Javier Berrocal, automation software engineer at AOL, tells us why he chose Ireland as a place to live and work, and how he has transformed into a GAA fan.
Where are you from?
I am from A Coruña, a city in Galicia, in the north-west of Spain. It is a peninsula and it has one of the busiest (and most beautiful) ports of the Atlantic Ocean. Curiously enough, A Coruña (as most cities and villages in Galicia) has a Celtic heritage that connects directly with Ireland. Some people may know it also for its famous football team: Deportivo de La Coruña.
People there are very friendly once you get to know them, thus the motto of the city is ‘A Coruña, the city where nobody is a stranger’.
How long have you been in Ireland?
I came in January 2009 although I visited Dublin before, in 2008.
Why did you move here?
A good friend of mine who was living here at the time suggested I should give it a try. I came in 2008 for two weeks to do some tourism and I loved it here. Then I decided to come back some months later to stay for a long period. Also, it helped that my older brother used to spend some of his summers in Tralee and he has great memories of Ireland.
What work do you do?
I am an automation engineer at AOL. I work mostly in designing automated test cases and automating other processes related to builds, deployments and installations.
How would you describe your working environment?
It is a young environment. People here come from all around the world with different backgrounds. The atmosphere is really nice.
What do you like most about your job?
Since moving to AOL, I’ve been involved in a lot of projects, which I think is good to keep you learning and challenging yourself. Besides, I like that my colleagues are very open to sharing ideas. In addition to that, AOL is a company that promotes social activities, sports, charity events, etc.
Was it difficult to adjust to living and working in Ireland?
Not too much. As often happens when you’re abroad, you miss your family and friends but Ireland has a lot to offer and it’s easy to meet people here.
What surprised you about moving to Ireland?
I think it has to be GAA. I had never seen it before but now I follow it on TV. I wear my GAA Dublin jersey for the special occasions.
How does your working life help to make you feel at home here?
I like that there is a very good balance between professional and personal life. That makes things so much easier when it comes to adapting to a new place.
What do you like most about your adopted home?
Irish people are very easygoing and polite. I’ve always found Irish culture very interesting and I enjoy driving around the island. Even though I’m a big fan of Dublin, I love travelling south when I have the chance.
I also like the fact that Dublin is very well connected to most cities in the world, which has been a great opportunity for me to fly to many places in the past few years.