Sabina Sirbu, ad operations lead at Quantcast, tells us why she chose Ireland as a place to live and work, and how she still has so much more of the country to discover.
Where are you from?
I come from a sunny and breezy city called Constanța, on the Black Sea coast. You know how that Groove Armada song goes, “If you’re fond of sand dunes and salty air …”? The summer months are very much like that. There’s enough sunlight for everyone to bathe in during the day, and breezy evenings to cool you off while you’re drinking ice-cold beer on a terrace with a sea view.
The winter months – well, they’re boring, and it is widely believed that Romanians from Constanța mainly hibernate during that time.
How long have you been in Ireland?
I’ve been living here for almost five years. They tell me that once I’ve reached the five-year mark in August, symptoms of Irishness will start appearing but I don’t believe them. I mean, my hair turning red and randomly spouting Irish words? That’s áiféiseach!
Why did you move here?
My pursuit of some challenges in education led me to UCD (University College Dublin) and a master’s in media and international conflict. Also, I fell in love with an Irish boy. He is now an Irish man, and we are still in love.
What work do you do?
As an ad operations lead, I am in charge of ensuring the creative material we receive from clients follows specifications, as well as testing it once implemented in our system and making sure everything functions the way it’s supposed to. Watching pixels fire and finding out why they don’t is a lot of fun, if you’re into that sort of thing.
How would you describe your working environment?
I work alongside incredibly intelligent people with a wicked sense of humour – what could be better? Quantcast people are the coolest tech geeks you’ll ever get to meet. We’re really friendly, too!
What do you like most about your job?
Two words: three screens. When it’s a busy day and you have Excel spreadsheets laid out on screen one, are testing an interface on screen two, have an output window on screen three, and you’re blasting out some power songs off your Spotify – it’s like being plugged into The Matrix.
Was it difficult to adjust to living and working in Ireland?
This is no word of a lie: Irish people are incredibly friendly and welcome you with open arms. I truly feel at home here.
What surprised you about moving to Ireland?
This is going to sound incredibly particular but after having lived in Norway for four years doing my undergrad, using a debit card became second nature to me. As an international student in Oslo, getting a debit card was top priority after getting a residence permit as it can also be used as ID. You could also swipe for everything: shopping online, groceries, bus fare, taxis, etc. Switching back to using cash was a difficult thing for me given that, in 2009, Ireland was still using Laser.
How does your working life help to make you feel at home here?
Working along both Irish and international people helps a lot. You get both “inside” and “outside” perspectives on life here in general, or, more importantly, the weather. However, being part of a small team like Quantcast is at the moment, feels a lot like being part of a family. Everyone cares for each other here, and a lot of us spend time together, even outside working hours.
What do you like most about your adopted home?
There is so much cultural variety in Dublin alone, and so much to do. Countless cafés, pubs, art shows, festivals, museums, farmers’ markets, concerts, film festivals, flea markets, parades, charity runs – you name it. And discovering Dublin is barely even scratching the surface. I still have so much of Ireland left to discover, with gorgeous scenery at every step and cities so vibrant and different from one another, you’d swear you’re in a different country altogether. I firmly believe that I could reach 60 and still discover something completely unique here.