Several people emailed me with questions about the Working Holiday Authorization (WHA). I’ve decided to combine the most common questions into one blog post in hopes to help each of you.
What are the living costs of Dublin?
I wish I could tell you all that living in Dublin wasn’t expensive, but it was. The average cost of a pint in Dublin is around 5 euros. That price can move down a little and up a lot depending on where you are and what you’re drinking.
Our bills each month were internet + TV and electricity. Internet + TV is offered in different bundles from different companies. For us, there were five people in the house. Each of us paid 15.75 towards to total cost. The electricity was the booger bear each month. Our heaters were electric heaters. During the winter months, our bill was CRAZY high, but it leveled off in the summer. Also, the electric companies only come check your meter four times a year. The bill that you get usually is an “estimated” bill. Be ware that the price you are paying MAY NOT cover your full usage. They will get that money back by slamming you with a gigantic surprise bill when they do come read the meter.
You should know though that you ARE NOT required to stay in Dublin. You can live anywhere within the Republic of Ireland, so everywhere but the North. The cost of living is much less in other parts of the country. However, because I only lived in Dublin, that is the only country I can really speak of.
**Ireland has recently began to charge for water usage. This literally started October 2014, days after I left. Unfortunately I do not know what the average water usage costs are.
How did you afford the WHA with Student Loans?
Whew! Well! This is a question that I KNOW I was concerned about, my parents were concerned about, and that all of you are concerned about.
Student loans are real and must be paid back on time.
This really depends on your personal situation. My minimum payment for the loans is not that bad. So for the year I was away, I paid the bare, scrapping the bottom, minimum payment. I made sure that I had enough American dollars saved in my account at home to just pull from there. It can be paid from your Irish account if you want to though. Just go talk to the bank about how that can be worked out.
Please please please do not get behind on your student loans. It will mess up your credit and cause your interest to rise. Talk to your American bank, your parents, and call the student loan guys. They will help you in every way possible.
How does it work to get an Irish bank account?
This was one of the most frustrating parts of relocating to Ireland. Warning you now, you will kick, scream, cry, and beg at some point.
The banks in Ireland recently changed their requirements for opening an account. The steps I took are as follows.
- Get an apartment. I recommend DAFT.IE.
- Get a letter from your landlord or the USIT office verifying your address. ***You can only get the verification letter from USIT if you participate in BUNAC. I highly recommend going through their company as you will have points of contact prior to leaving as well as once you’re there.
- Get a PPS number. Must have proof of address to get PPS number, so take letter from no. 2. The visit at the PPS office will take a few hours, so come prepared to kill time.
- Get job. Can’t get a job without PPS number.
- Fill out the proper tax forms. Again, I recommend BUNAC because they will be able to point you in the proper directions here. And you can’t fill out tax information without a job and a PPS number.
- Get verification from tax people. They’ll mail it to your address, or you can go back into the office and they’ll print it for you.
- MAKE AN APPOINTMENT TO OPEN ACCOUNT. You cannot just walk in.
- Open bank account. The bank will require proof of residence, that you have a job, and a PPS number. Hence all of the prior steps.
- Cry from sheer exhaustion and joy that the process is now over.
Opening a bank account was the longest and most frustrating thing I did while abroad. I cannot stress that you make an appointment hard enough. It’s not like it is in America where you can just walk into a bank and be like, “Hey, I wanna open an account!” and they’re like, “Ok, cool. Come sit in my comfy chair while I ask you a bunch of questions.” No. It’s not like that at all.
What kind of employment options are available to people on the WHA?
The nice this about the WHA is that you can take any kind of employment you want.
Most people take work in retail or bar service. Another popular route is temp agencies. I signed up with a temp agency and worked in office administration and reception the entire year. They were really nice and kept me busy. If you want more information on the agency I worked with, send me an email at email@example.com.
If you would like work within the field that you studied in school, you will want to do extensive research prior to your arrival in Ireland.
How long did it take to receive your visa after applying?
I applied for my visa beginning of July and had the official piece of paper in my house in Georgia by the beginning of August.
It usually takes between 6-8 weeks.
How much money would you recommend taking to Ireland?
Sometimes it can take a couple of months to get settled and save up enough Euros to live on just them.
I would say take at least $4,000… I know that’s a lot but it’s really what I would recommend.
Currently, the Euro is stronger than the Dollar. That means every 1usd you spend, you’re only getting .80eur. It’s not very friendly to your wallet. Until you get an Irish bank account open, which frankly can take a couple of months depending on your situation, you’ll only be spending your American money in Ireland. You’ll blow through that money fast.
I recommend taking as much American money as possible.
Did you need a full months rent for a deposit on an apartment?
Yes!! Living in Dublin city center the rent can be rather high. I paid 530 for rent each month and a 550 deposit. So within the first days I was there, I was already out over 1,000 Euros, which is over 1,300 American. If you live outside of city center, rent goes down but you’ll have to pay for the bus and taxis and trains to get into town. It balances itself out.
Renting also has its own terminology.
Single means a twin sized bed.
Double means a full sized bed.
Shared Apartment means your OWN ROOM but SHARING the apartment with other people.
Shared Room means you will be SHARING THE ROOM with another person.
It can be quite confusing at first, but you’ll get the hang of it.
Apartment hunting in Dublin is a fight to the death. Everyone is looking for a place but there never seems to be enough rooms open. Just know that you may be viewing an apartment with 20 other people, and they may not choose you. I lived in a hostel for 10 days before I finally found my apartment, and it was only luck that they chose me.
Again, I recommend checking out DAFT.IE for all of your apartment hunting.
Well! I know this was a super long post, but I hope that I was able to answer some of your questions about the Working Holiday Authorization in Ireland. This in no way covers all of your questions nor does it cover every situation.
If you would like more information, feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a look at BUNAC’s website for more information as well!
Hope so see some of you hopping on an Aer Lingus flight to Dublin soon!!