With people from all over the world choosing Ireland as a place to live and work, we speak to those that have put down roots in the country. This time, we talk to Alberto Perez Moncada, a software developer at AOL in Dublin.
Where are you from?
I’m from a small town of about 6,000 people in Spain called Infantes. It’s situated 200km south of Madrid in a region called La Mancha, better known for being the homeland of The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha.
Infantes is a small, beautiful town full of history. Its main source of income is farming and tourism, with plenty of celebrations taking place throughout the year.
How long have you been in Ireland?
I came to Dublin in 2009.
Why did you move here?
I always wanted to live abroad, preferably in an English-speaking country. In my opinion, Ireland is, technologically speaking, one of the best places to work in Europe with plenty of international companies based here. For me, it was a natural choice.
What work do you do?
I’m a software developer in AOL Search. I work on the front-end with a group of other great engineers to constantly improve our main product: search.aol.com. I’m also part of new exciting products that have a global impact. My work consists of developing new features around these products in co-ordination with teams in the US, England and China.
How would you describe your working environment?
The work environment in AOL is great. They really look after every employee, considering every personal situation. AOL offers great work flexibility, plenty of social events and several volunteering initiatives throughout the year, helping to make a difference in the community. There is also a games floor, a gym and free breakfast!
What do you like most about your job?
I love the challenges in software development. I like the idea of solving problems to make people’s lives easier, either in work or just surfing the internet. I love to be part of a passionate community. People eat and breathe coding. It’s really inspiring.
In regards to my current role, I like the idea of my work being exposed to the general public. It’s exciting to see your work out there. It also motivates me to build better-quality products. AOL gives me the opportunity to be part of a dynamic industry with constant changes and amazing technological progress.
Was it difficult to adjust to living and working in Ireland?
At first it was difficult to adjust to living far from family and friends but I quickly met new, fantastic people. In fact, I met my fiancée here.
Language was also a difficult barrier, mostly at work. I remember having cold sweats during my first phone calls in English.
Thankfully, Dublin is a very welcoming city and full of people from all over the world, which makes them very helpful and understanding.
What surprised you about moving to Ireland?
I suppose what surprised me the most is the close links that there are between Ireland and Spain throughout history. Learning more about this relationship made me feel less homesick.
What also surprised me is the fact that, despite living on an island, Irish people consume very little fish in their daily diets. The Spanish diet is full of dishes with fish in them, so I’m always looking for fish shops to buy some.
How does your working life help to make you feel at home here?
The flexibility that AOL offers provides me with the possibility to work from home. This allows me the freedom to attend to personal affairs and I can also work from Spain when the necessity arises.
Social events in work, regular nights out and my team in general contribute to me feeling at home in Ireland.
What do you like most about your adopted home?
I find the summers here more comfortable compared to the scorching heat in Spain. The weather here also adds to the beautiful landscape. I enjoy how active people are here; to see so many people cycling around town, on their way to work, etc, inspires me to do the same.
I also like how friendly people are; always merry and up for a laugh. I really admire how charitable and willing people are to give their time and money. This level of commitment is something I haven’t seen before.