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!

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!

Gap Chat #3

Gap Chats #3

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.

 

Gap Chats #3
(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 #2

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

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

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

….and why Ireland?

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

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

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

Has it lived up to your expectations so far?

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

Explain what kind of work you are doing?

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

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

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

 

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

Gap Chats #4

Gap Chats #4

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.

 

Gap Chats #4
 (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!

Stinter Ayla Graney

Gap Chats #1

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

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

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

 

….and why Ireland?

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

 

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

 

The weirdest thing about Dublin is…?

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

 

Has it lived up to your expectations so far?

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

 

Explain what kind of work you are doing?

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

 

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

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

 

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

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. 

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