Andrea Grandi, software engineer at Intel, tells us why he chose Ireland as a place to live and work, and how quickly he and his girlfriend settled in.
Where are you from?
I am from Massa Lombarda, a small town in the North of Italy with about 10,000 inhabitants.
It is a very quiet place surrounded by countryside, located less than an hour from Ravenna and the Adriatic Sea.
The main city in the surroundings is Imola, very popular for the racing track that once hosted the F1.
Although the race has long left the track, people are still very passionate about motorsports and someone even refers to the region as the Motor Valley.
How long have you been in Ireland?
My adventure in Ireland started in June last year when I joined Intel. It had been on my list of places to visit for awhile, but I had never had a chance to visit the country before.
Why did you move here?
I was looking for new challenges and opportunities to learn, as I am still at the beginning of my career. When I was offered a position at Intel I did not think twice and I went for the job.
I had already worked away from home, as I spent more than one year abroad between the US and the UK. Although they were both terrific experiences, these were temporary jobs and I had never bought a one-way flight before.
After almost one year I am still very happy with my decision and I am not planning to move for awhile.
What work do you do?
I am software engineer in the ‘Data Centre Group’ of Intel. At the moment my focus is on cryptography and I work on open-source projects (like OpenSSL, Apache and Nginx) to make sure they take advantage of Intel’s new hardware.
How would you describe your working environment?
My experience in the office has been very positive from the very beginning, as it is a very friendly environment. Intel Shannon is an R&D centre, hence it is not as big as the manufacturing plant in Leixlip: after a short time all the faces look familiar and you quickly become part of the group.
The company fosters diversity and I work with people from many different countries and with very different backgrounds. I think this is a unique chance for both professional and personal growth.
It is also a dynamic environment, especially now that the office is growing. The continuous change poses many challenges and requires people to have an open mindset, but I think it is also very stimulating.
What do you like most about your job?
Intel is a very big company and even though sometimes I still feel a bit lost, it offers infinite opportunities. For example, I can spend part of my time working on innovation projects of my choice.
This allows me to develop skills in areas that are outside my daily work and gives me the chance to meet developers from other Intel offices around the world.
I also like the flexibility in the working hours and the possibility of working from home: it really improves the work-life balance.
Was it difficult to adjust to living and working in Ireland?
I arrived in Ireland only a week before starting my new job and I still didn’t have any accommodation. The company helped me with the relocation and within five days I found an apartment and I completed all the paperwork.
The flexibility of the working hours was also very important at the beginning when I was settling down.
What surprised you about moving to Ireland?
I had friends that moved to Ireland over the past years and they shared with me their experiences and their stories so there were no big surprises when I arrived here. I wasn't expecting to get used to my new adopted home so quickly, though. My girlfriend relocated here a few weeks after me and she settled down very well, too.
How does your working life help to make you feel at home here?
The company sponsors the sport and social club and there is a group of employees who put in a lot of effort to organise events inside and outside the office. They really do an amazing job and being involved in these activities is a great way to know people and become part of the community.
What do you like most about your adopted home?
The people I met here: most of them have been incredibly friendly and it is especially thanks to them that my experience in Ireland has been great so far!