Software engineer from Hong Kong reflects on 20 years in Ireland
Philomena Taig, senior software engineering lead, AOL Ireland

Software engineer from Hong Kong reflects on 20 years in Ireland

16 Sep 2014

Philomena Taig, senior software engineering lead at AOL Ireland, tells us why she chose Ireland as a place to live and work after an education in England.

Where are you from?

I was born in Hong Kong. It is a very vibrant city, full of nightlife, great for shopping – oh, and the food: mmmmm! It’s hot, too. In the winter the temperature rarely drops below 10°C.

How long have you been in Ireland?

I moved to Ireland in August 1995 – OMG! So, next year I will be here 20 years!

Why did you move here?

Before I moved to Ireland, I was in England. I finished college and could not find a job. I heard about the Celtic Tiger, so I followed the paw prints.

What work do you do?

I am a web developer and I also lead a team of eight other developers at AOL.

How would you describe your working environment?

Multicultural, friendly – I don’t want to sound cheesy but it does feel like one great big family.

What do you like most about your job?

The diversity of the projects, the challenge and the pressure (though I might not like it that much at the time!).

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

One thing that I found most difficult – and it could never change – is that no matter how integrated I am into Irish society, as long as I look Asian, I will always be a foreigner to people who don’t know me.

What surprised you about moving to Ireland?

It’s so long ago now, I can’t remember. Maybe the way that, when an Irish person agrees with you, they ‘breathe in’.

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

It sure does. I guess it is because I didn’t grow up here and I don’t have family here, so most of my work colleagues are also my friends. Every now and then I also meet up with a few colleagues from my previous company to catch up, too.

What do you like most about your adopted home?

I love it, I bought a house and totally feel settled. I even joined the Negative Equity Club! I made friends with a few neighbours, as well, as I have a couple of work colleagues who live nearby. I also try to partake in local volunteer work, etc, to do my bit for the community.

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