When Fergal Farrelly returned to Ireland from a round-the-world trip that took in Asia, Oceania and North America, he knew he wanted to go back to Australia. The lifestyle, the proximity to the beach and the weather were too much to say goodbye to for the last time. However, travel requires money and at 22, it was time he started his career.
Fast forward 12 months and just as he was about to be made permanent in his role as a QC Chemist, Fergal decided to go back to Australia. Now, after a further two years away, he’s back in Ireland. We asked Fergal to talk us through his experience from Ireland to Australia and back again.
What made you decide to go back to Australia?
“My girlfriend, she’s a teacher, was having trouble finding work here with the moratorium on recruitment – so it seemed like a good time for both of us to go. I wanted to go back anyway after the trip the year before, and I knew I could find work when we came back, so we decided to go.”
Where did you live over there?
“We went to Melbourne, for the weather and the cost of living was a lot lower than places like Sydney. When we tell people how much we paid in rent they don’t believe us. The transport there was amazing too – that’s really important when you don’t have a car.”
What did you do?
“I did some science work – the regulation over there is very different to here so it wasn’t exactly the same and there wasn’t actually a lot of work down there. I spent a lot of time working in pensions. My girlfriend couldn’t find much teaching work either – she ended up working in accounts. A scientist and a teacher working in finance.”
Did you enjoy living there?
“I loved the lifestyle over there. You’re close to the beach, the people are great and the weather is great – a lot different to Dublin. I would’ve stayed another two years, to keep the option of going back in the future, but we decided to come back this year. My girlfriend needed to get her H.Dip and it seemed like a good time to come back and get work.”
Did you find it difficult to find a job?
“Not really, I know some people who have found it hard to get work but I had a job within three weeks. I had worked with Cpl before I left so when I came back I contacted a few agencies and had four job offers within a couple of weeks – including this QC Analyst job through Cpl which I decided to take. So I was very lucky, it seemed like I came back at just the right time.”
What was the transition like coming home?
“After a month it was really like we’d never left. Nothing had really changed, we still see the same friends, go to the same pubs. The first few weeks are a bit weird. You end up coming back to live with your parents, most people do. That takes a bit of getting used to, we were okay but I know a lot of people who really struggled with that. Things like car insurance, tax, rent – they took a bit of getting used to as well. You forget how much these things cost.”
Did anything surprise you when you came back?
“Yeah we had no bank accounts or phones – that was a big shock. Apparently your bank account can be shut down after six months, we weren’t prepared for that. We lost our phone numbers too – I never knew they’d expire but apparently they delete them or even give them to someone else. That’s what we were told.”
Finally, what advice would you give to someone coming back from Australia?
“First of all for people who are still there, if you’re doing superannuation don’t pay someone to do it for you. Most Irish people end up paying $600-$700 for someone to do it but it’s really easy to do yourself – I did it. All you have to do is go to the ATO – the Australian Tax Office.”
“Other than that, just be prepared. Save some money so you can get car insurance, pay a deposit on rent – and make sure you have references. You’ll need them if you’re trying to get a place when you come home so don’t forget to get them before you leave.”