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Interview with Jehan – an Australian expat living in Ireland

Updated 22 Feb 2010

Jehan is from Australia but moved to Dublin with her Irish husband about a year and a half ago where she works as a course developer for a private college. She loves the scenery in Dublin, the friendliness of the locals and Dublin's social scene.

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

About Jehan

Q: Where are you originally from?

A: Australia

Q: Where are you living now?

A:  Raheny, Dublin 5

Q: How long you have you lived here?

A:  17 months

Q: Did you move with a spouse/ children?

A:  I moved with my husband

Q: Why did you move; what do you do?

A:  My husband is Irish; we met and married in Japan and decided to move back to Ireland. I am working as a course developer for a private college.

About Dublin

Q: What do you enjoy most about Dublin, how’s the quality of life?

A:  Hmmm. Well, I think Dublin is a very pretty city because of the lack of huge skyscrapers. I like the parks and the river; there are a lot of beautiful areas in the Dublin. Aside from that, Irish people are friendly and usually easy to talk to. Also it’s nice to be able to go to shops and find what you’re looking for. Because of the huge influx of foreigners in Dublin, so many different types of foods are available. There is a lot of entertainment too, such as concerts, plays, and exhibitions.

Q: Any negatives? What do you miss most about home?

A: You know, this list used to be a lot longer, but after a year it’s whittled down to just a few things. Firstly, efficient (and cheap) public transport. Related to this, it’s hard to travel extensively outside of Dublin without a car. Secondly, everything is so expensive here; every time I go overseas I feel like I’m being ripped off every time I come back to Dublin. Thirdly, the lack of service in Ireland. Is it me or do people who work in shops, restaurants etc generally not smile or try to be helpful? I sometimes feel like they’re doing me a favour! Oh yeah, and I miss the sunshine and having seasons!

Q: Is Dublin safe?

A:  For me, it depends on where you are at what time of day. Generally, I don’t feel comfortable by myself in the city centre at night.

About living in Dublin

Q: Which are the best places/suburbs to live in Dublin as an expat?

A:  As I live outside the city centre, I’m biased towards my own area. Although I enjoy working in the city, I like living in the relative peace and quiet of the suburbs just outside the city. Personally, I like Raheny and Clontarf because they are both near the St. Anne’s Park and Dollymount Strand, and just a short drive to Howth Head. It’s just so pretty and tranquil. And these areas are not too far from the city centre.

Q: How do you rate the standard of accommodation in Ireland?

A:  Again, I think it depends on which area you’re in. Our apartment is just gorgeous with all the modern conveniences, well-built, comfortable and just the right size for the two of us. But I’ve seen other apartments which are small/cramped, poorly designed, and not well-maintained.

Q: What’s the cost of living in Dublin compared to Australia? What is cheap or expensive in particular?

A:  It’s definitely more expensive in Dublin than anywhere I’ve ever lived! Just about everything is more expensive here than in Australia. Some food items are cheaper (like Guinness) but generally, transport, rent, clothes etc are a lot more expensive here than in Australia.

Q: What are the locals like; do you mix mainly with other expats?

A:  Because my husband and his family are all Irish I mix a lot with the locals. In so saying, the friends I’ve made independently of my husband are mostly foreigners. Irish people are grand. They’re very personable and welcoming, but occasionally I find that this is fuelled more by alcohol than a sincerely interested personality…

Q: Was it easy meeting people and making friends?

A:  Because I was with my husband when I came to Ireland, I met all his friends first and was automatically furnished with a ready-made group of companions. However, to make my own friends thereafter was a little tough. But that might not be so much to do with Dublin than with the fact that I’m married. Going out by myself to a pub was unthinkable because inevitably people get the wrong idea in Ireland. It’s doesn’t seem to be the done thing to go off on your own as a married person…I’ve taken up Spanish classes though and this has helped me to make my own friends in a more ‘secure’ environment.

About working in Dublin

Q: Did you have a problem getting a work visa/permit?

A:  Not at all! I was prepared to be given the Spanish inquisition when I arrived in Dublin, but I got my ‘Stamp 4’ visa within a couple of days of arriving in the country. All it took was a  two-hour trip to the immigration office (most of which was spent standing in a queue…), and a marriage certificate and a passport. I was quite surprised at how painless the process was.

Q: What’s the economic climate like in Dublin, is there plenty of work?

A:  Well, I think this depends on what your industry is. There always seems to be so much work going for anyone involved in IT.

Q: How does the work culture differ from home?

A:  I think it’s about the same as Australia, but maybe in Ireland, slightly more hours are worked on average per week. In Australia, people are really a lot more laid back.

Q: Did a relocation company help you with your move?

A:  No, my husband and I organised our move from Japan entirely on our own.​​​​​​​

Family and children

Q: What are the schools in Dublin like, any particular suggestions?

A:  I have some friends with children of school-going age. One thing I was surprised about was how laid back the schools were in terms of what children do. Schools are generally stricter in Australia; they have very strong rules about what you could and couldn’t do in a school uniform.

Q: How would you rate the healthcare in Dublin?

A:  Australia has much better healthcare than in Ireland in terms of price and what they offer. More than that, there is state healthcare in Australia so there is no real need to sign on to expensive private healthcare.​​​​​​​

And finally…

Q: Is there any other advice you like to offer new expat arrivals?

A:  Get yourself immersed in as many things as possible. It helps you to ignore your home-sickness when you’ve got things to do!

 Interviewed February 2010​​​​​​​

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