Hi, I’m Adriana, I’m 20, I’m Italian and I’ve been here in Cork for 3 months. I joined the Erasmus+ program, because nearly 6 months ago an Italian firm (Glocal s.r.l.) chose me after having had an interview and having sent my application with CV. Now I’m here, facing my troubles, my questions… just facing my life and what I really am.
I live in accommodation in one of the most central streets in Cork, Parnell Place, with 20 other people… it seems like the Big Brother house! I’m here for an internship at The River Lee Hotel, one of the most famous buildings of the Doyle Collection Ltd. I work in HR department and I’ve never been so happy and so pleased to work in such a beautiful place before.
Well, what about my job? I start at 10.00 in the morning and finish at 16.00, from Monday to Thursday, and then my weekend is completely free. As soon as I walk through the door in the office, I’m always welcomed by Niamh’s smiling face and Lisa’s kindness. Then I start with filing papers, preparing policies for new hires and checking what’s missing, I have to admit I love it. In the end, I just do everything that’s needed!
As for my daily routine, after work I come back home and take care of myself and my things. I need to buy food and everything by myself, so I have started to learn prices of things and the best places to go where I can save money.
I travelled during my Erasmus+ too. I have visited Kinsale and Dublin so far. Kinsale is a very nice place to see, it is small but rich of history and culture. The same goes for Dublin, but the latter is simply a metropole and I find its greatness quite overwhelming. In fact, my best memory is connected to Dublin and its fantastic venues at night… a lot of people, music, lights and so much fun!
Other memorable moments are when bouncers at clubs and pubs let Natalia (my friend) and myself enter, even though we are too young for some kinds of venues… I know it’s a stupid thing to be happy about, but here in Cork, and actually in Ireland, your real age is a limit.
During my stay in Ireland, I found many differences comparing it to Italy: first of all, you Irish people don’t have and don’t use a bidet! The idea of not using bidet for 4 months traumatized my sleep for about 3 weeks!
Then, I noticed that the Irish concept of breakfast perfect matches with the Italian concept of lunch; many Irish people find our Espresso too strong; Irish girls often forget their trousers at home during the weekends; Irish car drivers are really bad at parking and they drive on the wrong side; Irish people have dinner really early in the evening, about 6.00 pm, while in Italy we have it at 9.00.
In Italy the concept of a pub is completely different from the Irish one. I mean, in Italy we use to go to a pub when we’re going to eat something or just chilling out with friends if you don’t want to dance. In Cork, pubs have just replaced Italian clubs. Then, last but not least, here in Ireland, for the first time in my life, I’ve seen bouncer standing out of the venue, asking for IDs… and I’m 20! There’s a sort of discrimination in terms of age, I mean in some pubs you need to be just 18, in others 21, 23, 25 and so on. The same is in terms of clothes, you cannot enter wearing a tracksuit. In Italy, the most important thing is that private parts are covered, if not you can be arrested.
Now, I’m getting serious. The real difference between Italy and Ireland is that Ireland offers jobs to everybody’s asking for it. After an internship you have more chance of being hired than in Italy and moreover, the Irish government always indexes wages and salaries to the increasing inflation, which brings increase of goods’ prices. For this reason, the minimum wage per hour is now €9.15. In Italy, you’ll be paid monthly, not weekly as here, so the employer just decides how much you’re earning, no matter how many hours you worked for.
Overall, as an Italian I think that Ireland, and Cork especially, is a very enjoyable place to visit and to live in, but you really need to be open minded, not nostalgic (because you’ll surely miss a good pizza) and not too young 😉 !
Partnership International offer professional internships and language courses in Ireland. This way you can gain vital work experience and explore what this beautiful country has to offer.
Visit www.partnershipinternational.ie/ireland for more information.