A professional woman is smiling into the camera in the Dún Laoghaire office of Amgen.
Irma Aponte. Image: Amgen

Dún Laoghaire is a ‘home away from home’ for this Puerto Rican woman

3 Jan 2020

Irma Aponte, facilities manager at Amgen, discusses her move from Puerto Rico to Ireland and highlights the things that make her feel at home.

Irma Aponte works as a facilities manager in Amgen, having moved to the company’s Dún Laoghaire base from her home in Puerto Rico. According to her, the atmosphere at her job is “friendly and challenging”, seeing her interact with colleagues to deliver on different tasks each day.

She talked to us about how her experiences with Irish people have made her feel like she’s in “a home away from home” – despite the weather.

‘I love the fact that you can be in a city today, and tomorrow be walking around an ancient sacred site’

Where are you from and what’s it like there?

I am from Cayey, Puerto Rico, which is a small town in the middle of the island of Puerto Rico. It is in the main mountainous ridge of the island, so that makes me a real ‘culchie’.

How long have you been in Ireland?

I’ve been in Ireland for seven-ish years.

What prompted your decision to move here?

I was working with a project team that was moving over to Dublin to complete what today is our Production Module 3 in Amgen Dún Laoghaire.

What’s your role in Amgen?

I am currently a facilities manager on site, responsible for the inspection programme, space management and the engagement – or change management – programme for our next-generation workplace.

How would you describe your working environment?

Friendly and challenging.

What do you like most about your job?

The different tasks that you get to perform on a daily basis and being able to work with people.

Was it difficult to adjust to living and working in Ireland?

Yes, it was very difficult at first.

What surprised you about moving to Ireland, if anything?

I was surprised about the pharmacies. I am very used to a Walgreens or a CVS, which are like small shopping centres that are open 24 hours. I still miss that!

How does your working life help to make you feel at home here?

I have a family here now – my husband is Irish and my two boys are ‘Irish-Ricans’. The culture has many similarities with my own, so I do feel like I am at a home away from home.

What do you like most about your adopted home?

The people! Irish people are very nice, they make us immigrants feel like we’re at home. I also like that I feel safe at night when walking around. I love the fact that you can be in a city today, and tomorrow be walking around an ancient sacred site.

There are so many things to love about Ireland: the people, the culture, the place. Not the weather, though…

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