Work Holiday Authorization Visa - Moving to Ireland
Well, I finally took the leap that I was telling myself I would do for so long. I applied for a Work Holiday Authorization to live and work in Ireland until I (hopefully) attend graduate school next fall.
The Work Holiday Authorization is a program to which you can basically sponsor yourself to live and work anywhere in Ireland without job restrictions for up to one year, and is the only in country in Europe to have any program like this. Plus, Ireland speaks English, which is nice. I had been to Dublin twice before, and I liked it, plus it was an opportunity to travel in Europe which is what I was looking for. Added benefit is having best friends currently living in London and Copenhagen, so I wasn’t completely by myself in Europe.
Their website lays the process out pretty well here. But, basically, the process is relatively painless if you can gather proper documents and prove an adequate amount of money. I am more interested in writing about my experiences that I did not see much of online, the part the Department of Foreign Affairs doesn’t cover, which to me was the scarier part.
Preparing to depart the country:
I began to gather little belongings to bring to be reminded of home, like mugs and postcards, as soon as I was accepted. I knew that being away from anybody I knew would be sad and stressful, and honestly just packing these little items already made me feel better. The next logical step is to find housing and a job. Easier said than done, Irish employers will not bat an eye at you until you are fully accepted or in Ireland, however, I attempted to apply to some “real” jobs before I came anyway. It was one of those situations where I applied into the black hole of job sites and never heard back, so I figured I’d wait until I was officially in Dublin.
Finally here! Now what?!
Personally, I thought the aspect of being essentially homeless until I found a flat to be much more scary, where do I put my huge suitcases and myself in the mean time? Also I decided to have the added stress of traveling to Spain immediately after coming to Dublin. My best friend in Copenhagen had a long break, so we planned this wonderful trip, however, it was as soon as I arrived. With no place to put my huge bags, I tried figuring out what to do with them. Luggage storage facilities charged five euro per day per bag, and I was seriously not into that. Conveniently, I connected with a girl in my sorority, but a different chapter, through an international alumna page (sorority dues finally paying off!) which saved my life and stored my bags while I was gone. One headache gone, but I was still literally homeless. I booked myself and Airbnb for while I was searching for a flat so I would have some semblance of a home, and its something I highly recommend doing.
My mom works for a company which has a branch in a different part of Ireland, but she was able to reach out and find out how people in Ireland find housing. There are a ton of websites out there, but honestly the very best website is daft.ie. You can find a whole flat, or just a room like I was looking for. They also have an app which is super convenient for when you inevitably will be refreshing the current listings and emailing the posters like mad. Essentially how it works is you search particular criteria, I decided to look in “Dublin City Centre” and included the Dublin area codes below the river. In my experience, below the River Liffey is much nicer than a lot above it. I chose my area parameters and listings below 700 euro because honestly gotta know your budget. I preferred to not spend that much per month, but I knew it was do-able. You can choose any amount, and you can find a relatively cheap place to stay if you’re willing to share a room. Anyway, you put in your search criteria, then I went to relevant listings and emailed the posters. You will email SO many people, I emailed over 50 people, and only had about 5-6 email back. In finding a flat it’s all a numbers game. You MUST do it while you're here, my same sorority friend said she was scammed before she came to Ireland, so you’ve really got to be in Dublin and willing to look at rooms ASAP to maximize chances of getting a place.
I decided I wanted a room to myself, but I was very lucky to find a cheap place in an incredible location south of the river. I like to say I am literally living in a shoebox, but I am in the belief that you can do anything for a short amount of time, and ultimately the location, price, and roommates made the shoebox okay with me. Feel free to contact me to talk about finding housing in Dublin, trust me I feel your pains.
Finally Settled in:
I am in the process in becoming settled in my new flat, my flatmate has been nice enough to offer to drive me to IKEA for storage and such, which will be necessary for my shoebox. I have gone to Penny’s (same as Primark in every other country) and Tiger (Copenhagen based company) for little stuff to decorate my room and function items like mirrors and storage because honestly they are very cheap stores and have some cute stuff. As I said earlier, I like having little personal stuff around me and pictures to make me feel more like I live there.
I will keep y’all updated when I become more settled in and ready to explore more of Dublin and Ireland.