When Leo first arrived in Ireland, he wasn’t impressed. “Yes, the people were friendly but I was shocked by the weather,” admits the 29-year-old from Southern Brazil. “It was the end of October and I found it very cold.” Fast forward to now and the PHP programmer who works for Alison – an e-learning company in Galway – has completely changed his mind and plans to stay for years, if not indefinitely. So how did this happen?
Coming from an IT background, Ireland was an obvious choice for Leo given the wealth of tech jobs here. Having enrolled in an IT course in 2010 in Brazil, he’d also founded a web design company at the same time. In fact, he and his partner in the company found they were so inundated with work that he dropped out of the course in his second year. “We were doing really well and I just didn’t have the time to study on top of the workload,” he says. Then in 2013, they were approached to join a larger company in Brazil which they did. It proved a lucrative partnership, but Leo soon found he wasn’t enjoying the work. “I was very stressed with the workload. I’d lost my passion for IT,” he says. “I realised I needed a big life change, so I started to consider going abroad.”
Moving to Ireland
The fact that he had an Italian passport means he could work in Ireland easily. Better yet, he also speaks good English. “I had a Brazilian friend living here and he encouraged me to come,” says Leo, who arrived here without secured employment. He took a job as a barman in Dublin for a year and a half before he found the right tech job. “I enjoyed working as a barman because it allowed me to meet a lot of people and make new friends,” he says. “When I was offered a job in Galway working with Alison however, I decided to go for it.”
He now works as a PHP programmer – a job that, at the moment, involves overhauling the company website. “It’s challenging work but I enjoy it,” he says. “I work with a team of seven or eight people. It’s a good working environment and my colleagues are friendly. Many of them come from a tech background so we have similar interests.” There is a growing tech community in Galway with many companies located nearby in Galway Technology Park. “There are lots of tech opportunities here,” says Leo. “Only last month, the company I work for were recruiting. It’s an exciting time for the tech industry.”
Weekends in Ireland
At the weekends, Leo enjoys going to bars and restaurants. “The bars in Ireland are fantastic and probably one of the best things about living here,” he says. “But I also like to keep fit. I go to the gym and I swim regularly too.” It took him a few months but he’s settled into life in Galway now and made many friends. He says: “Some are Irish and some are Spanish. I’d encourage anyone to come to Ireland. It’s a great experience.”