Every person in the world has a story to tell. No matter where they come from, or the language they speak. Every person has a dream to share, a lesson to teach; but also, a dream they would like to fulfil. Today, guys, I am telling you my story. It is not more special, interesting or unique than anyone else’s. It is only the story of a girl that decided to leave everything to go to a foreign country for the experience she was waiting for.
Where did it begin? It began with courage. Every story starts with a different element, but I can assure you that most of them start with courage. Going abroad is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, especially because I went to a country totally different to mine. I am from Tenerife, in the Canary Islands, Spain; we speak Spanish and, even though it is a touristic destination, almost nobody speaks English. Neither did I.
That was the first complication when I decided to move abroad to Ireland, an English-speaking country in the north of Europe. It is very close to my home country, if we compare the distance to someone coming from Chile or South Korea, for example; but believe me that the feeling of fear was the same.I started my experience as an Au-pair with an Irish family in Killarney, in County Kerry. Did you hear about this place before coming to Ireland? Because I didn’t at all. It is a lovely little town in south-west Ireland and one of the most beautiful touristic attractions of the island. But I didn´t know this at all at the time.
I found the O’Donoghue Family through www.aupairworld.com, a website that helps you to find native families to practice your English with while you live with them. You have to take care of their children, among other duties, but your normal schedule is during the week, with weekends off. Let´s be honest, every host family is different, and I have known cases where the au-pair and the family didn’t connect, for any reason. In my case,I was incredibly lucky to find this family: Roisin, Niall and the three sweet girls I was taking care of: Maureen, Réiltín and Beibhinn. The first challenge was to learn how to pronounce their names (xD).
That was how I met the family with whom I spent the next eight months of my life. This job gave me a lot of free time to study, so during this time I focused on improving my level of English, that at the time was pre-intermediate, and within 6 months I was able to get an exam: First Certificate English by Cambridge. It wasn’t easy at all; I worked and studied very hard and when you are living abroad, far from home, without your family and friends everything gets bigger and more difficult.
But the experience was amazing and today, after 3 years living in Ireland, I can only remember the positive things. I met wonderful people that I am still in contact with, friends who, like me, followed their own dreams to this new life.
During that period, I had all the weekends free so I could do the thing that I love most in the world: travelling. This was one of the main reasons I came to Ireland, so I didn’t hesitate to use my free time to do it. I visited the Ring of Kerry, the Ring of Beara, Cork, Connemara National Park, Galway, The Cliffs of Moher, The Burren National Park, etc. All beautiful and amazing places engraved forever in my memory and in my photographs.
But my experience in Ireland didn’t end there. No, I like complications. So, after 8 months living in Killarney, I decided to drastically change the course of my experience. Hence, I left the lovely, little town surrounded by pure nature, to move to the country´s multicultural, dynamic capital: Dublin. Ok, after a while I realised it wasn’t that drastic, of course, but at the time it looked a huge change and I was terrified (again). This time I had no house, no job, and no friends. I was entirely starting from 0 (again). And probably you are wondering why I am such a masochist and why I did that, aren’t you? The truth is that I realised my job was not related to my area of expertise: communication; and after reaching a good level of English, my goals changed. Thus, I moved to the capital where I knew I would find more opportunities.
Oh guys, it was hard. My first short-term objective was to find a house. You will hear many stories about searching for a house in Dublin, but I won’t be the one who’ll take away your hope. I’m kidding, it’s difficult but in the end you always find something decent. I found a shared house where I started living with five other girls: one Chilean, one Venezuelan, two Brazilians and one Japanese. It wasn’t my first time sharing a house, I have done it before, during my days in university, but this time was challenging: their cultures where totally different from mine. However, the girls I was fortunate to live with were super kind, collaborative and close, so it was an amazing experience.
Then I started my second short-term objective: to find a job. Call me weird, but for me it was easier to search for one thing at a time. I spent two months searching for a job related to my degree, and then I found a part-time internship position. I started my first real job in Ireland as a Communications Officer in Proudly Made in Africa, a not-for-profit organisation that facilitates and promotes ethical trading of African goods in Ireland and United Kingdom. In the meantime, I decided to take another job as a waitress in a tiny pretty cafeteria, so I could cover all my expenses and save a little bit of money.
Making friends is very easy as Dublin is full of people from literally everywhere: Mexico, Italy, Brazil, France, Chile, Uruguay, Spain, China, Japan, Costa Rica, Taiwan, Venezuela, etc.,and Irish people of course. Furthermore, as I always said, Dublin is an lively city. Everybody likes to go out, people are full of energy and joy, open to meeting more people and to make friends. In the city there is an excellent, vibrant multicultural atmosphere, and the music accompanies you everywhere, literally, you can find it on every single corner. It´s amazing!
Over time, I’ve changed apartment, I’ve changed job, I´ve kept travelling, I’ve found love and now, I can call it home without a doubt. I don´t know if I will spend my whole life here, because Ireland has that “something” that hypnotizes you, that make you stay and enjoy your experience to the fullest. But what I know is what started with the simple thing of learning English,after three years, it has become one of the most important stories of my life. I have been evolving personally and professionally by doing what I like. I am still the same girl in some ways…But I have matured into a totally different person at the same time.
And you… What is your story?
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