Moving to Ireland from India was the first step in Cindhu Vinayagamoorthy’s relocation journey, but when she and her husband decided to go one step further and move their family to Galway, that is when they truly found their new home away from home.
Moving is stressful. Moving house can be one of the most traumatic experiences in our lives. Imagine amplifying that by moving country, and with a young daughter.
That is the journey that Cindhu Vinayagamoorthy undertook with her husband when moving to Ireland. And again, a year later, when they relocated to Galway to find their true home.
Luckily, working at Fidelity Investments allowed Vinayagamoorthy the flexibility to work from different bases and ultimately helped her find her new role as a senior software engineer.
Here, Vinayagamoorthy chats to us about her journey from India to Galway and how it not only affected her personal but professional path, too.
‘We were pleasantly surprised at the difference in rent between our small two-bed apartment in Dublin and our three-bed duplex house in Galway’
– CINDHU VINAYAGAMOORTHY
Where are you from and what’s it like there?
I am from Chennai, a busy, lively and majestic city in the south of India. Chennai has a thriving technology sector with some of the biggest IT parks in Asia. The work culture in Chennai is unique as it represents a diverse population with people being very friendly, warm and inclusive.
Chennai has beautiful beaches that include Marina, one of the longest beaches in the world, which is fortunate because the weather there is quite hot throughout the year. The city has a very rich heritage and has lots of museums, art galleries and theatres that celebrate that fact.
How long ago did you relocate and what prompted your decision?
I moved to Ireland in 2018 along with my then two-and-a-half-year-old daughter to join my husband who had come to Dublin to do his master’s.
Just as my husband and I were getting acclimated to the Dublin weather and its numerous accents, we decided it wasn’t enough. We embarked on yet another adventure and relocated to Galway in October 2019 after a year of living in Dublin.
Tell us about your role as a senior software engineer at Fidelity Investments.
I work as a full-stack senior software engineer with expertise in Java EE technologies and frameworks. I am part of an agile team that builds and manages APIs to ingest, process and transform interaction data from multiple channels within the organisation.
What do you like most about your job?
I love how challenging my role is. Not only do I get to work on niche technologies, but also getting to collaborate with different teams who consume the APIs we build. The rapport amongst team members is very good and our managers make sure our efforts are acknowledged and valued.
Fidelity has a diverse range of employee resource groups that caters to people with various interests and needs and I enjoy being a part of the core team of Ireland AERG (Asian Employee Resource Group) that focuses on celebrating the diverse cultures within Fidelity.
What were the biggest challenges of relocating and how did you overcome them?
Although these were exciting times, I will have to admit that the move came with its own set of challenges. To start with, my daughter had to leave behind her preschool. I had to find a new opportunity within Fidelity in Galway, and most importantly, we needed to find a home in Galway and that wasn’t without difficulty, like most cities. What made it even more challenging was that we did our house hunting while still living in Dublin. It was nearly impossible to do that remotely just like many other things in the pre-pandemic era.
My reporting and skip-level managers at Fidelity were very supportive and accommodated my move to Galway. I was able to continue working on my project from Galway until I could find a new opportunity based there. My manager ultimately helped me find a role that promoted me to my current role as a senior software engineer.
My husband’s new job was sponsoring our relocation costs, so the financial challenges were minimal. Before we made the final move, we made multiple day-long trips to Galway to hunt for a house. Fortunately, we got a house we really liked in a beautiful estate that is also quite close to the Galway office. Best of all, there was a preschool close to the house that had an opening for my daughter and was ready to take her in.
What were the major differences between Dublin and Galway?
One of the major differences is the cost of living. We were pleasantly surprised at the difference in rent between our small two-bed apartment in Dublin and our three-bed duplex house in Galway. I was also excited to get my very own garden where I could do grow flowers and vegetables, which is one of my main sources of endorphins these days, especially through all the chaos that the pandemic has brought into our lives. Gardening is definitely helping to keep me sane!
I found living in a peaceful city very much in contrast to the busy streets of Dublin and even busier streets of Chennai. I love the contrast that it brings to my life and keeps it exciting. As exciting as Dublin was, Galway is a breath of fresh air, literally.
What helps to make you feel at home in Galway?
The strong rapport with my teammates made it possible to work seamlessly from the Galway office while my team was in Dublin. My colleagues in Galway were very welcoming and made me feel at home. I joined the AERG core team after moving, which really helped me meet people and make friends in the new location. We organised events to celebrate Diwali, Lunar New Year etc that were lots of fun and helped strengthen the sense of belonging for me within my new environment.
Outside work, we found many lovely people in our neighbourhood who helped us get settled in and made us feel like we belonged here.
What do you like most about your adopted home?
I love that my daughter has more space to play inside the house. I was living in an apartment complex with very little interaction with neighbours (mostly because of lack of time). I had a very long commute and spent almost four-and-a-half hours on the road, taking the bus, Luas and shuttle to work.
In Galway, I live close to work and could walk to the office within 30 minutes before the pandemic. Of course, with the new way of things, it helps having more space within our house to set up home offices for both my husband and me.
What advice would you give to others who are planning to relocate for work?
I am always an advocate for embracing change. My advice to anyone looking to relocate for work would be to prepare for the move well in advance. If possible, it would help to visit the new city before moving or even talk to people living there to get an idea of life in the new city.
If you are thinking of moving outside city limits, try to collect information on the availability of schools or daycare centres for kids and internet bandwidth availability for work, so there are no big surprises and your move is smooth.
I would strongly support moving to Galway from Dublin if lowering the cost of living, more personal space, and experiencing the richness of a rustic and peaceful atmosphere are your goals.