USIT Travel

USIT Travel

About

USIT Travel is a student and youth travel company, with it's headquarters based in Dublin, Ireland. USIT specializes in Work Abroad Programmes for the USA and Canada, Australia and New Zealand as well as Volunteer Programmes in Asia and Africa. USIT also runs reciprocal programmes for students and recent graduates to come and work in Ireland.

What makes USIT special is that we have seven offices located around Ireland, including Cork, Limerick, Galway, Athlone, Waterford and Dublin as well as a dedicated call centre with staff that have travelled the World dozens of times over! Our Dublin branch has a Work in Ireland centre, where programe participants can come in and use the various resources available to them (computers, printers, job boards) as well as talk to Aisling, the program co-ordinator about any issues they are having/advice they need. It's a home away from home!

Website
www.usit.ie
Founded
1959

Reviews

Default avatar
Stephanie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

After graduating from University I decided to finally fulfill my dream of living abroad in Ireland. I was incredibly excited but at the same time nervous because this would be my first trip abroad, all alone. This fear was quickly squashed because the program made it SOO easy to meet people from all over the world. Within the first week of my arrival I was already headed to a house party with a bunch of participants from the program! I learned invaluable communication skills, gained confidence, knowledge and an incurable desire for travel.
I learned about Irish music, culture and even a little bit of the Irish language from my Irish friends (Ishka Baha being an important one ;) ).
The most difficult aspect of the program for me was opening up a bank account as a foreigner. The banks really depend on you having a proof of address in order to open up a bank account. I had no proof of this, as I did not have any bills in my name or any government documents showing where I lived. After 3 months, with lots of tears, letters back and forth and nagging I was finally able to open up an account. I think the most valuable information I should have taken from the very helpful USIT orientation was to wait to apply for my PPS number until I had a place to live, as this can be used as proof as address.
There is so much more to write, but if you are thinking of taking a gap year to live abroad, just do it! I was able to travel all over Ireland and Europe in my 2 years in Ireland. I have friends all around the world now and memories and experiences that I will treasure for a life time. It will be an experience you will not regret!

What would you improve about this program?
For me the toughest part was opening up a bank account. I think more information and resources available for participants who encounter this problem would be a great asset.
Default avatar
Jessie
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Ireland is the place to go if you want to learn about culture, family and growing as a human being. The people have ties that go way back, traditions passed on through the generations. They're very loyal, family-oriented, and genuinely interested in keeping everyone happy and safe. After living with a family here, I've realized how to treat each other, how to take care o one another without looking for something in return. Everything is simple here, and you star to appreciate all the little things you might have taken for granted your whole life. There are beautiful sights to see, history to hear, and pubs to visit, but the people are what really make a difference.

What would you improve about this program?
I would change how the orientation is presented. It lacked some vital information on certain issues, such as opening bank accounts. The program should also forewarn participants in advanced, before arriving in Ireland, about current housing situations and how difficult it can be to do things that would be assumed to be simple, such as opening a bank account and finding apartments.
Default avatar
Brianna
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The Work in Ireland program at USIT has been a life savor! I could not be more satisfied with the service they have given, and continue to give me every day. In college I spent a year studying abroad in Germany and absolutely fell in love with Europe. I travelled to 16 different countries, but without a doubt, my favorite was Ireland. The warm, welcoming, nonjudgemental, and happy culture that's here is incomparable to anywhere else in this world that I have travelled.
Moving to a new country is an extremely overwhelming experience, no matter how many times you've done it, and if you're anything like me, and need to have someone to turn to with questions, then the Work in Ireland program at USIT is perfect for you.

I was in contact with the program on a weekly basis, even months before I moved to Ireland. They helped me with everything from what to bring, where to stay, when to arrive, how to prepare and were there for me every step of the way in applying for my visa. Once I arrived in Ireland, the orientation was absolutely fabulous. I would have been completely lost without it. There are so many things you would not even think about, that you need to do, and USIT is there to help with it all. They provided all resources and the staff were so supportive and caring. I could genuinely tell that they wanted me to be successful here. I even ended up finding a job in USIT, and I could not be more grateful for that opportunity!

I have been loving my year in Ireland, I just wish it wasn't flying by quite as fast! For me, the best part is being able to travel all the time, such short distances, at such low costs. It's incredible! It's definitely a huge adjustment moving across the world, but I am so happy I did it with USIT!

What would you improve about this program?
It's hard to think of something to improve, because I honestly got everything out of the program that I was expecting to. As I am someone who has come here with a purpose to travel, it would be neat if they had some type of board where people could post where they are traveling to. It could be a good way to hear other peoples tips and reviews, or maybe even find someone else to travel with!
Default avatar
Tara
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

USIT staff were extremely helpful with questions regarding living accommodations, where to do groceries, tax information, job assistance, socials, etc... My year in Ireland is one of the best decisions I've made and I'm itching to return! Biggest tip would be: just go! You won't regret it and the staff at USIT are there for you every step of the way.

Default avatar
Kalli
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I have moved and lived in several different countries and as I get older and do not have college to rely on it has been harder and harder to meet people and USIT has been so incredibly helpful with events, orientation, and just general basic help. Everyone is always kind and tries to help you in any way they can, even if it's just for a good rant or a chat with someone. I was very lucky to already have met some people in Ireland before coming over and live with 5 other Irish roommates so I get a great eye and earful of what it's meant to be Irish (Love/Hate can only teach you so much), but I know that has not always been the case for other first-comers and USIT/SWAP has been so great with accessible information and kudos to Aisling for putting up with us crazy foreigners!
Through the programme I found a job within the first month of moving over and thanks to my leap card I can actually get to work easily.
I could not recommend this way of travel more, to really experience a culture, surrounding yourself with activities and Irish-ness (don't just go to Copper's folks!) it has been crucial.

What would you improve about this program?
You should get some snow! For Ice hockey... just saying :) But in all seriousness, I think you could get SWAP/Pretend Irish Sweatshirts, just in case my accent doesn't give it away enough. And I know it's not really the programme's responsibility, but maybe some sort of public transport deal? Or with the tours so we can see things other than Grafton street (which I knew first from The Script!)

Programs

Displaying 1 - 3 of 3

Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Brianna Moore

Brianna has always had a passion for travel and wanderlust to explore the world and it's cultures. She studied Hospitality and Tourism Management at San Diego State University and took advantage of a one year study abroad opportunity in Germany, before heading off for a year adventure in Ireland after graduation. She loves travelling and will never give it up, but she knows that nothing can compare to her beautiful home of sunny California.
head shot

Why did you pick this program?

Brianna: I studied abroad in Germany for a year in college. During that time I had created a bucket list of every place in Europe I promised myself I would travel to. Of course, Ireland was on that list. I came here for 2 weeks and absolutely fell in love with the country.

The best part about it was the culture. I had seen nothing like it in all of the oher countries I had seen. The people were SO friendly and warm and welcoming and nonjudgemental and open to EVERYONE. It was incredible. I felt like everwhere I went people wanted to help me and wanted to hear my story. Everyone was so genuinely kind, it was overwhelming.

From that trip, I knew that no matter what, I was coming back to live there one day. So, sure enough, as soon as I moved home to the States, I literally googled "how to move to Ireland". I stumbled upon USIT's Work in Ireland program and it looked like everything I was looking for. I contacted a staff member with some questions, and about a week and a couple emails later, I was filling out the application forms for the program.

night

What do you wish someone had told you before you went abroad?

Brianna: I think the most valuable lessons I have learned from my travels would be to not arrive with any expectations. Rather than putting your energy and time into imagining exactly what the experience is going to be like, instead focus on what you want to make it for yourself.

Set realistic goals for yourself, that you have the power to control, that way you won't ever be let down. For example, before I moved abroad I made a list of all the countries I wanted to travel to no matter what. I knew that I had full control over the places I traveled to, so I made sure to make each one of those trips happen.

For me, the whole point of traveling is to explore other cultures and meet people from all different walks of life, so another goal I set for myself was to focus my friendships on people from other countries. If I had wanted to surround myself with all Americans, then why would I even be traveling in the first place? I was able to achieve everything I wanted out of my traveling experience, because the only expectations I had were on things I had the power to control.

What is the most important thing you learned abroad?

Brianna: Moving abroad really forces you to appreciate everything you take for granted back at home. That is actually one of the reasons I love traveling so much though, it teaches you to really take a look at your own life and how fortunate you are.

Being away from home for 9 months already, I am missing so many things that I never even thought twice about having before. But it is a great feeling to be able to return home and be so thankful for everything you have and everyone you have.

Traveling has also taught me to be proud from where I am from. Whenever I tell people I am from California, their eyes light up and they ask me all about it. It's so cool to be from a place that everyone wants to visit!

castle

What do you tell your friends who are thinking about going abroad?

Brianna: DO IT. You're never going to know unless you try. My experience in Ireland has not at all been what I was anticipating, but now when I am looking back at my life when I am 60 years old I will never need to wonder "what if". That is a fabulous feeling to know that you embraced every opportunity and dream you had at such a young age.

Fortunately, I had the support of family and friends, but it was still a very scary leap to take. I regret nothing though, and I am appreciating the experience for what it is. I think it is so incredible to say you actually lived in another country and experienced living in another culture.

The world is such a big and beautiful place and it is so important to embrace all the opportunities you can to see what else is out there and to open up your eyes, perspectives and judgements.

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Aisling Murray

Job Title
Program Coordinator
Aisling is the Program Coordinator for the Work in Ireland Program at USIT. Although Aisling is originally from Dublin, she has also lived and studied abroad in various parts of the world and has a passion for different cultures and languages. During her time at university, Aisling studied International Business and Languages and since then she has worked mainly in Tourism and Recruitment. Aisling is also an international Water Polo player and plays piano in an up and coming Dublin band.

What position do you hold at USIT and why do you like working there?

Aisling: I am the Work in Ireland Program Coordinator here in USIT Dublin. My job extends from providing initial visa application assistance, conducting orientation sessions with new-comers, dealing with general set-up queries, providing CV advice and arranging program social events. It really is a mixed bag, but I love it!

As Program Coordinator, every day is completely different to the last and I’m given the opportunity to help people along their adventure here in Ireland. Every day, the Work in Ireland team strive to ensure all participants have the most positive and unforgettable experience here in Ireland and at the end of the day; I suppose that’s the most important thing.

What do you find most fulfilling about your interactions with participants?

Aisling: Being the head of the work in Ireland program can be quite a roller-coaster of emotion at times and as Program coordinator, I need to be with participants every step of the way.

As with any transition into a new culture or living environment, there will always be challenges to face, whether it’s battling homesickness or trying to find that perfect job.

I think the most fulfilling part of my job is when a participant has just secured a job and a nice place to live and all of a sudden, they’ve arrived! After this, everything else falls into place and the participant can really begin living out the experience here in Ireland.

What is the level of cultural immersion your participants receive?

Aisling: I’ve always said that the only way to ever truly understand a new language or culture is total immersion and that is exactly what the participants on the Work in Ireland program are experiencing here in Ireland.

From day 1 participants are greeted by a local team in the resource centre and given an ‘insider’s guide’ to life in Ireland at their orientation session.

Participants will also find themselves living with Irish people or working in an Irish work environment with lots of locals at some stage or another, so it really isn’t long before you get into the swing of things! Many participants even pick up some "Irishisms" along the way. “What's the craic?” and “Sure it's grand!” being the most commonly adopted phrases within the program. I love hearing participants come out with such Irish expressions a couple of months into their stay.

What is one common misconception about taking a gap year?

Aisling: Oftentimes people can mistake a Gap year for a ‘doss’ year but this doesn't have to be the case, especially if you are taking a gap year in Ireland.

For those more career oriented individuals, why not look up some of the huge multinational companies based in Ireland. Companies such as Facebook, PayPal, Ebay, LinkedIn, Airbnb, Amazon, Apple and Google all have their EU Headquarters here and are constantly looking for new talent. Gain concrete work experience, within highly regarded companies whilst taking in all that Ireland has to offer! Sounds good to me!