My Guide for Moving to Dublin

IMG_4667LADIES AND GENTS, WE MADE IT.

I was waiting to write this post until I had officially settled in and got my footing in the area. Mainly, I wanted to at least have a place to live  before I wrote this, and I am happy to report that I do!!

So here you have it! These are my tips and tricks to moving to Dublin and surviving at least two weeks because that’s all I’ve done so far.

 

 

Get yourself a visa

If you’re from the U.S. like myself, you’ll need a visa to live and work in Ireland. Personally, I am on a Working Holiday Authorisation. This is the visa I’ve been using everywhere I decide to live.

If you are between the ages of 18-30 and are a student or are within 12 months of receiving your degree, you can qualify for this visa. A WHA will allow you to live in Ireland for 12 months while working to support your travels.  Not a bad deal, right?

Ireland is a bit old school, so the process to obtain this visa can be a bit of a hassle. There are two stages for the application, all of which must be filled out in pen and paper and cannot be done online (Yeah… try getting used to that after coming off of being approved for an Australian working holiday in 15 minutes online.)

The first stage will require a filled out application form available on the Consulate’s website, proof of being enrolled in a university or proof of having graduated within the past 12 months (you need original documents such as original transcripts or your degree), a copy of your passport, proof of supporting funds (about 4000 euro I believe), 2 passport sized photos, a copy of your CV, and a processing fee of about $350 depending on where your Consulate is located.

Once you have shipped off all your documents in a neat little package to your designated consulate, you should receive an email in a few weeks time saying if you’ve been approved. Mine took about 3 weeks, but the website says up to 8 weeks so always leave room for delays.

If you’ve been approved, you’re ready to send off Stage 2. This is when you’ll send in your arrival and departure tickets (it doesn’t have to be to go back home- and considering you can’t book flights that far in advance, I wouldn’t. Personally, I bought a nice holiday to London in August as proof of my leaving.), proof of health insurance that covers you for your duration in Ireland, and your physical passport. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of sending everything as far in advance as possible. Your girl received her passport the day before she flew out and I am truly just trying to save you a heart attack. 

Once you’ve done all of that, the Consulate will mail back your passport to you and your WHA! Congrats, you’re ready to go!

Sort out your accommodation before you arrive. 

Some of you may or may not know that Dublin is in the middle of a housing crisis, meaning its wildly difficult to find somewhere to live. But don’t you fret, I’ve got you covered!

Having already moved to a different country in the past, I had a better idea of timelines for finding a place to live in a city where housing is impossible. I gave myself two weeks of non-stop searching. This means that house-hunting has to become your full-time job, which also means you shouldn’t expect to work in this time (that’s why we save!). Book yourself an airbnb close to where you’ll be searching for apartments, or a hostel. I actually recommend the latter- I did it in Australia and met my absolute best friend who later became my roommate that way! I did an airbnb in Dublin and although it was much more comfortable, I did feel a bit isolated and like I would have had an easier time making friends at a hostel.

Once you’ve chosen where you’ll stay for the first two weeks, wait until you arrive (trust me, do not try and lock in an apartment without seeing it first) and begin the hunt. I used rent.ie and daft.ie. To be completely honest, if you’re doing this solo, I highly suggest looking into shared houses/rooms. It will be much more affordable and much easier to find somewhere to stay. Plus, you’re bound to start making friends. If that’s not your cup of tea but you’re on a budget, I would also recommend looking into different cities such as Cork for more affordable pricing. Unfortunately, the farther away you are from Dublin, the easier it will be to find an affordable place to live.

The reason I say his becomes a full-time job is because the only way you’ll be able to get a leg up from the thousands of other people trying to find housing is if you are available when they are not, a.k.a. when they’re at work. If someone emails you for a viewing, you’ll have a much easier time accommodating to their schedule if yours is completely free.

My biggest tip is this: do not settle. If something doesn’t feel right, or if you don’t like the location/people/room, don’t jump into it because you think its the only thing you can get! Just say “thank you very much, I have a few more places to look at but I’ll get back to you as soon as I have made a decision”. Many people will try to rush you by saying other people are looking at it, but that doesn’t matter. What is for you will not pass you. Go with your gut. After all, you’re trying to find a home very far away from yours, so make sure it feels like one.

Start attempting to book a GNIB appointment either before or as soon as you land. 

Man oh man. This was a TOUGHY. Within 90 days of your entry to Ireland, you must register with the Guarda in your area, or you will be asked to leave the country. They will emphasize this at the airport when you go through customs. And if you’re like me and haven’t even begun trying to book an appointment, get ready for the death glare that the immigration officer will give you.

As I mentioned before, Ireland is old school. You can book your GNIB appointment online, but you will have to attend in person. Here’s where it gets tricky: the Guarda in Dublin is always booked up 3 months in advance. Meaning if you are in the situation I was in, the chances of you being able to get an appointment before your 90 days are up rely on the possibility of someone cancelling their appointment and you being on the website refreshing the page (again) the MILLISECOND that they do before it gets snatched up by a fellow procrastinator.

This sounds like a lost cause, right? Well lucky for us, even though the GNIB office is stuck in the dark ages, we have technology on our side. If you google “Google Chrome GNIB extension” you will come across your new best friend. You can thank me later.

Using that extension, I was able to book an appointment in 5 days. I mentioned this at a job interview and jaws literally hit the floor.

When you arrive for your appointment, you must present your passport, WHA,  and $300 EUR. Gotta love those fees.

Make sure you buy a leap card and an Irish SIM on your first day.

There is not a single thing you can do without these (especially if you’re staying outside the city). The Leap card allows you to access all forms of transportation. Now, you can get around by taxi or pay for the bus in cash, but this will be so much more convenient as it also allows you to access the DART (train system), and the trams within the city. It’s the Irish equivalent to a MetroCard, Oyster Card, Myki, Opal, etc. You can find these at any SPAR or anywhere that has a Leap sign in front of it.

As for an Irish SIM, feel free to shop around with deals. The more popular ones would be Vodafone or 3, but I went ahead with Tesco Mobile and was very happy with my deal. A pay as you go plan would be my recommendation.

Find a job.

This is something else that you will come to find is a full-time situation. My best friend for my first few weeks was indeed.com.

This can be very tough so some tips I have for you would be first and foremost to have an Irish friend look over your CV. Every country’s employers vary on what format they prefer. You may find that your CV might need to be revamped before sending it out. I would also look at cover letter templates for your country, as these can vary as well.

If you’ve uprooted your life and moved to a different country with no job prospects previously in place, then you already should have prepared yourself to do literally anything that is available. This could mean waitressing, being a barista, administrative assistant, working at a call-centre, etc. Take whatever you can get, because at the end of the day its just meant to be funding what you’re really here for: travel.

Obtain a PPS number.

A PPS number is the one thing that stands between you and 40% of your check going to taxes, so ideally you would want to get this before you start getting paid. Here’s the catch: you can only register to get a PPS appointment once you are able to present evidence of a job offer and proof of address.

My advice is as soon as you’ve been hired, ask your employer for an official job offer letter and try to book an appointment straight away. If possible, also try and delay your start date by a few weeks to give yourself some time. That is, unless you don’t mind losing out on nearly half your check.

Open a bank account.

You cannot open a bank account without presenting your passport and proof of address. This means you won’t be able to open an account until you have found a place to live. If your bills are in your landlord’s name,  then you can present your PPS number, or if your employer has an account with that bank, then they can write a letter on your behalf (see bank for more details on this).

The most popular banks in Dublin would be either AIB or Bank of Ireland. I couldn’t see much difference between the two, however I read about some people having issues with Bank of Ireland so I went for AIB.

HAVE FUN!

You did it! You are officially settled into your Working Holiday. But remember: it’s a working HOLIDAY. This means make sure you set some time aside to explore this beautiful country as well as its neighboring countries (especially considering how affordable it is to do so!).

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To get to know the city better and also make a few friends along the way, I would recommend being a complete tourist in those first few weeks before you begin working. Do a few free walking tours, visit Trinity College and the Book of Kells, visit the Kilmainham Goal museum, walk along Grafton Street and around Temple Bar, visit the Guinness and Jameson factories, maybe even splurge on a tour to Galway and the Cliffs of Moher! Do all of the “cringy” tourist things and get your selfies. You are here on holiday, after all.

I hope this helped you guys! As always, feel free to get in touch if you have any questions at all. I’m so excited to continue sharing my experience with you all as the year goes on.

Happy Holidays & Safe Travels!

Stay kind x

I swapped out leggings for sweatpants at the gym… here’s what happened.

LIVE FROM NEW YORK, ITS….. ME!

If you’re reading this, first off, thank you for your patience. Basically the last few months I’ve been taking a bit of a hiatus at home to regroup and collect myself after the past year away, so I decided to go a bit off the radar.

The next adventure begins in a little over a week and I could not be more excited to share my experiences with you all. However, in the mean time, I have a few fun posts up ahead. Beginning with this one!

For the past week I decided to conduct a bit of a social experiment. It’s no secret that I love the gym. But to my detriment, I seem to consistently pick gyms where the free weight section is occupied primarily by neanderthals.

Before you close out this tab absolutely insulted by that statement, let me clarify that not every human being in this area is a primate. I have made fantastic friendships and had great workouts with guys who have been more than courteous and have even gone as far as become protective over me whenever some guy tries to cross the line with me. But I think I speak for most girls who lift weights that simply entering that area can be terrifying. (Ever wonder why there are “Women’s Only” sections at some gyms?) I would also like to point out that this section of the gym is not just filled with men. However, for the purposes of my little experiment, I solely focused on male behavior.

So for the sake of science, I put aside my v-pricey but v-worth it for being “squat proof” leggings and embraced my inner grub. Here’s what I found.

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I was a WHOLE lot less self aware.

When I go to the gym, I’m there to get a job done. I enjoy every second of it, but I’m zeroed in, focused, and ready to get shit done. By putting away my cute workout outfits, I found I really couldn’t care less what I looked like during my workout. No crop top or snug leggings meant that whenever I was looking in a mirror I wasn’t checking myself out (oh hush, you do it too). I was actually checking my form and paying better attention to what I was doing. Not just that, but I didn’t care about anyone looking at me because I knew they couldn’t possibly be looking at my body considering there was no body to look at. Less looking around meant more time to focus on what I came for: me.

I became one of “the boys”.

When guys approached me, it wasn’t to hit on me or get a better look at me deadlifting. Instead, it was to show me a small tweak I could make to a move I was doing, or to ask if they could share the barbell with me. My favorite thing that happened though is all of a sudden, catcalls were swapped out for encouragement. Whenever I was wiped out and decided to tap out, all of a sudden I had guys cheering me on for one more set. I became an equal. REVOLUTIONARY CONCEPT.

My walks to and from home felt hella safer.

9/10 times whenever I’m heading to the gym, its dark out. Whether that’s really early early morning or 4PM (shoutout to winter round 2 for me) depends on my mood. Either way, there’s something about looking like a complete grub that makes you feel like less of a target. Walking by the construction sight, along busy streets, or just by some men on stoops was so much more of a breeze and silent??? No howling or yelling??? I felt… like a human being and not an object??? Truly wild.

IT DOESN’T MATTER. AT ALL.

Here’s the thing. There were days where I was left in peace, and others where some rude human being still watched me bend over to grab a barbell. Basically, there wasn’t a huge difference.

What I want people to take away from this is at the end of the day: do whatever the hell you want and whatever makes you feel phenomenal. We are not in the 1960’s, trying to be seen as equal by “blending in” with all the other men in the workplace. I am a woman. I am not a man. I enjoy looking the way I do and highlighting those differences.

I found that personally, I felt like a trash can. Does this mean everyone who chooses to wear baggy t-shirts and sweatpants to the gym is garbage? Absolutely not. But my personal experience was that I found myself feeling less like myself. I go to the gym for a confidence boost- not just because of the way I look, but because of how I feel and how I perform. Sometimes tight leggings or a crop top might help with mind-muscle connection. Sometimes you feel a little more aerodynamic when you have tighter clothes. Sometimes I just like how confident I feel in a cute workout outfit. There’s nothing wrong with any of those reasons.

So will I be swapping out my Gymshark for sweatpants anytime soon? Sometimes, when I feel like it! One thing is for sure: my body is still mine to have, enjoy, and feel proud of, and yours to respect. Because no matter what I’m wearing, I am not asking for it. 

Stay kind xx

Things I Learned While Hiring my Replacement

Recently I was asked what it is that I look for in a boss. Well, I look for someone who respects their employees, acknowledges their passion for what they do, and values their knowledge of their role within a company. My current employer is all of these things and so much more, and so when she asked me if I wanted to participate in interviewing candidates to fill my position once I left, I jumped at the opportunity.

I’ve been speaking to a few of my friends who are currently on the job hunt, and many have become so discouraged as they face one rejection after another. Believe me I’ve been there, sending out CV after CV wondering if my degree even means anything. But this was the first time I’ve been on the other side of the interviewing table, and there were a few things that stood out to me that I wanted to highlight.

Everyone is really freaking impressive.

I shit you not. If you’ve been selected to go on to the interviewing stage, pat yourself on the back. The people I interviewed were beyond talented and very qualified for the job, to the point where I was questioning my own qualifications to even be interviewing them. During the screening process, this made it even harder to where we legitimately had to ask almost all of them back for a second interview. As you can tell, I’m really bad at screening.

Interview questions MAKE or BREAK YOU.

As I mentioned before, everyone is so dang impressive. So as an interviewer for a position, you have to find a way to narrow the candidates down. Considering everyone’s answers to my screening questions were so fantastic, I had to make it tougher on the second round. The second I turned up the heat, I knew candidates who had gone through interviews before and handled my questions with ease, and others who were a little more out of practice.

One thing to keep in mind: given that I am so passionate about Diversity and Inclusion, I read up on unconscious bias during interviews before interviewing these candidates and found out that if a hiring professional feels a sense of familiarity with the candidate (ex. similar interests to the person hiring, or someone they know), then they will automatically have an unconscious bias and may ask questions that they forget to ask other candidates, which doesn’t give candidates a fair playing field because someone else might have shined in that particular response if they had received that question. So next time you face a rejection, know that it might not have even been something you said, but maybe something you didn’t get the chance to say.

Don’t be afraid to admit you’re flawed.

Don’t know something about the job? Admit it. Don’t understand a certain term that was used in a question? Ask about it. Unaware of how you’d handle a certain obstacle presented in a situational question? Just say so! You do not currently hold this position. Therefore, there are certain things that you will not intuitively know how to handle just yet. That’s okay! Its not about how quick you are to make something up on the fly. Its about your willingness to learn from you superior or your predecessor, and how ready you are to ask for help when you need it.

One of my questions asked candidates to tell me about a time they were faced with one of their unconscious biases and what they learned from it. I prefaced this with saying that the question was not aimed to have a racially fueled response, but it was okay if that was how they chose to answer it. Some examples I gave them were “Maybe you were walking down the street one night and crossed because you saw a man walking your way; or maybe you were on a plane and felt your ride might be smoother or more turbulent because you realized a woman was the head pilot.”

Many candidates impressed me with their responses, but one candidate truly stood out to me. She insisted she had never had an unconscious bias. This surprised me because she was very knowledgeable about Diversity and Inclusion, , but this answer did not reflect that knowledge. I asked her to reflect a little longer (because it is only human nature to have unconscious biases. Its inevitable). She continued to insist that she did not have any and we moved on.

The reason this was not the ideal answer is because I wanted to find someone who knew they were flawed, able to recognize where it was that they fell short, and find out whether or not they were able to learn something from the experience. Someone who is knowledgeable about themselves in this way and is knowledgable about Diversity and Inclusion is not someone who never has any biases towards any group. Its someone who is able to recognize those biases, catch themselves when they are acting on them, and is willing to relearn what is so deeply ingrained in them to where is has become unconscious.

“You can teach skills, but you can’t teach someone to be a culture fit.”- The Best Boss Ever. 

This is something that my employer put into my head on multiple occasions, and I think its the best thing she has ever taught me.

When I first got my current job, I had known Melbourne a grand total of one week. And now, I was being asked to show people from different countries around this city and answer all of their questions about it. Needless to say, I spent that first week with my phone charged at 100% so that I can google any question that came flying my way. (February arrivals, you hold a special place in my heart for dealing with me and loving me anyways.) In addition to that, my degree was not in this field, I knew what it entailed only on a very superficial level, and I just had really big dreams and high hopes. I was hired.

At the end of the day, I go into every interview being true to myself. Like I mentioned in my last post, if you want to work somewhere where you are paid to be yourself, you have to just be yourself. Its hard! I know! Because that means if you are rejected, its not just your resume they’re dissing anymore. But know that if this job follows your truth, people will want to hire you because you are the job. For me, I need to work somewhere where I walk in and its not just an office, its home; and my family is waiting for me in there.

Hiring is not easy.

Not just for the person being interviewed, but for the interviewer as well. For me, it was like finding another mom to hand my children off to so that I can have peace of mind that they’ll be okay. Ask your mom how she’d feel about that. Yeah, not easy.

Everyone is so incredible, and can bring so much to any office. The question at the end of the day is what can the office bring to you. In order for there to be a successful placement, the person being hired needs to feel six months down the road that they are getting just as much out of this job as they are putting into it, and sometimes more. So maybe your last rejection wasn’t even about your answers, or your qualifications. Maybe you wouldn’t have gotten as much out of the position as you were able to put into it.

At the end of two weeks, we found my perfect replacement, and somehow my relationship with my boss grew even stronger through it. I was able to see how much she really valued everything I gave to the company over the past 6 months, and how much she cared for me not just as an employee, but as a member of the family. I would highly encourage any higher-up to allow their employee to get a say in their replacement if you want to show them how much they are valued.

I’ll save my goodbyes for next week, but for now I’ll just say this: Pip, thank you so much for taking a chance on a girl with big eyes and bigger dreams. I will never be able to put into words all you have done for me, taught me, and given me. You truly are superwoman, sunshine, and above all else, my mentor and role model. I hope I can be for someone else half the person you are for our entire team. Keep being the strong, empowered, inspiring boss lady you are. 

Good luck to my TIG Aus Fam, and your new, wonderful Experience Coordinator. Continue to change lives the way you did mine and so many others. And remember, its not goodbye, its see you later.

Stay kind x

 

 

Where have I been?

“Isis. You started a blog, wrote one blog post, then disappeared for a month. What the heck.”

I know, I know. The thing is, I didn’t want to write a blog post with so many things in the air. But I guess that’s kind of the life you choose when you choose this lifestyle, so its time to get real.

Okay, well everyone, after nine beautiful, inspiring, challenging, wild months in Melbourne, its officially time to say goodbye to my wonderful city. I plan on writing a post right before I leave detailing the things I’ll miss most and a brief recap of my experience, but for now I want to fill everyone in on my reasoning behind my departure and my plans for the near future.

I am a firm believer in sticking to your truth. I encourage everyone I meet to take a deep dive inside yourself and look your truth dead in the eye. Ask yourself “WHY am I here? WHY am I on this earth in THIS lifetime?” and only then should you ask yourself “WHAT can I do to fulfill that truth?”. Neal Donald Walsch put it perfectly in the book Conversations with God (which you should read for your own personal development and use whatever terminology you’d like for the word “God”) when he said that if you want to be paid to do what you love, first focus on “being” and then focus on “doing”. What I took this to mean is that first, you need to be certain of who you are and being that person. Not just in certain situations, or around certain groups of people, no. This means every day, every minute, every second,  and around every person and in every situation, you are you. Truly you, consistently and unapologetically. Once you have experienced this, fumbled with it, lost many who needed to be shedded, gained many who contribute to your growth, and finally mastered it, only then can you begin to shine. Trust me, when you do, you’ll find that your so damn bright. You’ll realize that you’re valuable, and so will others. And when others see your light, they will want to encourage you to keep doing that, and they will value it too.

All that to say that I found that opportunity. I looked my truth in the eye and found my reason for being and found the job that allowed me to live that truth everyday and be paid for it. So when my time ran out with my current position due to visa restrictions, I knew that I couldn’t simply pursue a new career path to complete my time in Melbourne. This job was the reason I moved here. This job is what my gut pulled me to and fulfilled my truth. I was being paid to literally be myself and do what I would do for free.

So as much as it pains me to leave my city, it would be a disservice to myself and the life I have set out to live to settle for anything that does not align with my truth. I put in my paperwork for my Irish Work Authorization, and began putting in motion my plan for Dublin in 2019.

And in the meantime? Well, I took another deep dive within me and saw that as much as this adventure has given me, there is a lot of deep healing I need to do if I am going to make the most out of my next adventure. I have decided to recharge in San Fransisco.

I’ll be wrapping up my adventure down under next week with a trip to Sydney along with my partner in crime, Courtney, and then setting off to San Fran from there (with an 8 hour layover in Hawaii because why not?). This is most definitely not the end of my adventure, simply a small stop on the way to Ireland.

I have some very exciting opportunities awaiting in California, and I cannot wait to see what Dublin has in store.

But a girl needs her Pumpkin Spice, ya know?

Stay kind x

My Travel Story

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Lets start with where my life is currently at:

I am currently living in Melbourne, Australia after moving here about 8 months ago with nothing but my suitcase and my keyboard. Yes, you read that correctly. You see, I have this wild 5 year plan to work and live in country after country, so traveling with much else wouldn’t be very practical.

So lets back it up.

Travel is not foreign to me.  I was raised bicultural with deep roots both in Uruguay and the U.S., having had the opportunity to live in both countries as I grew up. Once I got to college, it came as a surprise to absolutely nobody that I began working in the Study Abroad office. This eventually led to my own study abroad experience in the form of an international internship in London.

It was in London that I met some people that truly changed my perspective on every aspect of my life. They opened my eyes to so many new points of view that I came back to the States with a new plan for my life. I knew I needed to travel again.

Later that year, I decided to visit some of the Australian friends I made during my London program. I spent 3 out of my 4 weeks in Brisbane, and just one week in Melbourne. Well, one week was all it took. To put it into perspective: I left Melbourne with a tattoo of bridge in the city and a plan to get a visa and move here.

A few short months later as I began to get ready to graduate with my degree in Music Industry, I sold all of my belongings, found someone to take over my lease for my apartment, said goodbye to everyone and everything I called home, and bought a one way ticket to the city I had only known for 7 days.

Now, lucky for me that I already had an incredible support system waiting for me and a job in the field of experiential education where I get to meet people from all over the globe who end up being life long friends. But all of the experiences that I have had since moving here are things that I couldn’t have imagined in my wildest dreams (both in beautiful and not so wonderful ways). I spent my 22nd birthday back in Brisbane, followed by Byron Bay and finally a solo trip to Ubud, Bali. I’ve met soul mates, formed meaningful connections with so many people, and learned an immense amount about my place in this world. I’ve spoken my truth, listened to others, learned, and changed my views. And its all just the very beginning.

I already have plans to move to Dublin at the end of this year, and continue to travel and experience as much as I can in the following years. I’m hoping that through this blog I can share my stories with you all, and maybe even convince you that your dreams may not be as impossible as you think.

Dream big, be kind, and stay tuned. I promise- there’s always a plot twist xx