Java engineer from China sees Dublin as second hometown

2 Jul 2015

Yang Song, a Java engineer at AOL, talks to about the view from AOL’s Kilmainham offices, and her struggles with the wind.

Where are you from?

I’m from Wuhan, a big city in the centre of China, with a 3,500-year-long history. It’s just beside the Yangtze river — the third longest in the world — and over nine million people live there. A trading port and transportation hub, it was home to the first military factory in China, and one of the first modern universities. The city has strong ties with France, with many French companies locating in the city and investing in it.

Wuhan is a very modern and well-developed city, with historical tourist attractions, parks built by tech companies, top universities and other institutions, and delicious spicy food. Tennis is very popular in the city, too, as Li Na [the former world no. 2 ranked player] was born and raised there.

How long have you been in Ireland?

Since 2009.

Why did you move here?

I had been planning to move abroad for a few years before I graduated. It was a natural choice for me to see what it was like to live abroad. I thought living in Europe could give me better work-life balance. As an English-speaking country, Ireland is a comfortable place to live, regardless of the weather…

What work do you do?

I’m a Java engineer for advertisement booking and the serving system.

How would you describe your working environment?

I really like my work, my colleagues and the office. The office is on the ninth floor, from where I can enjoy the great view of Dublin every day. I visit the onsite gym at least twice a week, and I make friends there, too. The AOLers are very nice and helpful. Volunteering, sports and social events make my life in AOL more enjoyable.

What do you like most about your job?

First, the business AOL does is very interesting and challenging. Our online advertisement delivery system serves all the major players in the tech and IT industries, and delivers billions of impressions (an internet user opening a website page) daily.

We’re also not afraid of using new technologies and tools in our job. There are many tech talks organised every month, and I can always learn something from my colleagues and by using the technology in my work.

Last, but not least, I have a bunch of lovely colleagues who make the work day more enjoyable.

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

Not really. I went to DCU before I joined AOL. Since then, I have made many friends, not only from China and Ireland, but also from other countries. We get together during the weekends to attend events or just talk about our lives and jobs.

What surprised you about moving to Ireland, if anything?

The wind. When I was in China, my parents put plants in the balcony with no problem, but the wind will blow everything away here!

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

AOL organises many sports and social events. Our floor will organise our own events if we have guests coming, or for any special occasion. Those events keep me busy and happy after work. Besides, I can work from home if needed, which helps.

What do you like most about your adopted home?

After so many years, I consider Dublin as my second hometown. I enjoy the hospitality and humour of the friendly people here, the beautiful parks in the city, the clean, fresh air, and the scenery and landscape of Ireland in general.

Kirsty Tobin
By Kirsty Tobin

Kirsty Tobin served as careers editor of Silicon Republic from 2015 up to August 2017. When she was younger, she had a dream where she started and won a fight with a T-Rex, so she’s pretty sure she kicked butt at this, too. Passions include eating all the cake, watching more TV than is healthy and sassy comebacks.

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