Romania born Raluca Pasare moved to NI to work at Ulster University
We spoke to Raluca about her experiences living and working in Northern Ireland
I am originally from Romania and have lived and studied there until 2010 when I moved to England for Higher Education. I studied at the University of Essex and attained a Bachelor and Master’s degree, and I have also studied at Victoria University (UVic) in Canada for a year abroad as part of my degree.
I currently work for Ulster University as one of the Global Engagement and Recruitment Officers. My main focus is promoting Ulster University abroad and recruiting lovely international students to come to our campuses and of course in Northern Ireland.
Deciding to move to Northern Ireland
I had been in Essex for almost 8 years and needed a change. A new and exciting career opportunity came up in Belfast which I was ready for.
I think Northern Ireland is quickly developing and becoming a hub for businesses and high standard education. There are plenty opportunities for career progression and a very supportive environment for personal and professional development.
I tend to refer to the higher education sector in Northern Ireland as an undiscovered gem. I was very surprised to find out how many opportunities students have prior to finishing university and in the same time how few take advantage of them.
The higher education sector in Northern Ireland
I think one of the main advantages of the education sector, specifically higher education is the employability aspect for students. From my experience it is quite rare for universities to almost be able to guarantee internships to students during their degrees.
I believe the environment here is very supportive with many opportunities for improvement and development. I also find the courses very up to date and responding to industry needs.
I quite enjoy the collaborative aspect between industries and the universities here, to create graduates who can step into a job straight after completing university.
Living in Northern Ireland
I knew very little about Northern Ireland before I moved, however I do have a friend who finished a degree here, and she gave me some pointers.
I will admit it was somewhat of a culture shock. I have already transitioned to a different culture twice, through my move to England and then Canada, however Northern Ireland is completely different.
I have moved to Northern Ireland with my partner and he is very much enjoying the environment here and the opportunities he has. My parents have also visited over the festive season and have fallen in love with Belfast and of course the Giant’s Causeways.
It’s not only the different customs that make up the culture, but also the people. The sense of community and camaraderie in Northern Ireland is hard to come by, and the friendliness of people here is amazing.
Comparing to my previous experiences, I think one of the things that Northern Ireland has different is the sense of urgency. In my previous work, as well as school, I believe the phrase ‘surviving on coffee and stress’ is very accurate. Here the work environment is more relaxed and accommodating for people, with far fewer last minute issues and crisis.
Outside of the work environment it’s the friendliness of people but also their genuine curiosity and interest in a different culture or customs.
I think another significant cultural difference, or lifestyle difference is the attention people in Northern Ireland pay to health. Every week and weekend there’s a marathon to run, a swim or a hike to do, and I think that promotes a much healthier lifestyle than my previous experiences. I have yet to understand the rules for Gaelic Football, but I’m working on it!
The benefits of living in Northern Ireland
I think one of the most important things would be the cost of living, both accommodation and food. Here for a higher level of comfort you’d pay less than other parts of the UK and Ireland. I find being able to be part of the community here is also a great benefit.
Would you recommend living in Northern Ireland to others?
Absolutely I would recommend moving to Northern Ireland. I am currently trying to convince two of my friends to move here from the London area, and I cannot recommend Belfast highly enough.