Laura Stroe, software engineer at Intel, tells us why she chose Ireland as a place to live and work, and how Shannon offers remarkable access to anywhere in the world.
Where are you from?
I was born and grew up in Craiova, in south-west Romania, about two-and-a-half hours from Bucharest. It has mainly four seasons, with very hot and dry summers.
It has a good university that produces eminent engineers in electronic and computer areas. It’s the heart of Oltenia, a region recognised for being a land blessed with beautiful, happy, hearty, talented people – I am proud to be part of them.
The downside is that the city is still under development, and is looking for ways to become one of Europe’s elite cities. I hope that it will find its way sooner rather than later.
How long have you been in Ireland?
I have been living in Ireland for two years.
Why did you move here?
I initially did not intend to emigrate to Ireland. I decided several years ago that I wanted to travel and decided to come to Ireland for a short period as a contractor for another company based in Shannon. Living in Ireland made me want to stay.
What work do you do?
Currently I am a software engineer, but Intel gives one the opportunity to do much more than the job itself. So, besides my day-to-day work I also participate in innovation sessions – a gathering where each person comes up with ideas and tries to implement them as research projects. Recently I joined the ‘Society of Women Engineers’, which Intel operates, as a council member.
How would you describe your working environment?
As long as you are playing by the rules you are encouraged to be creative. The work is varied, which is probably the dream of most engineers. I have access to a fantastic laboratory in Shannon, working on many different areas of development and working with people from all over the world.
What do you like most about your job?
As a software engineer you have to be both an engineer and an artist. As an artist every software engineer wants to be original and their code to be unique. Like with music, which has a limited number of notes that are arranged in a scale, software engineering is limited by the syntax and capabilities of the language in which we are writing our code. But you can create beautiful compositions. It is challenging, as long as you get this freedom to create.
It is logic and when you make mistakes you can easily undo them. We all know from primary school that we learn the best lessons from our mistakes. So, the more software you write and the more mistakes you make, the more you learn.
Was it difficult to adjust to living and working in Ireland?
As I said, I didn’t come to live here, I came to combine a little bit of traveling with work. As a software engineer you cannot say that you are working in isolation. Even if you are working in the US, Asia or Europe, you are doing the same job and have to interact with other teams from different corners of the world.
I started to meet local people and become more familiar with the Irish culture. I was like a sponge because I thought that I would only be in Ireland for six months, but the time passed quickly and I became very familiar with Irish habits and customs. After one year I realised that it was not a matter of traveling anymore – I was living here now.
The only problem would be the weather, but I guess this is what makes Ireland the country and culture that it is.
What surprised you about moving to Ireland?
You feel instantly welcomed. I didn’t feel this anywhere else in Europe. Most of the people say that it is only Irish curiosity, but day-by-day events reinforced my belief that Ireland is the easiest country to emigrate to and still feel part of the community.
How does your working life help to make you feel at home here?
The first place you integrate into the society/community is at work, and from there you will learn how to integrate into the Irish community as a whole.
What do you like most about your adopted home?
Located on the very western edge of Europe, Limerick is close to some very remote and wild landscapes on the west coast of Ireland, being at the same time a gateway towards America – it’s only a six-hour flight to New York from Shannon airport. It is a very easy way and straight procedure to obtain a visa for the US and spend a long weekend in America.
This is definitely a privilege that I obtained by living here. In the same time you can have other inland flights to Europe from Shannon airport, leaving on Friday and returning on Sunday. Many times I just left the office in Shannon on a Friday afternoon and two hours later I was in Berlin.
Another thing that I like in Shannon is the community – it is very tight. And last but not least the green of Ireland, which is an appeal to nature lovers like myself.