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Alpona Dutta, Dublin

Who are you?

I’m currently a postgraduate student in Dublin. I’ve been a freelance content writer for a long time, self-published a novella on Amazon Kindle, have a full-fledged book publishing contract to my name, and am a food blogger.I’ve got a huge affinity for coffee, which only seems to be growing by the day besides being interested in travelling, reading, writing, singing, linguistics, community service and everything new.

Where, when and why did you move abroad?

As a child, I had always fancied studying in the UK. Call it some previous connection or mere admiration, London was my sole aim. I did apply to a couple universities for undergraduate studies but my mother said I was still very immature for the move. After graduation, when I finally had the potential of realising my dream, destiny had a different tale to tell and I couldn’t get into London. Dublin was the next best alternative.

What challenges did you face during the move?

Honestly, I wasn’t happy about Dublin. But I had to move out for exposure and for a fresh start. I didn’t really think I would be affected until the day I landed in Dublin when it dawned on me and I was miserably homesick.

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Are there many other expats in your area?

Yes, quite a few of them.

What do you like about life where you are?

Like I said, I was never content. I’ve always been someone who’s on the move – eager for knowledge, for friendships, for desires. I was very dissatisfied looking at life here. But I was mesmerised by the happiness quotient among people here – how they value their happiness over every other aspect.

What do you dislike about your expat life?

The weather, predominantly. I’m a sun-person. Of course, I’ve emerged fairer 😛 (than what my original complexion had been)

Besides, there’s no nightlife as such. I mean, you cannot always go drinking, can you? You need a detox.

What is the biggest cultural difference you have experienced between your new country and life back home?

The work-life balance. India is a developing country. The Irish economy is far superior in certain aspects. Call it an attempt to up its game, India and the Indians leave no stone unturned in the want for a better life. The Irish, meanwhile, work at their own pace. Both the cultures have their own share of bouquets and brickbats; it’s up to us what we choose.

What do you think of the food and drink in your new country? What are your particular likes or dislikes?

I think from being the spice-loving person, I’ve become Irish in the matters of taste at least. I cannot eat spicy food anymore. At first, the transition was difficult. But the beauty of this petite city does wonders to you.

I switched from cold coffee, that was my lifeline back in India, to drinking cappuccinos and lattes.

What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?

People suggest reading and researching a lot about where you intend to go. You should, but not too much. There should be fun in exploring on your own. I’ve been lost so many times on the streets of Grafton and O’ Connell in Dublin, but it was always fun.

What are your plans for the future?

Baile Atha Cliath (old name for Dublin) has managed to captivate me in its own serene way. Right now, I’m working on a book that focuses on the life of an Indian girl in Ireland, like me. No, it’s not a real-life story 😛

I am aiming for a decent job here alongside aspiring to pursue doctoral studies. Who knows, some years down the line I might even open up a cafe here, owing to my love for coffee.

You can keep up to date with Alpona's adventures on her blog, The Melange Journal.

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