Immigrating to Ireland on a Working Holiday Authorization: Everything You Need To Know

By Ella Killroy
Originally posted on Kilroy Calling

This past year, my final year of college, I found myself feeling stuck and totally unsure of what I wanted to do once I graduated. The idea of getting a corporate 9-5 job filled me with dread, as did the thought of going back to school immediately in order to get a masters. I knew what I needed (time and life experience) but wasn’t totally sure how to give myself those things in a way that still felt exciting and unique. In the back of my mind, I entertained the notion of going back to Ireland, as I studied abroad in Galway my junior year of college and fell in love with living in Ireland, Irish people and culture, and travelling. That time in my life inspired a lot of independence, growth and, most importantly, I felt very truly happy living in Ireland. However, I didn’t know how I would realistically be able to make that happen again. I was concerned about moving abroad if I didn’t want to be a student. How would I get a visa? What would I do for work? How would I find a place to live, friends, a social life? On my quest to give myself a solid plan for next year, I decided I would make the daydream of moving to work in Ireland a reality. I could figure it out. There had to be a way. After some research, I came across a visa that seemed like the answer to my prayers: The Working Holiday Authorization. This visa essentially allows young Americans who are either currently receiving a post-secondary education or recent graduates (up to 12 months) from a post-secondary program of study to live and work anywhere in Ireland for a full year. This visa was my ticket into Ireland, and a month and a half into my move, I can safely say this was the best possible decision I could’ve made for my post-grad plan. In this post, I’ll guide you through the steps of obtaining a Working Holiday Authorization, the process of moving to Ireland, and how to go about finding housing/work/and friends in a foreign country.

Phase One

For phase one of the application process, you need to submit:

  • The completed and signed WHA application, found on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website.
  • A photocopy of your passport.
  • Two identical passport sized photos with your name printed on the other side. I got these taken at a Walgreens. Most drug stores/camera supply stores can do this for you in just a few minutes.
  • Current resume with two references. These do not need to be full written references, just the contact information for two employers/academic mentors who could vouch for you if need be.
  • Evidence that you are currently in full-time post-secondary education, or have graduated within the 12 months prior to receipt of their application. This could be an official transcript or a diploma. I sent a transcript because I hadn’t graduated yet at the time of my application, and that worked fine. Just note you have to send an original copy in, you can’t just print off an online version of your transcript, which means you will have to go through your university and pay whatever they charge for printing an official transcript.
  • A bank statement showing you have access to at least $4,000.
  • The application fee in the form of a money order/cashier’s check made out to the relevant embassy. The price of the application varies depending on which embassy you are applying for, so make sure you consult the DFA website. I didn’t know what a money order or cashier’s check was prior to applying for this visa and was concerned it would be a difficult process to obtain, but it was actually very easy. Money orders are essentially just checks that are pre-paid, so that it is impossible that they could bounce back when the recipient goes to cash it in. To get one, I just went to a local grocery store and asked for a money order to be made out in the exact amount of the application fee, and paid with my debit card. You can get money orders at most grocery stores, drug stores, gas stations and post offices.

Once you have all of these documents, you can submit your application to your assigned embassy. You can either drop off the documents in person or mail them. I mailed mine since I didn’t live close to my embassy, and I made sure to use registered mail since I was sending important and expensive documents. When you register the envelope of documents you are sending, you pay a bit extra to insure it, but it is worth it to have the peace of mind, since it can only be dropped off at the destination when it is physically signed and in the hands of the recipient.

Now, you just have to wait. I read all over the internet about people waiting months to receive news from their embassy, but I heard back relatively quickly. I applied on March 8th, my birthday, and received an email on the 19th that I was approved to continue onto the second phase of the application process.

Phase Two

The second phase is when it starts to become very real and you have to make a solid plan of when and where you will arrive in Ireland. In this phase of the application process, you have to submit:

  • Round trip airline tickets in and out of Ireland within the year-long time span you are permitted to stay on a WHA. I knew I wanted to arrive in September and stay for the full year, but airlines do not plan that far ahead, so I wasn’t able to buy tickets out of Ireland and back to the States in September 2020. Instead I bought flexible fare round trip tickets returning to the States in February 2020 that I can change to a later date as the year goes on.
  • Certificate of medical/travel insurance valid for the duration of your trip. This can easily be obtained online and there are a lot of companies you can purchase travel insurance through pretty cheaply. I ended up going with the Volunteer Card Travel Insurance plan.
  • Your original passport. Yes, your actual, physical, passport. This is why it is so important to register your mail when you send these documents to the embassy!

Once you mail those three documents to the original embassy, you have to wait awhile for it to be processed and approved. Eventually, you will get an email from FedEx that gives you an expected delivery date of a package addressed to you coming from the embassy, which you can safely assume will contain your documents and your WHA. Make sure you are home on the day of the scheduled delivery because you will have to sign for it. When the package arrives, it will contain all the documents you originally submitted, including your passport, and your brand-new official Working Holiday Authorization, your ticket into Ireland for the year.

Once you receive everything, it is essential to put it all in a designated folder or binder that you will take with you once you go. You’ll need to present your WHA and likely a few of the other documents you submitted with the application at passport control once you land in Ireland and at your INIS immigration appointment.

Registering With The INIS and Getting a PPS Number

Before you start worrying about housing, jobs, friends, and everything else, it is important to know that even though you have the visa, you will still have to register with the Irish Nationalization and Immigration Services once you arrive. You have 90 days to do this, but I would recommend doing it as soon as possible once you land, because you can’t start looking for work until you’re registered.

It is extremely difficult to get an appointment (at least at the Dublin office) so be very proactive and start looking for appointments months in advance. Prioritize getting this appointment over and above any of the other little things that will undoubtedly be nagging you. At this appointment, you will have to present your WHA, various documents, get your fingerprints taken and pay an immigration fee of €300. A few days after your appointment, your registration card will arrive in the mail of wherever you happen to be living and you can officially begin looking for work.

Another essential appointment you’ll need to make in order to be paid once you begin working is for a PPS (Personal Public Service) number. A PPS number is how the government identifies you when determining what taxes/benefits you may be eligible for, and is necessary to be paid for your work and to set up a bank account. However, before you can make this appointment you should already have a job offer, as you have to prove at the offices that you actually do have a need for one. The appointments for PPS numbers are also impacted and must be made about a month in advance. Once you arrive at the office you need to have proof of need for a PPS number (in the form of a letter from your employer), proof of Identity (passport) and proof of address (this can also come in a letter from your employer).

It is a confusing and frustrating process (you need a registration card in order to find work, you need to have a job in order to get PPS number, but you need to have a PPS number in order to be paid), so make sure you are aware that the money you’re earning probably won’t hit your bank account for at least a month after your move, even if you do land a job right away. I’d suggest coming prepared, with enough money to last you at least a month or two, so that you aren’t completely panicked if you find yourself a bit stuck in the cycle of appointment making. Once you receive your PPS number in the mail, you can officially start receiving payments from your employer.

© Ella Kilroy

Everything Else

Now that we have the logistical, immigration information out of the way, I can move on to the lifestyle factors: how to find a place to live, work, make friends, and all the other things you need to successfully build a life for yourself abroad.

My number one tip when it comes to giving yourself the best opportunity to successfully acclimate to life in Ireland is to sign up for a program that facilitates your move and provides you with initial housing. I went with Stint Ireland’s Gap Year program and I am so glad that I did, as it made the entire process of getting comfortable in Dublin so much easier. Once you pay the program fee (which yes, is pricey), you get the guidance and support of people whose job it is to help you if you have any issues with registering and getting set up in Ireland, eight weeks paid rent in top-notch houses in some of Dublin’s best neighborhoods, and most importantly, a network of people going through the exact same thing as you. Immediately having a group of friends my age who were also trying to navigate a big move abroad was such a luxury and allowed me to feel like I had a community and people to do stuff with right away. Stint also hosts social events for program participants across Dublin a few times a month, including movie nights, pub crawls, and holiday celebrations (“Stintsgiving” is coming up, for example) which are always fun and a good way to check out new spots around the city. I don’t think it is entirely necessary to go through a program if you want to move to Ireland on a WHA, and you could save a lot of money if you choose to come and find housing yourself, but I think the social benefits and the knowledge that you have on-the-ground support truly make paying the cost of the program worth it, especially if you’re not an extremely outgoing person. I would suggest using a program like this as a jumping off point: a way to get situated and comfortable living in Dublin before you move to a more permanent living situation (which I have yet to do!).

Finding a job was pretty difficult for me and took a few weeks of applying literally everywhere I possibly could, but I was persistent and determined and eventually got hired as a front-of-house employee for a café in my neighborhood. Being an American on a WHA is a turn-off for employers, because they know at an absolute maximum you’ll be with them for only a year, so I wouldn’t expect to land your dream job. I knew I’d likely be working in the service industry during my time in Ireland, and my only real requirements in looking for a place I wanted to work was that it was close to where I lived, had a good vibe, and stayed busy enough.

I applied for positions on both job board websites and by directly reaching out to cafes and restaurants that I liked via email and Facebook messenger, and I eventually got hired through the direct approach. I think that method worked better for me than applying via a job site board because everyone who posts a listing on those websites must get hundreds of applicants, and your resume could easily get overlooked. Directly reaching out to places that you genuinely like, even if they aren’t necessarily advertising that they are hiring, is a good way of going about it, because you stand out as a tenacious go-getter, not just another random resume. In the interim period when you are looking for steady employment, it’s a good idea to register with a recruiting agency and do a few temp jobs just to earn some money and get used to working life in Ireland. I went with this agency, and although I found the work to be pretty boring and monotonous, it was a good way to get started until I landed something more permanent. I know some people are able to do temp work throughout their entire year on a WHA, but it’s more risky because you simply don’t know when, where, how, or what types of jobs might be available at any given time. In any case, the key to finding a job in Ireland is the same as it is anywhere: a combination of persistence and luck.

And there you have it, everything that I think is absolutely essential to know when embarking on a WHA in Ireland. My guide is quite Dublin-specific, as that’s where I decided to live, but still applicable regardless of where you settle in. Of course, I’m only a few months into my time here, so as I go along and experience more I’ll be sure to write updates, but these tips are very comprehensive for the application process and initial move. I know it seems like a daunting process and a lot of work, but if you are thinking about moving abroad post-grad, I would absolutely encourage you to go for it. When you plan ahead and take it all a day at a time, it is completely manageable, and fun creating a life for yourself from scratch.

How to Save Money to Travel Abroad

By Lauren Mhyra
Photo by Doran Erickson on Unsplash

As young students, and even young adults, finances can be a difficult subject to touch on. Like many millennials, living the broke college life has become a character trait. Many have the perception that studying abroad and traveling as a student is near impossible. I, like many others, just saw the lump sum cost of the study abroad program and knew my financial aid wouldn’t cover it. I then completely tossed the idea out of the window. However, I am here to tell you to throw the phase “I can’t afford this so I can’t do it” in the trash because unless you’ve exhausted every single resource, there is ways to afford it.

I’m frequently asked how I afford to travel so often, or told that I’m so lucky I can afford the things that I do. I admit, if you look at my instagram I come off a tad bit boujee but behind the scenes I am far from that. I live paycheck to paycheck like many of my millennial peers, I just sacrifice other aspects of my life to see the world. Here are my tips and tricks for anyone who wants to do the same and ballon a budget.

Plan in Advance

That large lump sum fee is very intimidating at first glance but if you break it down into smaller payments then it’s not as scary. If you plan a trip in advance you can pay for a little bit each month. Also, utilize inclusive group travel companies that don’t require payment up front and have interest free payments. My favorite is EF Ultimate break because all they require is $150 deposit and they break it into interest free payments. I planned my Oktoberfest trip through them in advance and made small monthly payments while they did all of the planning.

Photo by: Chris Lawton

Separate Savings Account

Invest in a separate savings that is not linked to your everyday checking account. This way you can set up a standing order of how much you planned to set aside each month and it’s not tempting to just transfer the money. I have my employer take a certain percentage of my paycheck and deposit it into my savings and the rest of is directly deposited into my checking. That way the money I planned to save is already out of sight and out of mind by the time it hits my account.

Photo by: Yeray Sánchez

Skip the Extras

You might not realize but that morning coffee or lunch out really adds up. A huge part of my savings come from cutting those extra costs out. A $5 coffee five days a week is $100 dollars a month.  I see lunch out and coffee daily as luxury goods. I can get a weeks worth of lunches for the same price as one meal out. Being on a budget is going to mean making sacrifices. Eating a few boring peanut butter and jelly sandwiches definitely makes up for it when you’re able to enjoy pasta in Rome or paella in Spain.

Photo by: Erin Hesselink

Side Jobs

With the advancement of technology there is so many different ways to pick up a few extra bucks here and there. If you’re in school or already working full time the idea of adding extra hours to your already busy workload sounds exhausting. But there are easy things to do in order to make a few extra bucks. Teaching english online is one way to work from the comfort of your home, teaching pre-planned hourly lessons on your own schedule. There is also part-time jobs such as babysitting and ridesharing, the gig economy makes it doable on your own schedule.  When I was planning to do my internship with Stint I signed up to drive with Uber in order to start saving. It wasn’t the most glamorous job but I made good money and it allowed me to spend the summer interning in Ireland.

Travel Smarter Not Harder

When it comes to budget travel, it’s about what’s the cheapest not what’s the most comfortable. This means hostels with 20 people per room and that questionable budget airline. I don’t need a five star luxury hotel for a few hours to sleep at night or a first class ticket for a short hours journey. Also, several countries offer working holiday visas. A working holiday visa is a permit that allows you to live and work in a country to supplement your travels. The working holiday visa in Ireland was extremely easy to obtain, and finding work wasn’t difficult. Living in Ireland has established me a hub that makes linking up to other country super affordable. The working holiday visa has allowed me to see most of Europe at half the cost if I did it in one giant trip.

Going abroad doesn’t have to be so far out of reach. If you’re willing to put in the work then sacrifices will pay off with millions of memories around the world.  Get rid of the ‘I can’t afford this’ mindset and replace it with the ‘how can I make this work’ attitude and your possibilities are endless.

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.  

group working at a laptop

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.

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. 

A Gap Year: Parents Guide

You’re thinking about your child’s future- that’s normal. You basically want what is best for them both personally and career wise- understandable. The idea of a gap year worries you, and deciding whether you are going to give the “OK” is hard, parenting is hard- we get it.

 

As a parent, we know that you’re probably asking the practical questions. “Is it safe?”, “How will it impact my child’s future prospects?”. You’re probably even running the numbers in your head, the cost of flights, spending money, insurance, visa and who knows what else?!

 

Honestly, when your child talks about the prospect of a gap year, we totally understand your apprehension.

 

We are here to help, and we won’t shower you with sales pitches. This blog will simply cover the realities of what your child will face after graduation. Whilst we will provide some helpful answers to those practical questions.

 

A smack of reality….Yep, that’s what happens after graduation.

 

The world today is competitive, everyone is trying to get somewhere fast. More and more young people are securing degrees: competition can be fierce. As a result, many employers are now looking beyond undergrad degrees, focusing more on postgraduate qualifications and life experience. Most young people go from academics and extracurriculars to the hectic life of a full-time job (if they’re lucky!) and the millions of other things that make us official adults (i.e. taxes, bills, rent, debt, cooking meals, washing clothes).

 

Essentially, most young people go straight from a life of schooling to adulthood without any transition or practice. This is the reality for graduates today.

 

Psychologist Jeffrey Arnott suggests that early twenties is a transition stage between adolescence and adulthood called “emerging adulthood”. It’s within this period that many young people feel “in between”, at a time of instability.

 

The big challenge for parents is providing the right support through this stage. Providing the best advice, guidance, and time.

 

Seems a little bit overwhelming right?!

 

Knowing the options and understanding how best to help may seem a little difficult but don’t worry, we can offer some support.

 

In this guide, we will cover what a gap year can provide to your child.

Gap Year Parents Guide

A gap year provides many opportunities for developing new skills and adapting to the real world

It’s not all wanderlust-y backpacking and no alarm setting.

 

Adjusting to a new culture, new country, figure out legalities (i.e. finding work, getting paid, paying rent/bills, visa restrictions etc) and learning to live in a completely new society are definites when it comes to a gap year. These experiences provide skills such as initiative, reliance, problem-solving, cross-cultural communication and learning to adapt to change, to name but a few. These are not just valuable life skills but they completely boost any resume or interview conversation.

 

Living abroad stimulates personal growth

In college, we tend to spend a lot of time around the same type of people, do the same things and even take on the same traits and habits. And that’s ok, it’s all a part of growing up. A gap year provides a period of “figuring things out”. Exposure to new people, situations, and social norms stimulate various degrees of growth and empathy. Whether it’s figuring out life’s true calling, finding a career path or simply maturing- a gap year facilitates it.

 

Gap Year Parents Guide

Absence makes the heart grow fonder (and helps provide perspective!)

It’s perfectly normal to feel like the grass is greener on the other side (and maybe it is!). But there is nothing like a little distance to make you really appreciate what you have at home.

 

The distinct desire toward big city life, rolling green hills, and pure adventure will always push most young people to look beyond their current situation. An experience abroad will trigger maturing, perspective and gratitude. It’s easy to fall into the habit of mom doing our laundry, dad being the on-call taxi driver or even just having easy access to all our favorite foods: traveling will give you a real appreciation for these kinds of things.

 

Right, that all sounds very good but you still have some questions.

 

Is it safe?

Dublin is a relatively safe city and Ireland sits high for safety on a global scale, ranking 12th (see this IEP report from 2016).

 

We understand that traveling alone comes with its risks but taking a gap year through a reputable program is a safe and secure option. For example, with Stint Ireland, we invest in accommodation that is located in safe areas (no hostels!). We are contactable 24/7 in the event your child needs us. We provide everything from an airport pick-up, meet and greet, orientation to ongoing personal support. Whilst all our program participants are provided with insurance before arrival to Dublin. Basically, your child’s safety is our main priority.

 

Maybe you’re wondering about terrorism- well, we have had no terrorist threats here in Ireland in recent years.

 

How could I support my child?

Navigating adolescence alone is tough, coming out of college and facing many big decisions can be even tougher. The best form of support is non-judgemental and unconditional. Your child will respect when you have listened and engaged in this manner.

 

We suggest being a guider- let them come up with their own decisions through guidance. Making sure they have covered all angles: safety, finance, planned traveling routes etc. Have conversations about these kinds of topics, avoid quizzing or questioning. 

 

Throughout their gap year, they will have ups and downs, be their support. Remember this experience is practice for real-life. Encourage them to meet new experiences head on, to make new friends and fully embrace their time abroad.

 

When the time comes to go home, help to prepare them. Believe us, a gap year will change your child. They will have become a little more independent, mature and individual- respect that. Give them the time and space to process their experience. Converse with them, they will appreciate your interest and support.

 

Money- the finances?

A huge defining aspect of an experience abroad. The initial costs can seem expensive: visa, insurance, flight, and going through a reputable company can add to the cost, but with that comes a huge level of support and help. Some gap year programs such as the one Stint Ireland provides cover housing and insurance within the program fee- so there are no hidden costs.

 

Remember, your child can also obtain a job with their visa (working holiday visa), so once they touch down and get settled, it is just a matter of finding a job and going through the legalities i.e. obtaining a social security number and bank account. Again, via a reputable gap year program, your child will have all the support they need to find a job and get set up.

 

Have more questions?

 

Cool, questions are good. Feel free to contact us at team@stintireland.com. We would love to chat.

 

For more information on Stint Ireland’s Gap Program please visit www.stintireland.com

 

A Gap Year: The Pros and Cons

To gap year or not?! One hell of a question, right.

 

To embark on a year of adventure and exploration or get ahead of your peers by entering a career path or go back to school. At some point the latter will happen, it goes without saying, but is taking time out before getting back to business really worth it? (Sidenote: gap year opportunities have expiry dates…just so you know!)

 

You may still be unsure about the idea of a gap year or you may even be at the stage where you’re 100% sure you want to do a gap year. Either way, understanding the pros and cons will help to clarify the realities, pros, and cons (hint: this can come in helpful when you’re discussing your plan with mom and dad too!).

 

Understanding the potential impact of a gap year on your life is highly important, so here goes…

Pro: Adds to your resume

A gap year can provide so many skills that any employer will be impressed with. The ability to work in a diverse environment, step outside your comfort zone, maturity, and ability to communicate cross-culturally to name but a few skills. What about all those great working abroad and travel stories you can tell during your interview too? A lot more interesting that discussing how you used your initiative to clean up a spilled milkshake on aisle four.

Con: You are away from life at home (…for a long time!)

Uhhhh toughie and there’s no doubt about it, being away from family, friends and the familiar ain’t easy. But we suggest asking this question: what will you lose from doing a gap year? Also, consider the gains too: travel, learning, growth, and experience. Facebook, Skype, and Instagram have made it very easy to stay in touch with home, so you are always only a call or message away.

 

Oh and remember you don’t have to literally work and travel for a whole year: it is very common for many to work and travel for six or eight months as opposed to the full year. The working holiday visa to Ireland simply permits you to stay a maximum of 365 days.

 

The Pros & Cons

Pro: Lots of experience

You will collect some amount of experiences and stories- we suggest taking a big diary! These stories/experiences are always great for your blogs, social media postings, they even come in handy when you get back to real life and are talking with a prospective employer.

 

Con: Could be Risky

What is life without risk eh?! But you know what…deciding to take the leap is harder than actually taking the leap. We haven’t met anyone who has regretted taking a gap year: even those who decided to go home before their visa was up. Everyone gets something out of the experience: new skills, overcoming a fear or even learning to navigate through a new country.   

A Gap Year: The Pros and Cons

Pro: New Friends

Especially when you gap year through a program you will meet lots of new people. You get to meet people from all walks of life, develop new lifelong friendships and even gain travel buddies!

Con: Homesickness

Yep, it happens. Homesickness can strike at any time, be it, missing a family member’s birthday, around holidays or just on a lazy Sunday afternoon. A lot of time it gets you wondering if you made the right choice but the nice thing about a gap year is traveling provides a distraction. The best way to combat homesickness: recognize it, allow it to happen and push through!

A Gap Year: The Pros and Cons

Pro: It’s a year to learn about you

Whether you start a gap year knowing the path you want to take or not, you really do learn a lot about yourself. Every experience, good or bad, throughout a gap year provides you with the opportunity to reflect. Many people use a gap year to find their calling or path.

 

Con: It’s an escape from “real life”

Unfortunately, Elon Musk has not yet offered any intergalactic gap year opportunities, so we hate to say that taking a gap year does not involve the exiting of “real life”. In actual fact, life becomes more real. A gap year exposes you to a variety of cultures and societies that you would not have seen otherwise. And believe us, moving to a new country, learning to live in a new place whilst having to adapt is hugely beneficial. The only real escape is from the day to day routine and comfort of home, and yes this can sometimes be difficult. 

A Gap Year: The Pros and Cons

Pro: It’s a break from education

Up until the point of taking a gap year, you will have spent a lot of time studying, taking tests and stressing about your GPA. Loss of motivation and focus can hit hard whilst it’s easy to start taking education for granted. Taking a gap year can re-energise you, let you have some time off, help to regain that focus whilst also providing an opportunity to figure out your true path.

Con: You’re no longer a student

Nooooo, there goes access to the food hall and not having to roll out of bed until after midday. Honestly, it does have its benefits. A gap year is more of a transition period, it eases you into real adult life whilst affording you the opportunity to adventure before you enter that new job or grad school.

 

So, there you have it, some pros and cons to a gap year. We hope this can help in making your decision a little bit easier, or help prepare you to chat with your parents. If you have any potential worries or questions, we would be glad to discuss them with you. Just drop us an email at team@stintireland.com. Thanks for reading out blog! 

The Parent’s Guide to Internships Abroad

You’re worried about your child’s future.

 

Of course you are. That’s why you’re reading this. That’s why you’ve invested so much in them. You wish you could just transfer your lifetime’s worth of hard-earned wisdom to them, perhaps even helping them avoid the mistakes you might’ve made, or the regrets you might have.

 

You want the best for their future. And, sometimes you feel powerless to do anything.

 

And, that’s OK.

 

Parenting is HARD. It’s quite possibly one of the most difficult things you could ever take on. Things like fidgeting with Excel spreadsheets, filing your taxes, or mowing the lawn are a walk in the park compared to raising a child. And, you know what? You did the best you could!

 

We have the utmost respect for parents, and we sincerely believe you deserve a round of applause. (And, vouchers for your favorite spa & massage treatment.)

 

So, we totally understand your apprehension when your kid comes to you with a desire to “study abroad.” (Or, in this case, “intern abroad.”)

 

That’s a bit indulgent and opulent, no? Isn’t it a waste of time? An extended holiday? Is it even safe?

 

We have answers to all of these questions. But first, let’s look at the challenges your kid will face after graduation.

 

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How To Fund Your Experience Abroad: Scholarships

Scholarships and resources listed in the article:

Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program 

Foundation for Global Scholars’ GRIT Program 

Go Overseas Study & Intern Scholarship 

IIEPassport Study Abroad Funding 

InternationalScholarships.com 

SoftOrbits Scholarship 2019

 

Note: The term “study abroad” includes a variety of international experiences including studying, interning, and volunteering abroad.

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