18 November 2016

Chelsea Scudder - Expat in Galway, Ireland

Chelsea Scudder - Expat in Galway, Ireland

We’ve had the chance to talk to Chelsea Scudder, 29, an American expat who has moved to Ireland alone. Ms. Scudder who has been living there for two months, now works as a writer.

Read more about her experiences in the full interview below.


Q: Where are you from originally?

A: The United States (Boston, MA)


Q: What made you move out of USA?

A: I’m writing a book and wanted to take some time away to be able to really dive into it!


Q: Where are you living now? How did you come to choose this new country of residence?

A: I’m living in Galway, Ireland. I chose it because I visited Ireland in college and fell in love with it and vowed to come back someday.


Q: How long have you been living in Ireland?

A: I’ve been living here for two months.


Q: Are you living alone or with your family? If yes, how are they adjusting to the Expat Lifestyle?

A: Alone.


Q: Do you miss home and family sometimes? How do you cope with homesickness?

A: I do! Quite often actually. I have two ways of coping: one is to make sure I’m getting out to really immerse myself in being here — going to concerts, events, even bringing a book out to dinner :) I also joined a writers’ group and a book club which have been great ways to meet locals. The second way is making sure to keep in touch with friends and family back home through writing letters, sending emails, and skyping.


Q: What do you think about the locals?

A: The locals are wonderful. Incredibly friendly, polite, and welcoming.


Q: Was it easy making friends and meeting people? Do you mainly socialise with other expats in Ireland? How did you manage to find a social circle there?  

A: It was definitely easier to make friends with expats, but joining a book club and a writing group were great ways to meet locals and to have a built-in plan for seeing them on a regular basis (the book club meets monthly and the writing group weekly). I think a big part of it is a combination of patience and being willing to push yourself outside of your comfort zone a bit. Don’t be afraid to ask someone to join you for a cup of tea or dinner!


Q: How does the cost of living in Ireland compare to your home?

  • Q: How much is a cup of coffee?

A: 2-3 euro.

  • Q: How much is a meal in an inexpensive restaurant?

A: 6-8 euro.

  • Q: How much is a meal in an expensive restaurant?

A: 50 euro.

  • Q: How much is a bottle of wine? How about a pack of cigarettes?

A: 10-12 euro / not sure!


Q: Do you have any tips for future expats when it comes to opening a bank account in Ireland?

A: I’ve kept my bank account in the United States so I can’t be of help here!


Q: How will you describe your experience with government paperwork such as applications for Visa and work permits? Why is that so?

A: I’m only here on a tourist visa so I haven’t really had to deal with the government paperwork side of things. I’ve heard from others that it can be cumbersome but is also quite manageable.


Q: Would you say that healthcare in Ireland is reliable? Any preferred clinics or advice for expats?

A: It does seem reliable. I haven’t had to pay a visit to the doctor yet and am currently covered by traveler’s insurance.


Q: Did you secure a health insurance in the US or Ireland? What should be the essentials in the coverage for expats, in your opinion?

A: If I was going to be staying here longer, I would definitely have figured out a more comprehensive health plan. Since I’m just here for a few months, I kept it simple.


Q: What was the most memorable about the packing and moving process to Ireland? Which was the mover you chose and how was your experience with them?

A: I definitely underestimated how much stuff I had and how long it would take to pack (and I was only living in a studio apartment). I didn’t hire a mover, just bribed friends and family with food! I sold most of my furniture and put everything else into storage. I rented a furnished room in Galway so as to not have to acquire new furniture.


Q: What is the biggest challenge that you have faced as a new expat?

A: I think I underestimated how long it would take to feel more at ease in a brand new place. It takes a while to stop feeling a low hum of disorientation, even if day-to-day things are going great and you’re finding your way around, etc. I had to remind myself to be patient and not expect to immediately feel right at home.


Q: What do you think are the positive and negative sides of living in Ireland?

A: In terms of adjustment, it’s great to be in an English-speaking country. The Irish are warm and friendly - and funny! The culture here is laid-back and vibrant. I happen to like gloomy weather, but that might be a downside for people who don’t much like the rain (it generally rains, mists, or drizzles at some point during the day on most days here).


Q: What are the best things to do in the area? Any particular recommendations for future expats?

A: Galway has a ton of great activities. The Roisin Dubh venue has almost nightly shows and concerts and tickets are often either free or less than 10 euro. Traditional Irish music is a nightly future at many pubs. There are some really great coffee shops right downtown — Coffeewerk & Press and The Lane Cafe are two of my favorites. For great food check out Kai and Ard Bia. Also, the Aran Islands make for a beautiful day trip from Galway.


Q: Do you have plans to move to a different country or back home in the future?

A: I plan to move back to the United States at Christmas. I’ve loved my time here, but I’m ready to be more settled into the place that will be a longer-term home!


Q: What tips will you give to expats living in the country?

A: Take advantage of the friendly and vibrant culture here! Galway is a small city with a lot of neat stuff going on — don’t miss it!


Q: Do you have favourite websites or blogs about Ireland?

A: I don’t I’m afraid!