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!