We are proud to introduce Khaki Bowman, who is our Gap Chats #3 feature. Khaki is a fashion queen (or kween…whatever you prefer!), super blogger, and all round great Gap Year Stinter. Take it from here Khaki…
Tell us a little about why you chose to take a gap year?
I’m not sure exactly when it was that I caught the “travel bug”. It had to have been somewhere between my junior year of college and starting my job in the real world after graduation. I knew I wanted to move abroad for awhile I just wasn’t quite sure how I could or where to even start. I just began to research (a lot) and figure out what my possibilities were. The more I researched, the more I knew I had to make it happen. To me, it was a “now or never” kind of thing, and I wasn’t going to let the opportunity slip away.
…..And why Ireland?
Ireland had been at the top of my bucket list for awhile. I had a friend who had previously moved to Ireland on the Working Holiday Visa. She fully recommended it and gave me all the insight. I weighed out many pros and cons (against other European countries). Ireland just seemed like the perfect fit for me. Cheap and accessible travel, English speaking, GUINNESS, the greenery, safeness, the pubs, outdoor attractions, etc.
(Khaki around Ireland)
The weirdest thing about Dublin is….?
The slang. Irish folks say things like “good craic” or “what’s the craic,” meaning it was good fun, or what’s happening. “Your man” referring to just any person, not actually ‘your’ man. “That’s gas” meaning that’s amusing. These are just a few of the frequent sayings, there are plenty more that I’m learning daily. They are catchy though, I have started to catch myself using them here and there.
Has it lived up to your expectations so far?
I made it an obligation to myself before moving to Ireland to keep an open mind and refrain from having certain expectations. I didn’t want to make up extravagant scenarios in my head to be let down if things turned out differently. I’d say it has worked favorably with me as I have absolutely enjoyed living in Dublin, exploring new places and meeting new people.
Explain what kind of work you’ve been doing?
I am currently doing temp work. I work with a few temp agencies here in Dublin. They set me up with office jobs (mostly reception) ranging from days to months depending on what the company needs. I chose to do this as opposed to say working in a pub or coffee shop because of the flexibility. I can accept a job and work for a couple weeks and then go travel for a while before accepting another position. Plus, I get nights and weekends off to run around town with fellow Stinters.
Have you any advice to people considering a gap year?
DO IT. If you have the slightest urge to move abroad, I say do it. It’s not an opportunity that will always be available and you have the rest of you life to start a career. The people you will meet and the places you go while living abroad is such an incredible learning experience that you just can’t get otherwise.
Where to find Khaki-
If there is one thing (after booking your Gap Year that is) you should do after reading this is head over to Khaki’s Instagram (@khakibowman) and personal blog for all things travel and fashion related. Khaki has been traveling Italy recently and her pictures of Sorrento, in particular, are unreal.
Gap Chats #4 brings Hayley Sawyer, a very talented creative who snaps some pretty amazing pictures of her travels. Without further delay, let’s hear from Hayley…
Tell us a little about why you chose to take a gap year?
I chose to take a gap year because I wanted to make the most of my time being young enough to really do big things. I’ve always had a big urge and curiosity about living abroad and I didn’t want to regret not taking the chance now rather than later!
….and why Ireland?
Oh man. So I traveled to Ireland a few times when I was younger with a ton of my family, so I’ve always had some of the best memories from here. Plus, the people all over are some of the kindest, most genuine people and that just makes adjusting to life away from home easier. And could you blame them with the dead gorgeous scenery all around them? I think I maybe take 500 pictures a day and when I don’t have an activity or trip planned, I spend my time looking back on old photos just to get that feeling again. That really made the decision easy.
(Some of Hayley’s amazing pictures of her travels)
The weirdest thing about Dublin is…?
The weirdest thing about Dublin is all of the lingo you have to work out. There are different ways of saying taxi, being “gas” is a great thing, and craic (pronounced “crack”) is a really really good thing!
Has it lived up to your expectations so far?
Dublin, and my experience thus far, has far exceeded my expectations in a lot of ways. But this experience has had so many surprises that took me to places I didn’t expect, and I really value that as well.
Explain what kind of work you are doing?
I’ve signed up with two temporary work agencies, and I’ve had some nice success with that. I’ve spent 3 months working with a dairy company taking orders from milkmen 8 hours a day (how Irish, I couldn’t turn that job down!), and then I’ve worked with investment banks and business law firms and even a media company. The variety is pretty valuable because every position has taught me so many new skills.
Have you any advice to people who are considering a gap year?
Take a big leap! It will be pretty scary faced with the possibility of moving to a new country, but the fear will subside and you’ll start to learn so I have about yourself. How you work, how you thrive, and also how to take care of yourself. You meet so many new people and places that you wouldn’t have at home, and taking a gap year is the best way to do all of this. It’s important to throw all expectations out the window because better things will always come along, and take in even the smallest of moments. Be patient, really really enjoy yourself, and things will always work out for the best!
Hayley has traveled around Europe and Ireland, taking many beautiful snaps along the way. She recently took a trip over to Morrocco and Italy which totally gives Gap Year FOMO! If you want to more information on our Gap Year program, you can always chat with us!
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)
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!!)
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!)
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)
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.
Here I am, less than three weeks from my departure date, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous! It’s a feeling that I’ve come to know well. I welcome it as an omen that I’m doing something good for me and stepping out of my comfort zone.
Generally, people call this the end of one chapter and the beginning of the next. As I begin packing and training my replacement at work, I reminisce about working as the records custodian at a local chiropractic office for the last five years; I started there before I could even drive. That job has given so much to me. It is a support group that has encouraged many of my endeavors. It has also provided me the financial means to travel (to France twice and Ireland once before this latest stint for my internship abroad). I am indebted to the individuals who helped me grow into the person I am today.
So, to refer to this part of my life as a chapter would be an understatement. Instead, I would say that this is the end of the first book and the beginning of the next instalment in my saga.
Interning abroad was something that I never thought I would do.
Actually, it never occurred to me that it was something I could do. The whole process happened so fast that I remember thinking to myself as I boarded the plane: Is this real life? Is this really happening?
Yes, it was real, it happened, and my world got immensely bigger.
My name is Peri Bowman. I’m 21, from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. I’m currently midway between my Bachelor of Architecture and Masters of Architecture degrees and I’m here doing an internship with Paul Keogh Architects.
So, why Ireland?
I didn’t have a particular place I wanted to go. I’d finished my degree but I felt I didn’t really know what to do with my three years of learning. I didn’t know if it was actually enough to be able to work. So I wanted to get out there and see what I could do with what I learned. As part of our masters program, we have to write a thesis. I had no idea what I want to write about so I hoped working would help point me in the right direction. My friend Mia decided she was going to Ireland and asked me to come. So, here I am!
On June 19, 2010, my life changed forever. As I boarded the Iberia airbus from Chicago O’Hare to Madrid Barajas, I took a deep breath knowing adventure awaited. Sevilla was my final destination. After arriving in the breathtaking Spanish city, I knocked on the door of a stranger. This woman, Esperanza, was to be my host mother for the next two weeks.
As I navigated my way through the foreign streets, jet lag, and much different food than I was used to, my eyes opened to the wonder of this amazing country. For the first time in my seventeen years, I was seeing something other than myself. Being used to living in this bubble that others created for me, I was finally able to see that there was life outside of Bartlesville, Oklahoma. And that was it: I was officially hooked.
When I considered writing a reflection on my time as an intern in Dublin, I thought it would be easy. However, when I sat down (multiple times) to gather my thoughts and begin telling my story, I realized how difficult it was to put what I had experienced into words. How could I convey what a life changing experience I had? How many amazing friendships I had formed? How much I had grown personally and professionally? And how much I had learned about myself being immersed in a foreign culture?
As a kid, I used to wake up on a Sunday morning to the smell of bacon frying and the gentle sounds of Irish traditional music. “Low lie the Fields of Athenry…!” Listening to the stories told to me about my great- great grandmother’s journey from Ireland to America filled me with admiration for this strong woman. My Claddagh ring that I wear every day grounds me to my Irish roots through its tale of love and loyalty. Memories and stories like these as well as small, yet meaningful, pieces of Irish culture have been artfully woven into my life ever since I can remember. It helps, too, that Boston is a place where shamrocks and all things Irish are far from scant!
Dandelions are my favorite flower. They grow where they aren’t supposed to. Kids blow on the tiny white puffs as they squeeze their eyes tight making a wish and hoping whatever they hope for will reach the stars.
In a couple days, I jet off for Dublin for a three-month internship with Extreme Ireland. I’m ready for my time abroad, but I have some nerves.