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Elena Garcia

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I am from the North West of Spain in Valladolid. I was born in Spain and I came to Ireland when I was 20 and I lived in Waterford in the south for 2-3 years and then I came to Dublin. I moved to Nicaragua for a while and then moved back home for family reasons. I came back 4 to 5 years ago so in total I have been around 10-11 years in Ireland. I speak language Spanish as my first language and also speak English.

I came to Ireland through one of these grants, one of these Erasmus grants, an interchange between the different universities in Europe. So I was easily coming for 9 months which turned into 11 years. I was in Waterford since that was where the Erasmus placement was...I had it in my mind to come to Ireland so it was the place that my university offered.

To be honest not that I can was nothing that I can remember, nothing that I was noticable against me but maybe towards other people but everyone is different. Its hard to compare because when I first came to Ireland I came to Waterford and it was a small was probably a bit more of a novelty so people were a bit more curious.

Nowadays not so much because, not only because there would be more Spaniards in Dublin, more of us here. But that is the only thing is that they are nationality is not really a novelty...we are not exotic anymore... If it wasn’t for the weather I would probably stay here forever and ever!

Most of my friends would be mostly Irish, a few Spanish and also Australians, French, different nationalities...I’m very much ingrained in my Spanish would be a mix of everything...most of my recipes would most likely be Spanish but I’m trying to vegetarian so I’m trying to learn a lot of Indian and culturewise I will listen to a bit of everything.

For festivities and so on...I would celebrate obviously the Irish ones and also celebrat the Spanish ones like ‘the three wise men’, which is a special day after Christmas. This is the 6th January. They call it Little Christmas here but for us its when the presents come and its a big tradition that we have. We’ll have friends over who will interchange presents and so on. Yes, I keep my heritage.

If someone has already made a decision to come here it would be vital to learn the language to understand the culture and be able to get to talk to people. Some people tend to keep to themselves and they don’t mix much or whatever. So I say it’s difficult because you have friends from your own country that you can talk your own language; you are in your comfort zone.

But you should join activities or classes where you can get to know people. You have to make the effort. It depends on the kind of experience that you want to have. Different people have different reasons to move into a country and you aunty went to Germany when she was young and spent 5 years there. She doesn’t have a clue about German. She was always in the Spanish community and had someone translating for them.

Elena  Elena


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