Age at time of emigration: 22
Length of stay: 6 years and counting
Location (area of country): New York, USA
Currently working in (country + discipline): New York, USA. Sports Rehab
1)How long ago did you go to New York?
6 years ago. I graduated from TCD with my bachelors, was offered an athletic scholarship to play soccer while earning my doctorate in PT in the USA, and took it. Still here 6 years later.
2)How did you find the process of preparing to work in America?
Very easy actually, transitioning from a student visa to a working visa for me was a very straight forward process, I was lucky in some regards.
3)Were you able to choose to work in an area that interested you?
Initially no, I had to strategically choose a large hospital system that I knew would offer my sponsorship for a work visa, so right out of college I was not doing exactly the job I wanted to do. I am now though, soon as I got my green card I moved my career in the direction I wanted it to go in – sports rehab.
4)Did you find it easy to integrate into your work environment?
Yes, as I had spent a year earning my doctorate in the American college system, I had met other PT’s who were my classmates but also working in the real world here, and so I had found out a lot of background info about how the American health care system works before I took my first job.
5)What differences, if any, did you find between working as a physio in Ireland and America.
So many, not sure where to begin. PT here is covered by insurance , so insurance companies have a lot of power with regard to number of visits etc. PT’s in USA get pain a lot more than Ireland, which is nice. Everyone I work with has a doctorate in PT. There are post-professional residencies you can apply for through the APTA which is a pathway into the specialty area you have an interest in. I did a 1-year post-professional residency in sports PT, that was my way into my speciality field.
6)What are the 3 best things about working in America?
Sense of opportunity, I am in control of my careeer, actively guiding it.
Money – I get paid well for the excellent work I do, I like that. Personal growth – My current employer emphasizes continuing education and personal and professional development, each year I work I become a better, more educated PT.
7)What are the 3 worst things about working in New York City?
Constant pressure, in Manhattan, you must be on your 'A' game every day.
I feel like I do a lot more work here, the day is always filled , much less tea-breaks and lunch breaks and time wasted that in the Irish healthcare system, so the day is very busy here. Being away from home and loved ones…after the work day, it would be nice to just go home to my family, not possible.
8)How many holiday days did you have per year, and do you think you had sufficient free-time to travel during the year?
25 days vacation…pretty good for USA. Yes, lots of free time to travel, which I make use of well.
9)Could you work with sports teams while living there? If so, what sport, and at what level of team?
Absolutely, I have worked very hard to earn a position with US Soccer, I just travelled to Texas with their U/15 girls national team. Took 5 years and a lot of specialization to earn opportunity, certainly not handed out easy.
10)On return to Ireland, do you feel America helped or hindered your search for a job, in a way that gaining experience in another country would not? Was it significant from the point of view of your CV.
Have no current plans to return at this time.
1)What part of the country did you live in?
2)How would you describe the weather in comparison to Ireland?
4 seasons , very cold winters, very hot summers, I like it better than Ireland.
3)Would you recommend going over with friends or by yourself? Why?
For me, being on my own was best personally, it made me come out of my shell and making new friends was a necessity. Also, I came over to join a college soccer team, so instantly I had 24 teammates and friends. Alone worked out well for me, and I have made amazing friends along the way.
4)What did you make of America’s culture when you first arrived?
No shock really, Ireland is becoming more American day by day, we need to turn off the TV. America is about family and sports, or at least in the small town I began in, that’s what mattered. Also, being Irish was a selling point for me often I found, they just seem to be fond of the Irish.
5)Did you have a good social life while there?
Absolutely. Manhattan is an amazing city to be young and single, any music or drama or pub or club that might take your fancy can be found in this city. Also, here are 2 Irish Social Networks, not as lame as it sounds, and I have met other professionals that way also.
6)What are the most popular past-times in New York?
Running or biking in central park, Crossfit is huge also. Lots of adult leagues if you like to play a sport, thousands of people take part in sport every night of the week. Does drinking count? People drink a lot in NYC also. Maybe it’s just my friends.
7)In comparison with Ireland, is it expensive to live in New York City? What did you find was the most expensive aspect of living there?
Yes, rent is astronomical in Manhattan, as is the price of everything. But the higher wages balance out the cost of living. Food and clothing in general is cheaper than at home.
8)What are the worst things about living in New York?
Not close to family. Isolated at times, people are fickle, hard to make really close friends..transient town.
9)What are the 3 best things about living in New York?
Never short of friends wanting to come to visit me. So many opportunities to meet people, to try new things, to see the world in different way. I love New York.
10)Why did you return to Ireland?
I haven’t, no firm plans to as this time. Wouldn’t rule out coming home, but on my own terms, and only if I felt I could bring the changes that I would want to see in physio, and in the healthcare system in Ireland, in general. No way would I work in the system as it stands at this present time.
And finally, the big one…
How would you rate your experience overall (both professionally and personally) in America, using the rating scale provided? (I’ve been assured of its validity, reliability and appropriateness by my colleagues.)
Defo a 10/10!