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 Ewa Szwed, a software engineer at AOL.
Where are you from?
I come from Opole in Poland. It is a town in south-west Poland with around 120,000 people and is famous for being the ‘capital of Polish song’. We have had a music festival there since the early Sixties, every year at summertime. From my youth I always remember this place to be very friendly to various music and art events.
I moved from there in 2006 for the student exchange programme in Scotland. I lived in Dundee for two and a half years and then in Kraków in Poland for two years.
How long have you been in Ireland?
I am here three years and not planning to change it for now.
Why did you move here?
I got a good job offer from AOL just when I was looking for a change in my career and life in general. I always thought of Dublin as a nice place I would like to see and explore so the opportunity appeared even better.
What work do you do?
I’m a software engineer for the AOL Search back-end systems.
How would you describe your working environment?
From the beginning, people were very friendly and helpful. I got great help from the company in organising my move from Poland, including initial accommodation.
I started working with AOL at the end of 2010 when the Dublin office was still located in Citywest. The working area was organised differently there; everybody had their own ‘boxes’ which were really separate from the others.
I like the new office more because of the location (city centre) and the way working units are organised. It is easier to approach people when you have a question or simply want to share something work-related that comes to your mind. I also think that it influences the working atmosphere, which is much better here.
What do you like most about your job?
AOL helped me to see work as integral part of my life where I can very often find real satisfaction and fulfilment. They understand that well-being at work influences one’s well-being in general and this in turn increases productivity and effectiveness and allows everybody to be happy and to succeed.
Was it difficult to adjust to living and working in Ireland?
Not really. The most difficult thing is separation from family and friends. Fortunately, Skype and other messengers exist and short, spontaneous trips abroad are more and more possible these days. I am really happy, though, that my husband is here with me.
What surprised you about moving to Ireland?
I am not easily surprised, in general! Really, I find Irish people have lots in common with Polish – mostly they are both good, genuine lads.
How does your working life help to make you feel at home here?
I have not experienced being homesick in Dublin, maybe because this was not the first move I made in my life. I am also not very attached to the notion of home; I do not think about it too much and try to see new positive things around me instead. I try to focus on here and now. AOL is great in providing ways to relax and socialise, including organising various events for employees.
What do you like most about your adopted home?
My job, my friends, colleagues in the office, the city and small adventures every day.
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