“My Irish life”, as I like to call it, began in September 2016. I arrived in Ireland from Bosnia and Herzegovina (a non EU country), so in order to stay in the country long-term I had to marry my boyfriend. This also meant becoming 100 percent dependent on him and his work permit as I settled into life in Dublin.
Before I arrived in Dublin, I knew that the biggest attribute I had was my proficiency in English – I studied it in school and this helped me a lot when I arrived in the country. However, while this was a help, a major challenge I encountered was that I was on a Stamp 3 permission to remain. Stamp 3 holders are not permitted to work in Ireland, so I was immediately jolted into a sort of living limbo.
My options were to find an employer that would give me a work permit, or for my husband to became an Irish citizen. Alternatively, if I had a baby then they would become an Irish citizen automatically if one of the parents was living in the Ireland more than three years. So, those were my options, and all of them required a certain amount of patience as I settled into my new Dublin life.
Truthfully, I wasn’t too upset about my situation because my husband had a fine job and he was able to take care of both of us, however I know that not everyone is as lucky as I am. Nonetheless, I decided to use the free time to get to know Dublin, the country and the people. To try and integrate as best I could. I also used this time to learn a new language, since English wasn’t new to me, I choose Spanish. It was a good opportunity for me to improve my language skills while also being able to meet new people.
This was important for me because one issue that I encountered in my first few months in Dublin was that I felt my social life was suffering a lot. Since I wasn’t working and didn’t have any real friends, all the people I knew and socialised with were from my husband’s work. They were courteous and considerate but maybe not the people that I would personally choose to hang out with normally.
Settling into life in Dublin
Thankfully, a couple of months later, I made a Bosnian friend who introduced me to a whole lot of the life hacks needed to progress with life in Ireland. Needless to say, this helped me a lot. Honestly, having her there made a huge difference to me, and eased my transition into my new Irish life. From little things like knowing where to buy certain groceries or pieces of hardware to where to go out during the day or night, she was a massive help. We even took a little road trip and visited the Ring of Kerry together in 2017. So, those are the good things that helped me survive my first year in Ireland while not working or having any family or friends there. But what about the challenges I encountered during that first year?
As I said earlier, language was not an issue, but the lack of a work permit definitely was. Not being able to work meant I spent most of my days at home, by myself, so I couldn’t meet too many new people. For me, that was the hardest part. Apart from that, I also knew that I would have quite a big gap in my CV, and would need to be able to explain that once I start looking for jobs. To counteract this I started taking online courses and learned a range of new skills, I even started blogging so you can read more about my life here if you have the time.
Overall, my transition to life in Ireland wasn’t that big of a deal. Ireland is a beautiful country and you can find lots of things to see and do. There are many breathtaking places to visit, as well as a wide range of courses to take; both of these things made me feel less alone during my first few months in the country.
On top of that, people are mostly friendly and easy going. So, if you’re into clubbing or trying new bars then you can always meet a pal or two. The down side of all of all the stuff that I’ve just mentioned is that it isn’t cheap. As you may know, Dublin is one of the most expensive cities in Europe. And honestly, I wouldn’t recommend moving here without having a secure job and a place to stay. The madness of finding a home to call your own is unreal, and the prices are only going up each year.
However, the truth is that many newcomers face similar issues and there are many online groups where you can find information and get some support. I really like that in Ireland people are not afraid of saying what’s bothering them or sharing their experiences. At least you know, you’re not alone.
I will stop here, and conclude this post like this: In Dublin, everyone minds their own business but they will help you out, if you ask them nicely.
If you like to find out more about Emina’s Irish life, then visit eminagasal.com