Expat Stories – Padraig O' Halloran
August 2019   EXPAT STORIES

Expat Stories – Padraig O' Halloran

Padraig O’ Halloran moved from Ireland to the UK in 2016. He works in the marketing department at Cigna Global IPMI.
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This is his expat story.

Tell us about your expat move.

My expat journey started three years ago when I moved from Cork to Newcastle. Like many people in Ireland, I’d always fancied living abroad at some point. I spent a summer working in the USA in 2015 and absolutely loved it.

A year later, I was offered a communications job that was ideally suited to me after I studied journalism at university. I decided to go for it and spent two years working in this job before I was on the move again, this time to Glasgow.

I’ve been living here in Scotland for a year now and haven’t looked back since!

Were there any immediate cultural differences that you found difficult?

To be honest, there weren’t many major cultural differences that I found when I moved away from home. I found there were only small subtle differences between the cultures of Ireland and the UK.

Irish people have a very unique take on a lot of things in life and people’s attitudes can be very laid back. I guess you could say that I’ve found things to be a little bit more serious in the UK, which probably has both positives and negatives.

What did you find were the best ways of making friends as an expat abroad?

I’ve found that it helps to try and bring your hobbies and interests with you wherever you go in the world. This will help you to settle down in your new place and is also a great way of making new friends.

In Newcastle, I spent a lot of time outside of work playing sports with my friends. I did the same when I moved to Glasgow and I now play regularly with a local football team here. I really enjoy keeping fit through playing sports.

Another great way of making friends can be through attending events. The world’s leading expat network, InterNations, often has events on where you can go and interact with other expats.

Overall, I would suggest that expats go out and try to get involved in things as much as you can. This is a great way to interact with locals and get settled in.

What have been some of the biggest highlights from your expat journey so far?

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed travelling and going on some really nice holidays over the past three years. I always try and make the most out of my time off work and this has allowed me to travel to some fantastic places like Vietnam, USA and Germany.

Next up on my bucket list is Scandinavia and I’ll be visiting there later on this month with an old friend of mine from Ireland.

What do you miss about your home country?

Friends and family are definitely what I miss the most from back home. It can sometimes be tricky keeping in touch with people back in Ireland and every now and again I do get a little bit homesick.

But the good thing is that technology these days makes it easy to check in and see what people are up. For this reason, FaceTime and WhatsApp are probably the two apps that I used most of all!

I try and get home to visit Ireland 4 or 5 times a year if I can. Flights are very reasonable and the short distance makes it easy for me to pop home every now and again.

What advice would you give to those who are considering making a move?

The biggest piece of advice I would give would be to try and actually visit the place you are moving to before you go. Before I moved to Newcastle, I’d only been there for a day or two and it was the same when I moved to Glasgow. I even moved into a flat in Glasgow without ever having seen it in person and that wasn’t ideal!

It’s also worth trying to do some research to learn as much as you can about your new place and its culture before you move. This will help you to get an overview and plan out your new life as an expat.

Finally, how would you describe your expat journey in 10 words or less?

Fun, adventure, risk-taking, growth, sports, travel and Barry’s tea!

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