21 Aug
  • By Aizhana Danabekova

The life of an immigrant from Pakistan in Dublin

There are quite a few stereotypes about Ireland such as green clover, Saint Patrick’s Day, medieval castles and leprechauns. Also, how many sunny days there are and why immigrants from all over Europe, Asia, and Latin America come there, it is not so well known. Within the framework of the project “One day in the life of…”, we want to tell a story about the life of an immigrant from Pakistan. His name is Ehtisham Hussain and he has been living in Dublin for five years. He came to get an education and after decided to stay since he feels real freedom in this emerald island.

About life in Pakistan

In the world, Pakistan, unfortunately, does not have a very good reputation because of terrorism, low living standards, corruption, and the story of Pakistani girl Malala Yousafzai. However, the country is fighting against all of this and trying to become more attractive for tourists. Here you can see many ancient relics, Islamic shrines, beautiful landscapes and in addition to this the inhabitants of the country are very hospitable. It is very important for locals that other people in the world understand that the word “Pakistani” does not translate to “terrorist”. Not every Pakistani man hates America, India, or for that matter any other country. They, like all other people, dream of travel, good education, good job and well-being.


In Pakistan I graduated as a software engineer and also worked in an international company. But as my parents always say that education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today, I decided to enrich my knowledge and applied for UCD (University College Dublin), ”tells Ehtisham.

Student life in Ireland

If you plan to come as a student, then you first have to decide how you want to live. There are many options: you can choose a student campus, a separate apartment or family accommodation. Living in the dormitory or with families help to save money, but you have to live according to some established rules. Of course, living separately is expensive, but then you feel free, and there are no rules and prohibitions.

I missed my first two weeks at my university because I had some issues to get an Irish visa. It took long. However, I was so lucky that the university staff understood and was quite helpful, and I was provided extra time to submit my first assignments. But because of my visa problem, I found it difficult to find a suitable accommodation. There were no places at the student dormitories, therefore, I had to live far from my university, but after four months I found a suitable place to live that was near the campus and close to the city centre,” he tells.

Ehtisham recommends all those who are going to come to Dublin, look at ads on particular student sites such as Erasmus students, and be open and friendly with everyone. “There were a lot of students from different countries in my school, so it wasn’t difficult for me to make friends with them. One of the reasons why it was quite easy to find a common language with my groupmates was because I already had an experience to work with international co-workers in my country,” he remembers.

Work in Ireland

Currently, there is about 10% of foreign specialists working in Ireland. Unlike locals or Europeans, it is quite difficult to find a job for people from third-countries. “It took me about five months to be hired as a software engineer,” tells Ehtisham. Therefore, the main problem is to find an employer who agrees to sign a labour contract.

However, there are offices of international companies, such as Google, Facebook, eBay, Microsoft in Dublin. Therefore, qualified specialists can find work in the field of IT and customer support. Our interviewee is presently working in an IT company that designs and develops websites and apps. My company develops native apps for smartphones and tablets. Our apps are scalable, robust and user-friendly as well as being in line with current industry standards and conventions,” tells he.


About life in Ireland

I live close to my office and the city centre. I try to ride a bicycle every day because the city is small. In addition, public transport is expensive. I get to the office for 20-30 minutes by bike, and it takes me one hour by bus. Also, cycling to work is also good for health and good for the environment.”

One of the main holidays in Ireland is St. Patrick’s Day. It is celebrated in March. There are a lot of beautiful parades that pass through the main streets. People come to the place of the ceremony one hour before to take right places.

I like living in Dublin since it is very calm and friendly. The Irish know how to enjoy life, and they are very open and easy-going. Of course, I miss Pakistan, my family, and friends there. But I always try to visit my country and enjoy our Pakistani culture and traditional food,” tells Ehtisham.

Aizhana Danabekova holds a BA in International Relations and is currently studying for an MSocSc in Cultural Sociology at University College Dublin. She started her career in journalism in Almaty, Kazakhstan at Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper.  She wrote articles about different cultures and led the title “Let’s learn Kazakh”.