Moving to a Different Country - My Experience

Sally Dobie discusses her experience of moving from the UK to Ireland

Some people say the chain of events that led to me leaving my home country of the United Kingdom is really dramatic, and maybe compared to some stories it is. It has a happy ending, but we’ll get to that later.  

So, after my first year of university in the UK, I made the decision to leave the country and start again somewhere else.  

The first problem was my studies: I was one year into a journalism course at university, a subject that I wasn’t sure I wanted to do anymore. Could I move somewhere where I could continue my studies? Should I drop out of college altogether and try and find a job?  

I was under pressure to make a decision fast, and it felt like I had to plan the next few years of my life in just a couple of months. Between trying to apply to universities in Ireland through the CAO and contacting working holiday companies in places as far away as Australia, my studies at university suffered. All I knew was that I had to get out of the UK. 

We needed to leave by June of 2017, and I wouldn’t hear back from my college applications until August, so the next question was where would we go? A month after my final exams of year one I was on a plane to Italy, then two weeks later we were on our way to Germany. All this time I was studying for a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) qualification online, in case I didn’t get into university in Ireland. 

We had no purpose and no future, it was a really difficult couple of months just wandering from place to place, without any timeline or ability to make plans. All the time our money was slipping away and we had no way to settle down or to find a job. 

I clearly remember the 5th of August 2017, sitting outside at a restaurant in Krakow, Poland. My phone buzzed, an email from Dublin City University saying my transfer application had been accepted to start their journalism course in September. 

I cried tears of joy, finally we had some hope for our future. We got on a plane a few days later and flew to Dublin. 

The next problem we faced was finding somewhere to live. The housing market in Dublin is in crisis, and finding somewhere that would take couples was hard enough, but on a limited budget we were all but doomed.  

We spent around a month living in homestays and AirBnB. My parents flew over from the UK to spend some time with us and to help us find somewhere to live. We ended up looking at buying a flat instead of renting, which led to a whole host of other problems, but in the long-term it was more sustainable than the cost of rent. 

I started my first year at DCU living in an AirBnB, then in October we finally found a place of our own. We spent the first night sleeping on cardboard boxes in the bedroom of our flat, before managing to buy some furniture a few days later.  

Two years on and Ireland is our home. We came here at a time in my life where I was struggling with depression and a whole heap of regret and doubt, but we were welcomed and have thrived here ever since. We’re still massively in debt to both my parents and my partner’s parents, but the future looks more hopeful every day.  

In the grand scheme of things, I know we were very lucky, we had the support of our parents and friends and were never truly homeless or hopeless, but for me I wondered every day if I had made the right decision; it’s good to know now that I did. 

I know this isn’t a conventional ‘moving countries’ story, but I hope my experience will show you that there’s always hope for the future.