‘The price and standard of housing in Ireland really shocked me’
Recent arrivals speak about settling into Irish tech hub and battle to find a place to live
Jakob Zitzow and Natasha Talos moved to Ireland in September 2017.
As new figures from the Central Statistics Office reveal that 84,600 people immigrated into Ireland in the 12 months to April 2017, the highest figure since 2008, recent arrivals share their stories about why they came to live in Ireland, and what their experience has been like so far.
Jakob Zitzow, Germany
Jakob Zitzow had spent four years working in Vienna when he decided to apply for a masters degree abroad. “There’s a programme in Austria where you can leave your job for 12 months and the Austrian state pays you an amount of your former salary to go into formal education. I was able to combine the programme with a masters in digital marketing strategy here in Dublin.”
Zitzow, who is originally from Germany, and his girlfriend, Natasha Talos, both worked in telecommunications and had heard about the rapidly growing tech scene in Ireland. “We wanted to do 2-3 years abroad together and Dublin was a good choice because of the economic environment and there’s lots of international companies here. We’d also heard good things from friends already living here.”
The couple made a short trip to Ireland in August to get “a glimpse of the city”, before moving over in the first week of September 2017. They stayed in Airbnb accommodation while searching for a place to live.
“That was the biggest challenge. We wanted to live in the city centre but it was way too expensive. I wrote about 300 emails and only got about 50 replies. We found an apartment a little outside the city in Blackrock and we’re really happy there but it’s nearly double the price of our apartment in Vienna.”
Zitzow is now studying at Trinity College and likes getting back into “the student vibe”. “I was working in a real business environment so it’s cool to be a student again and meet a lot of international people.”
He says his girlfriend is also enjoying her new job at one of the major tech companies. “It’s really vibrant here and there’s a lot of things happening. It’s also a really young city, that surprised me. I was not used to that in Vienna.”
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Deepak Budhiraja, India
Deepak Budhiraja didn’t know anyone in Ireland when he arrived in September 2017 to begin his new job. “My image of Dublin was of a typical European city and I think it is really fitting into that image. People here are warm and there’s a good work-life balance.”
Budhiraja was working in his home city of New Delhi when he was contacted by Accenture with a job offer. Having already spent seven years in the United States, he had no problem with moving halfway across the world for work. However, he did find the initial weeks in Dublin quite challenging.
“It was difficult to get information about stuff like how to do your finances. That information was not readily available and I couldn’t find it mentioned on websites.”
Like most others who have arrived in Ireland in recent years, he also struggled to find an affordable place to live. “Accommodation has been the red dot for me here. I had friends who said I should start looking two months before I came here but places were scarcely available. There were very minimal choices for where you want to live and how you want to live.”
Budhiraja eventually found a place near Phoenix park and has started making friends through his work and Facebook groups. “I joined one group which was expats in Ireland and I joined another which caters to my interests around music. Once I settle down I want to begin piano lessons in my free time. I already play, I’m between a starter and immediate level, it’s something I want to do for myself.”
Asked whether he plans to stay in Ireland long-term, Budhiraja says he’s always on the lookout for a permanent home. “I’m not the kind of guy who wants to keep on moving. The thought in my head currently is I’m going to stay here for a while but I’m always looking for a long-term place.”
Alexander Martin, UK
When Alexander Martin woke up the morning after the 2016 Brexit referendum, the first thing he did was check the exchange rate for Sterling. “I saw it dropping so in the long term I thought it would be better to move somewhere that was growing. I had read that lots of businesses were looking at migrating to Ireland so I thought I’ll try Dublin.”
After more than a year of travelling through southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand, Martin had decided to try to find work closer to home. With his family in the Lake District in northwest England, he began looking for employment opportunities in Dublin.
In May 2017, Martin and his German girlfriend arrived in Ireland. “I’d never been to Ireland before but my girlfriend had lived in Cork. We started searching for a place to live straight away.”
The couple spend the first few days in a hostel before renting a room in a private home. Eventually they found an apartment near Parnell Square in Dublin’s city centre. “We went to so many viewings and you’d be there with ten couples all trying to make an impression. I don’t really understand how they pick people. The price and standard of housing here really shocked me.”
Despite their housing struggles, Martin feels he’s made the right decision by moving here. “In Dublin people are really genuine. It’s not like places like Manchester, people don’t have time and can brush you off. Meeting people here has been quite easy and my girlfriend loves it .”