Ever thought about working abroad? Want international experience? Here Angela tells us what it's really like to live and work in Luxembourg.
We have spoken previously in Morgan McKinley about the benefits of getting international work experience on your CV. However, I know it is a difficult decision to make when you have to consider changes to your work, but also changes to your lifestyle. With that in mind, I caught up with Angela to discuss her experience first-hand with moving to Luxembourg in 2015 and ultimately changing her lifestyle. The furthest Angela had moved away from home before Luxembourg was Cork (from Limerick) so this was a big decision for her to make but a year on in, things are thankfully going great!
What made you consider relocating from Ireland to Luxembourg in the first place?
The company I worked for have an office in Luxembourg and an advertisement for a role in Luxembourg went out globally in the company and I thought, ‘I’ll go for that – see what happens.’. Six weeks later I was moving my life to Luxembourg. It happened very quickly but I had always heard great things from friends who had gone there previously through college so I was very excited about my new venture.
Moving country is obviously a big upheaval of your life, how did you settle into life in Luxembourg?
It is, moving country to a massive upheaval. As I said I was so excited about the job opportunity that I didn’t really consider the change this move would have on my life – until I landed in Luxembourg that is! It has been a big challenge; I was faced with a new role, a new country and also many different cultures. Luxembourg has very much an international work environment, and being located as it is, there are thousands of people crossing the boarder from Germany and Belgium every day so you never feel alone in your venture so to speak. there are thousands of people crossing the boarder from Germany and Belgium every day so you never feel alone in your venture so to speak.What I needed to remember was that ‘I have made this decision to move here, make the most of it’. Moving country forces you out of your comfort zone, but once you realise it is what it is and make the most of it – things will come into place eventually.
Did you encounter any difficulties in your move? If so, how did you overcome them?
The only real problem I encountered was finding permanent accommodation. My company provided me with a hotel for the first month in order for me to find a place. Being on the ground enabled me to go and see properties and their locations so this definitely eased my journey. Due to the amount of expats coming to Luxembourg, there is a drive in competition for property, and also price. However, if you have any kind of relocation allowance to be able to stay in a hotel/hostel for a week or two and a bit of patience you will find the right place.Moving country forces you out of your comfort zone, but once you realise it is what it is and make the most of it – things will come into place eventually.
What is the work culture like in Luxembourg in comparison to back home in Ireland?
It is different. The working week is longer than Ireland but there are a lot more benefits. As standard it is 25 days holidays a year – and as I work in a bank, which is part of the ‘banking convention of Luxembourg’ we get an additional ten holidays a years. Also salaries as standard are genuinely much higher than Irish salaries. Luxembourg has a reputation as being more expensive than Ireland, and it is but with higher salaries you can off-set that expense and still expect to save!As I work in a bank, which is part of the ‘banking convention of Luxembourg’ we get an additional 10 holidays a years. The culture is also different; you are surrounded by many different nationalities and languages which at the beginning can be very daunting, it is something you need to adjust to – and they also need to adjust you and your Irish ways and colloquial speech!
What is the social scene like?
The social scene here is great – once you find it. There is actually a large Irish community here, needless to say my first stop once I dropped my bags at my hotel was the Irish pub! It’s a nice reminder that you are not alone here, there are lots of Irish who are in the same situation as you and who have actually been here years – which is a positive sign. There is actually a large Irish community hereBut of course the locals are also exceptionally friendly and very interesting people so it’s also great meeting new people and finding out interesting things/recommendations for Luxembourg that you didn’t know. Being so central on the continent, the selection of eateries and wine bars/pubs are some of the best I have come across. With that said it is very common to be dining out with people from work or with friends three to four nights a week (unless you don’t have a rubber arm like me).
How do you generally spend your downtime, weekends etc.?
There is always stuff to do on the weekends which is a big plus of living here. Sport, including the local Luxembourg GAA team, is a big focus of people’s downtime here. Whether you want to get involved, or be a spectator the option is yours. On Saturdays in particular I try to make the most of my location. I sometimes go across the border to Germany for some shopping and different festivals which seem to be on weekly.I sometimes go across the border to Germany for some shopping and different festivals which seem to be on weekly. A trip to Germany takes about 60 minutes and will set you back around €13 return by train-beats our Irish transport system any day.
A lot of the time there is something happening in Luxembourg. In the run-up the Christmas there are Christmas markets all over the city, which you can never tire of. In the summer as the weather is normally very good – there are lots of outdoors events organised, concerts festivals and open air cinemas. I have been on more long weekend ski trips in the last year then I have in my life so far. It is just so easy and cheap to travel amongst countries and with the holiday allowance quite generous, it’s the perfect excuse.If you have the opportunity and are in a position to relocate, than 100% do it. I really don’t think you will look back, I certainly haven’t to date.
How would you sum up life in Luxembourg in one sentence?
Life in Luxembourg is a very relaxing way of life, people here work hard but also reward themselves well leading to nothing but enjoyment.
For people considering a move to Luxembourg currently, what would you say to them?
If you have the opportunity and are in a position to relocate, than 100% do it. I really don’t think you will look back, I certainly haven’t to date.
If Angela’s own experience has you considering a move to Luxembourg, we are currently recruiting for a number of finance positions at both part/newly qualified and manager level which I am more than happy to discuss. Contact me on my details below or a member of the team to plan out your next career move, be it Luxembourg, at home, or further afield.