The Irish are historically well known for their emigrant status globally most commonly the United States and the United Kingdom. In the past 150 years Ireland has experienced many highs and lows in terms of the economy and employment, most notably the current significant economic downturn that has caused many young Irish to contemplate a stint abroad. I mention the term ‘stint’ because as it has been well documented that when the economy improves the influx of Irish increases. Maybe it is the longing for Tayto crisps and Club orange or merely the craving for smalltime island living where life is slow paced and you are a big fish living in a small pond.
Personally, I think the Irish media are awash with negative images of emigration in general. The Irish government are doing absolutely nothing to create a better situation for graduates or citizens in general to remain on the Irish shores. I feel it is a huge flaw within the Irish media failing to produce a positive alternative, whether foreign or domestic. That is why I am here to tell you 5 reasons why you SHOULD emigrate. For many Australia is just that bit too far to establish yourself as a 12 hour gap ahead means another time schedule altogether, as we wake up in Ireland many Aussies are heading to bed. America, East or West, is an attractive location because lets face it, being Irish everyone is attracted to making this obsolete ‘American Dream’ happen in their lives. London on the other hand is within the same timezone as Ireland, just a different currency, a currency that seems to hold more weight than our dwindling ‘Monopoly’ currency, the Euro. Awkward topic for conversation! Lets get back on a positive note why emigration is a positive notion:
For many Irish graduates a two week booze-fest to Ibiza is just about sufficient before the clean clothes and the longing for mammy’s homemade dinners become reality. Emigration is the perfect opportunity to go out into the big bad and increasingly competitive world to prove just how well you can manage daily life by yourself. Earning your own money, paying your rent, cooking, cleaning, washing, all the things that some of us Irish twenty-somethings still rely on our parents for every now and then. Just think how proud your parents will be to know you are out there making it all on your own.
The independence to go wherever you want, do whatever you want, and whatever time you want is all in YOUR hands. With all this independence comes responsibility so don’t be one of those drunken edjits abroad who adds to our negative stereotype of being big drinkers who enjoy a scrap after a few. You might be 10,000 miles away from Ireland but as the world becomes more and more connected through social media, we all hear about it.
2. Experience a Different Lifestyle / Culture-
In my opinion there is nothing more exciting than experiencing a new culture or even trying to pick up a new language. Seeing how other people live their lives can give you a great perspective of your own life. As you immerse yourself into your surroundings you begin to see similarities or differences in your new environment and sometimes they can be positive or negative. To take away the positives and learn from the negatives is the best knowledge you can gain from living abroad.
Last summer I spent two months teaching English in Sicily and it was there I noticed obvious contrasting cultural and social differences. Teenagers and young adults had a sense of respect for their parents and elders in general, something you wouldn’t see too often in Ireland. The dinner table was the ‘heart’ of the family ,eating. One dinner lasted nearly three hours on night. Alcohol had another social and cultural difference to Ireland. The obsession to solely ‘get drunk’ was non-existent, in fact, an embarrassment. Many of the girls didn’t drink alcohol and the guys had two or three beers maximum. On the other hand, the wastage problem was an evident issue as weeks of rubbish manifested and began to decompose right outside my apartment door. Bills were paid, but unfortunately government corruption is still something that still causes huge difficulty for everyday living in Sicily.
3. Meet New People – New Friendships and Relationships-
Meeting people abroad, whether it is on holiday or through emigration, you can often meet people that you remain friends for life with. That comfort zone of remaining at home with your usual clique from school or other half can often make it daunting to make the big move. Remember – your twenties are the best years of your life to go out and explore, meeting people and creating unforgettable memories. Don’t get tied down when you don’t have to.
When I had just turned 19 years old I moved to Milan to Au pair. One week I dropped out of university and the next week I was in Milan, Italy. It was probably the best time of my life. I met some amazing people from all over the globe with whom I remain great friends with to this today.
4. A Healthier Lifestyle-
Lets be honest, in Ireland we experience all four seasons in one day and if it doesn’t rain for 24 hours we all start to worry. “Jaysus, we are experiencing a bit of a drought, better go out and water the plants.” (even though they are already waterlogged) I have an old neighbour and anytime I see her out walking she has the same one-liner, “Isn’t fine weather we are having Holly? Absolutely beauuuuutiful,” in her thick Kerry accent. When it is lashing rain she is giving out, “Ahhh dreadddddful weather we are having isn’t it Holly?” Weather it is a hot topic in Ireland, always the conversation starter.
Moving abroad can often mean you get the chance to experience a climate that obeys the seasons. To have snow during the winter gives you the perfect opportunity to try out skiing or snowboarding, something you may never have tried before in Ireland.
Having the guarantee of an actual warm summer to look forward to can be something so many people live for. Days at the beach, not having to carry an umbrella and a big rain jacket around in July, and generally being able to plan your day without the threat of the occasional torrential downpour. Australia, America, South America, Southern Europe and Asia are all destinations to find this sort of desired climate, basically anywhere but Ireland. Just don’t forget your sunblock! In the end it is up to you to take advantage of your new lifestyle, profit from your new surroundings. By taking up a sport it means you can meet some of the locals and integrate yourself into the local community, all done while showing off some of your new or old skills.
5. Not Taking Part in ‘JobBridge’ – Actually Making Use of Your Degree or Qualifications-
One of my parent’s friends who is in the financial industry recently said to me that it will probably take well over 20 years for any kind of stability to occur in Ireland. In fact, he nearly applauded at the idea of emigration, a sense of ‘you would be crazy no to’. For many I think this is hard to swallow but sometimes you need to a realistic opinion. Something I heard through the grape vine and i’m sure it is nothing new to be heard but, the only thing bankers moan about these days is THEIR fat bonus’ that have been thieved from them. God love them really!
I have heard so many people who have graduated say they are going to stay in Ireland just another year more and hopefully find employment in relation to their degree. Two or three years later they are still working in retail or the local newsagents waiting for that job that is never going to happen here. I know for many financing your way out is a struggle of its own. Think about it though, you have worked at least three years on an undergraduate degree, don’t let that go. Hours of study, exams passed and money have gone into achieving that piece of paper so go out into the world, wherever it may be and use it.
I hope my five reasons to emigrate were helpful if you are planning to make the big move or you already have. Just remember one thing, emigration doesn’t have to be permanent and if it is, who knows? Maybe it was meant to be. You could end up being happier than you ever expected. While you are young get out there and explore the world.
Have you emigrated or planning to? Let me know your thoughts below.