Current Location: New York
Current Status: Happily employed, on an overseas assignment for a great Irish company
You are from Ireland but are currently working in the US. Based on your experiences, would you say being a 20-something in Ireland is similar to being a 20something in the US? Being a 20something everywhere means a little bit of real world but still the choice to take on as much or as little of that as you realistically need to and want. [You can have] fun without guilt or dependents, a certain level of responsibility, but the freedom not to take on too much. If you’re lucky, it means having a job and once your bills are paid and your work is done, your money and free time are your own to spend as you wish. Any city is what you make of it – you can stay in every night in New York or go out every night in Dublin; it’s up to the person. I suppose living somewhere as iconic as New York obliges you to get out there and make the most of every bit of free time you have.
What would you say is one of the biggest differences between young adulthood in Ireland and the United States? College debt – Recent graduates in the US have such a huge yoke to bear, one which their European counterparts cannot even begin to get our heads around. It must be a very oppressive feeling and give a sense of extra pressure to get a good job, along with lack of hope of ever being completely independent. Honestly though, it doesn’t seem to get too many of my US friends down. Maybe such large scale debt is so common and socially acceptable here, I don’t really know. It does mean you have to ‘grow up’ faster here. Recent graduates still have a lot of fun, but you have to work really hard to be able to play hard.
Is there any pressure to marry by a certain age in Ireland? If so, what is the average age that people marry by? Absolutely not. In terms of average, I would say early thirties, but, luckily, there is no social stigma to not being married by then – at least not that I’m aware of!
Do Irish 20somethings feel pressure to rush into a career after college? I don’t think so, certainly not now with the recession. I think it depends so much on your family, peer group, college degree; it’s impossible to generalize. I would definitely say though that now recent graduates are happy to be working, especially within their field, without as much concern for the ‘career ladder’ as perhaps during the ‘Celtic Tiger’ boom years.
Where is your favorite place that you’ve been? In the US: I LOVED Colorado and Chicago had loads of fun in New Orleans. In the world: I love Rio de Janeiro and the surrounding area, and Istanbul and southern Spain – they are all fantastic music destinations. I love anywhere that makes me feel like I’m really experiencing something new and different. *