gap year is an excellent option for any individual, no matter their age, who need to take time away from their life for various reasons, whether it’s to get some perspective, recover from career burnout, or simply to take the opportunity to travel.

 

In this article, we’ll address a specific gap year geared towards young individuals who’ve recently graduated from college or grad school: the working holiday.

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