I’ve gotten many emails over the past few years of people who come across my blog and want to know “How did you do it?” How, at 22 years of age, did I move from South Louisiana to Dublin, Ireland? Did you do it through a program? Did you have a job? How did you afford it? Was it scary?
Well, folks, I’ll tell you how I did it. I up and moved to Dublin, with no job or place to live, because of a little something known as the Working Holiday Authorisation – an amazing yet little-known program between Ireland and citizens of The US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Hong Kong, Chile, South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan.
The rules and requirements vary slightly from country to country. For the purpose of this post I’m focusing on the Working Holiday Authorisation offered to people from the United States.
I’m a little late on writing this post, as technically last Thursday marked a month of living in Ireland. But, that just goes to show how insanely hectic life has been since I moved here!
Just for a little background info, my friend Maggie and I moved to Dublin on a year-long working holiday authorization visa. When we moved across the Atlantic at the end of April, we had no jobs and no places to live lined up. Not nerve-wracking at all, right?!
I have been dying, and I mean DYING, to finally share my big news! I have been looking into the Irish Working Holiday Authorization for months now. I’ve been preparing all the necessary paperwork, filling out the application, gathering documents, etc and I finally submitted my visa application to the Irish Consulate Embassy in Chicago a few weeks back. Since then, I’ve been waiting patiently to hear back from them, since it usually takes about 3 weeks.
Well, I got my approval email this week, so I’m finally approved for the visa which means I’M MOVING TO IRELAND FOR A YEAR, YA’LL!
The way the Working Holiday Authorization works for US citizens is that it allows anyone who’s graduated in the last 12 months to live and work in Ireland from 4 months up to a year. You have to submit documentation from your university and have certain funds available in your bank account, along with the application and a few other documents, but besides that its not super difficult to be accepted. Even so, I was still nervous about my application because I sometimes have the worst luck. But not this time!
This is literally a dream come true. I’ve always wanted to live abroad. I’ve always wanted to get out of Louisiana and live in a new, different place. So I figured, why not now? I have no pets, no boyfriend, a newly ended lease (so I’ll be living with my parents until I leave), no furniture, no reason to delay my dream any longer other than some student loans and the fact that people keep telling me its crazy. I just had to get the guts to say, “Ok. I’m doing this. I’m going to move to a foreign country where I don’t know anyone and just live there for a year.”
It took some convincing, but my parents finally came around too. Sure, the idea sounds a little crazy at first, but once you stop and think about it, is it really that crazy? Its something I want to do and although my parent’s initial reaction was to tell me to wait, why should I? If I wait and be cautious, something will always come up. I’ll have a pet or a super hot boyfriend I can’t leave behind (unlikely), I’ll have a mortgage, or various other excuses. NOW is the time to do something like this, when I’m young and don’t have much to my name. So finally, my parents came to see that and I got their blessing. (I would’ve gone anyway, without their blessing, since I’m paying for it all myself. But, I would MUCH rather have them on my side and don’t want to leave with them mad at me.)
1. Well, let me start off by saying that I LOVE Ireland. The people, the culture, the weather, everything. I’ve been lucky enough to visit Dublin twice, and each time has been amazing. I find the people there to be a lot like the people of the deep South, where I’m from – super nice, friendly, and welcoming. Everyone in Ireland loves their country SO MUCH, and wants to make sure you do too. They’re welcoming to Americans (something I can’t say for every place I’ve visited) and seem to just have a love of life (and Guinness). The landscape of the country is absolutely beautiful. Even though I LOVE Dublin, I also wouldn’t be opposed to living/working in another city like Limerick or Cork.
2. There are tons of other countries that have some sort of Working Holiday/Youth Visas that usually last for about a year. But many of the ones I looked at (I was specifically interested in New Zealand) can be used by anyone under 30. The Irish one, however, is only for people who’ve graduated in the last year. My time was ticking since I graduated this past May. So I figured I could always do another Working Holiday in New Zealand or somewhere else later, once I’m back from Ireland (if I have any money left).
3. The accents. Are just. THE BEST.
Sure, I’ll probably be working some random job that has absolutely nothing to do with what I graduated college in, and I’ll probably be living on a tight budget, and I’ll probably miss my family and friends so much. I’m showing up to Ireland and “winging it,” and have no idea what’s going to happen. But ya know, I would regret it more if I didn’t take this chance. I’ll be an expat in a new place. It’s the great unknown. And its just the best/most exhilarating feeling.
I’m aiming to leave late April and can’t wait to update you on my journey!