MOVING TO DUBLIN

The Context

I was working in Adidas’ HQ, Germany, when a recruiter from a big multinational messaged me on LinkedIn telling me about this cool opportunity in Dublin. She promised me a full-time position in Digital Marketing for a huge tech company and, since I was actually thinking about learning more about Digital Marketing, I thought “Why not?” and decided to go back to my roots (I am an 8th Irish… laughable, but it still counts!).
I talked to my awesome line manager in Adidas who agreed that it would be a great opportunity and within a month I am on a flight to Europe’s Capital of Tech! Whether the job was the promised one or not is another story for another time. For now I will focus on the moving.

The Main Issue

Accommodation

The first thing that struck me the most about Dublin is the lack of choice in accommodation. In fact, there was no choice at all!
Usually, as soon as I know about a potential new adventure, I look into accommodation and get that out of the way, straight up. I did that for Exeter, Regensburg, Nuremberg… but Dublin? Dublin was a mess. Too much demand and no offer at all.
In Dublin, the landlords have the power. See yourself as a beggar who applies to accommodation and hopes to get picked by the owner or future housemates. You absolutely have to view the house before getting selected. There is so little offer that you could tell that landlords were abusing the system big time! For example, some landlords don’t write contracts (because there is always someone desperate enough to send money and risk it) and some would even charge you to view the house! You could be charged up to 40 euros!! I mean how greedy and unethical is that?! Also, some people are so desperate that they paid for HALF a bed!! That’s right! Some people found themselves bed buddies because rent is so high they can’t afford it and are willing to not only share a room but a bed as well..! Madness!!
Moreover, when I tried to call estate agents to book me in for a viewing they told me I was not eligible because I needed to be in Dublin already and that the appointments were only available for the upcoming days. When I asked why, they simply explained that by the time I would arrive the offer would be gone

The Solution

Since sharing a bed with a random person was out of the question, the only viable solution for me was to arrange a short let and then try and find as quickly as possible a place to stay, by viewing, applying and hoping to not get rejected! For those who don’t know: by short let I mean short lettings, those are apartments that are extremely expensive and that is why you pay for only a few days and not months.
There were other options, such as hostels, hotels and AirBnb. I looked into all of them:
  • hotels were ridiculously expensive because of the market;
  • AirBnb meant that I was living either at 300km from work or sharing a small apartment with the families (cant deal with the lack of privacy);
  • and hostels was out of the question as I tried one in Nuremberg, a very clean city, for two weeks and I barely survived knowing that I had a house after those 2 weeks… how was I suppose to manage in Dublin knowing that I hadn’t sorted accommodation out? You could argue that I am not very resilient but Dublin isn’t the cleanest city and I didn’t want to live a nightmare.
Also, usually big multinationals in Dublin offer a relocation bonus which is money in order to help you with this uncommon situation. I got 3000 euros which is why I allowed myself to be so picky with my decisions. I know other people, in LinkedIn for instance, that don’t get a relocation bonus but instead have a whole accommodation sorted out for them for a month. I would have rather had that because it takes away the burden of still having to look for a short let and deal with the administrative side of things. Also the 3000 is strictly for accommodation therefore it cant be used for anything else.
So if you are in the same situation and are looking for short lets, these are a few resources I checked upon daily before I found mine 2 weeks before flying: Daft, Let and Rent. You can also go on Facebook and ask to join accommodation groups! A lot of people look for people to share an apartment with!

New Country Feels

I have never been someone who needed to travel with someone. Everyone seemed so surprised that I was able to just hop on a flight alone and go somewhere I never visited before without any sort of friend or family to support me emotionally. But I actually like that: no strings attached, no one to check upon, no compromises… It’s about me and what I want to do, the whole time. I get to pick my friends and not feel responsible for anyone, a breath of fresh air. I love fresh starts.
Looking backwards, it was quite a smooth transition, once I found the short let of course. I have been used to moving countries: within the past 5 years I have moved back and forth 5 times. Reading about other people’s adventure, kept me prepared and eased off the stress and the expectations!

First Impressions

The Weather

Dublin welcomed me with a big sunshine at the end of October. I was told that it was rare and to not get too use to it! It has been 5 months (including the whole of winter) and I can say that, indeed, the sun comes out quite rarely. Dublin is extremely dark during winter time: you leave home and work always in darkness and that can really be problematic if you are sensitive to the weather.
This said, I was expecting much harsher temperatures and bitterly cold weather. Although it has been quite dark over winter, a jumper and a thick coat was enough to keep me warm while travelling to work.
Since March, the days are longer and the sun comes out much more often, I am quite pleasantly surprised! I come from Italy so obviously this is not sunny country but for my extremely low expectations and for what I read, this was enough to make me happy.
In May there has been an equal amount of sunny days with blue skies than there has been rainy or gray days. I am in a very happy mood and the sun sets so late it is unreal how much of a contrast it is with winter.

The People

I was quite pleasantly surprised on how diverse and open minded the people are here. It is very uncommon to see such diversity welcomed by such grinning faces. I admire a lot the Irish: most of the “hosts” I have encountered are quite protective of their culture and environment.
What I realized in Dublin is that instead of making the outsiders feel unwanted, they welcome them and start conversations with them and the results are baffling: instead of imposing their own culture, each nationality is celebrating their own customs, while respecting the Irish ones, and it just works. I definitely feel in Ireland although 6/10 people I cross in the streets are probably not Irish.

The Transportation

Transport is legit SO bad. You have the choice between:
  • the DART line (a train that goes only up and down one lane),
  • the LUAS (a couple of extremely slow trams)
  • and the overly crowded buses.
All of them are ridiculously expensive: I pay 2.50 Euros for 5 stops on the LUAS and 99% of the time it is crowded and uncomfortable. But I am faithful that something will change because, with the number of people coming to Dublin, it is impossible to keep going this way.
I have been taxiing a lot recently. I use the MyTaxi app and pay on average 10 euros to go where I need, but that isn’t viable at all. A great alternative is DublinBikes: you pay a membership of 25 euros a year and you can pick and drop bikes at their respective stations which I think is incredible. If someone would have told me that I would bike to work on a cold morning in January I would have laughed at their face. But that is exactly what I did. A lot of people bike despite the fact that there are very little bike lanes available and that the Dublin drivers are mad.

Bureaucracy

PPS Number

As if finding accommodation was not painful enough, it is not the only thing on your to-do-list. First things first, you can’t do anything without the famous PPS number. The PPS number is basically confirmation that you are a resident in Dublin. It is vital to get any of the public services, or opening a bank account, for instance. To get your PPS number you need to first schedule an appointment with this website. This is something you can do before arriving in Dublin because usually they don’t have any appointments for the next 2 to 3 weeks. Once you have one, make sure that you do not arrive late or miss it. If not they will skip you and you will have to reschedule!
You need a few things in order to get your PPS number sorted. If you are from the EU, like me, you will need a Current Valid Passport or National Identity Card, and Evidence of Address in Ireland. The latter can be quite tricky, especially because of the difficulty to find accommodation immediately, so make sure you take any of the below:
  • A household utility bill
  • An official letter/document
  • A financial statement
  • Property lease or tenancy agreement
  • Confirmation of address by a third party such as a hotel/hostel administrator or manager, school principal/administrator or accommodation/property owner*.
If you are not from the EU, this website saved me.

Irish Bank Account

Once you get your PPS number, you will need to open a bank account because most of the companies here require an Irish Bank account specifically. In order to open one you will have to bring:
  • your Passport or National Identity Card,
  • your PPS number
  • and Evidence of Address in Ireland
For some odd reason, the bank didn’t accept my application without a proof that I was employed by my company. I needed to ask HR to write a letter for me specifying where I lived and that I was indeed working for them. Therefore, just in case, I would advise you to ask HR to do that for you and print that letter so that you don’t have the same problem I did!

Taxes

When you finally have both of these elements (that is the hardest part), you need to register for taxes. This is more for your company, so that they pay you the full amount instead of taxing you a lot during your first salary. Each company has a different way to do that, therefore ask HR to guide you so that you can get that out of the way asap.
It is vital for you to do all of these 3 things fast because everything is linked and the more time you spend sorting your taxes out, the more time your company will not pay you the full amount. Dublin is expensive and you will need every euro you can get and, although the company pays it all back to you once you got your taxes sorted, you do not want to live starving for more than a month!!

Conclusion

All in all, I was extremely lucky as I had a situation in which the company I work for helped me a bit with the relocation. I definitely see a lot of people struggling to settle into Dublin and it can take quite some time before you do. That is why it is crucial for you to contact the company, or university, that is welcoming you and ask them the detailed step by step that you need to follow in order to prepare yourself as much as you can before arriving. Do not skip this step. Preparation is key for your well being, especially in Dublin.
Although I can’t stress enough the importance of being well prepared, I can also say that I really enjoy Dublin so far and that I am amazed by how friendly the people are here. I usually don’t see myself living anywhere, hence the constant moving around, but I do in Dublin.

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