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Updated 22 Feb 2010
Tina moved from Canada to Dublin just over a year ago. She had an overwhelming desire to experience a life abroad and, after visiting four times, decided that Dublin would be her new home.

Read more in the Expat Arrivals Ireland country guide or read more expat experiences in Ireland

About you

Q: Where are you originally from?
A: I am originally from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, but lived in Toronto for seven years before moving abroad.

Q: Where are you living now?
A: I am living in Dublin City Centre, Ireland

Q: How long you have you lived in Dublin?
A: I have lived here a little more than a year now.

Q: Did you move with a spouse/ children?
A: I don’t have a spouse.  Thanks for reminding me.  ;-)

Q: Why did you move; what do you do?
A: I am a print journalist, who is currently getting more involved in online journalism.  I moved because of a long-held fascination with Ireland that only intensified after visiting the country four times. The country suits, me, I think, and it’s probably the most beautiful place I’ve ever been, as well. I was also intrigued when I heard of people who had spent time living abroad – what kind of experiences they must have had, and how it may have changed them. It was also time for a change in my life, to do something certainly out of what I had become accustomed to. Basically, I moved because of the life experience. 

About Dublin

Q: What do you enjoy most about Dublin, how’s the quality of life in Ireland?
A: I enjoy the fact that there is plenty to see and do and I’m often learning new little things about the place, like how a building had some kind of historical significance. I like the layout of the city centre when it comes to walking around – lots of little lanes and a few windy streets, and the architecture on some buildings is just lovely. There are also little gems hidden in the city, like little green spaces, along with larger parks. I also like learning about the Irish way of life – the sayings, the idioms. And how you should let a pint of Guinness settle before topping it off, for example!

The quality of life is pretty good. I’ve pretty much all the comforts of Canada here, and of course, I love the fact that I’ve met plenty of great people from all over Europe as well as Ireland!

Q: Any negatives? What do you miss most about home?
A: I’m not sure if these are negatives more than they are differences compared to Canada – having to heat the water before being able to take a shower, and how it’s so very dark in winter in the mornings and evenings. 

What I miss from home is the free health care but above all I miss my friends and family. Sometimes I also feel a little twinge over small things, like the chime of the Toronto subway doors before they’re about to close, a double-double coffee from Tim Horton’s, or hanging out at my friend’s apartment while having dinner and catching up on reality TV viewing.

Q: Is Dublin safe?
A: Overall, I’d say it is safe. Obviously, a person should exercise common sense like they should anywhere, as there are areas that are bit dodgier than others. But I’ve never feared for my safety.

About living in Dublin

Q: Which are the best places/suburbs to live in Dublin as an expat?
A: From what I’ve gathered I would have to say the best places to live are the city centre, as everything you could possibly need is within walking distance. Ranelagh is a lovely area that has a town-ish feel about it, and Rathmines isn’t too shabby, either!  As a general rule, heading directly south of the River Liffey is a good bet.

Q: How do you rate the standard of accommodation in Dublin?
A: Accommodation is pretty good. Again, like anywhere, you’ll have your great places and places that could be better. I welcomed the fact that apartments already came furnished!

Q: What’s the cost of living in Dublin compared to Canada? What is cheap or expensive in particular?
A: The cost of living in Dublin is a bit higher than it is back home. Rent is probably my greatest expense. Some foods can be pricey, but most food shopping hasn’t been too bad – it depends on what you like/eat, really. Cheap? Surprisingly, the cost of cable TV (depending on your cable package) and maintaining a mobile phone (if you’re on a pay-as-you-go plan) are less expensive than they are in Canada. There are also great shops, such as Dunnes and Penneys, which sell loads of stuff relatively inexpensively. (Just keep an eye on the quality of something you’re buying, though, as on occasion you will get what you pay for).

Q: What are the locals like; do you mix mainly with other expats?
A: The locals are great craic! Most have been friendly, chatty and funny. I like to think I mix fairly equally with locals and expats.  Socially, I’m probably a bit more with expats.

Q: Was it easy meeting people and making friends?
A: Yes, it was, through a social group I found online, I also knew a couple of people when I first arrived here, which helped, as I met people through them, too.

About working in Dublin

Q: Did you have a problem getting a work visa/permit?
A: No. God bless the European Union and my parents who were born in it, so I was able to obtain the relevant passport and be able to work and live here without needing a visa/ permit.

Q: What’s the economic climate like in Ireland, is there plenty of work?
A: The climate has been challenged recently. Ireland has been hit hard with the recession and jobs have been a challenge to land (it took me eight months!). Some industries have been stronger than others. There have been glimmers of recovery, however! 

Q: How does the work culture differ from home?
A: I don’t think the work culture in Dublin is that much different than it is in Canada.

Q: Did a relocation company help you with your move?
A: Are leprechauns real?

And finally…

Q: Is there any other advice you like to offer new expat arrivals?
A: Even if you moved voluntarily, you may find you’ll feel a gamut of emotions once you arrive: Thrill at being in a new location that holds so much potential, to a sense of unsteadiness as you wonder “what the hell have I done?!” Don’t panic. It’s all part of adjusting to a new environment, and allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling. Keep in touch with your loved ones back home for a sense of security during those unsteady moments.

But before getting on the plane, though, do your research about the place and what you may need to live and work there. Also, have enough funds saved, just in case!

You’ll probably never experience such high highs or low lows ever again (hopefully!), but once you’ll settle, it will feel like a home. Get out and soak up your new surroundings – enjoy it - try whatever you can that’s native to your new home for the full experience.

~ Interviewed February 2010


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