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Biting the Big Apple: One PR girl on making the move from Cork to New York

From Cork to Dublin to NYC.

BE HONEST – HOW often do you spend fantasising about packing it all in and upping sticks? Do you regularly envisage the other side of the grass as being significantly greener? Can you see yourself as a Carrie, a Serena, a Gaga?

New York is a place more often than not associated with change and opportunity – it’s no wonder that so many people – from Ireland and abroad – head there on visas in a bid to make names for themselves. (There’s a reason why The Wombats sang about moving there 10 years ago.)

One such person was Cork native Ruth Walsh, known by her online moniker as Ruthy Ruby.

Ruth was working in a PR role in Dublin when she decided to hit the brakes and head for the hills.

“When I was 14, I came to New York on a shopping trip with my family”, she tells DailyEdge.ie. “I remember being in awe of the city so the seed was planted then.

“Throughout school and college I always knew that I wanted to do live somewhere that was really cosmopolitan and buzzy. That feeling was probably influenced by my obsession with Sex & The City, Michael Jackson, and my Dad’s countless stories of when he came here in the 70s.

The New York lifestyle of hustle and bustle just really appealed to me. New York, for someone like me, is a little piece of heaven.”

“The vast diversity of people, cultures and styles is very attractive. Put it this way, something was calling me here. I still don’t know exactly what it is or was but it was a strong longing.”

She never felt a pressure to emigrate until the visa process began – it was always a choice born out of desire.

“That’s when I was like ‘Oh, I really need to move there now’”, she says. “It was an uncertain pressure.”

“Moving to New York, for me, is a complete self discovery process with a huge career focus. I have a very balanced outlook to being here. Get career experience in one of the most important cities in the world of public relations and develop my soul.”

Her friends and family backed the move, but the move didn’t come without sacrifices.

“A relationship I really loved ended due to this big move based on pure common sense. So, that was really hard but I have the best friends a woman could ever wish for and my family are angels on earth.

“Of course, we are all sad to be separated but I’m also in New York with great people so it’s just the law of attraction.”

That’s money, honey

Ruth took out a €5k loan to make the move to New York.

“I hadn’t had much saved up as I was on a low wage in my previous job. It’s very expensive here. But, not across the board. You can do things on the cheap but because it’s such a touristy place, you will find prices hike up in different areas.”

Where she did get stung, however, was accommodation.

“I was blessed that my two friends that I’m living with came here six weeks before me so they had the house hunting sorted. I know they used an app called Nooklyn to find our place which is really nice.

“Unfortunately, we were asked to pay six months rent upfront as none of us had any jobs. For the property management team, they needed more security than the usual “first, last and deposit” payment.

I was nearly crying when my friend rang me to tell me this. I was hungover one Sunday in Dublin and I had to ring my parents and ask them for this cash.”

“It was all ok in the end but this is something people need to be aware of when planning to move here. You need a lot of money.”

She’s hoping to stay for a couple of years to gain more experience in her field, before eventually returning to Ireland.

You better work, b*tch

Ruth is currently in New York on the J1 graduate visa, which allows you to work in an entry level position, related to your field of study for up to 12 months. When you get to New York, you have 120 days to secure a job – after that, you are given 30 days to book your flight home if you can’t find one.

“Public relations, marketing and advertising … It’s quite a saturated market over here,” she says, admitting she wasn’t fully prepared for competitive it was either.

“There are loads of jobs but loads of applicants too. My advice would be, to someone who is in the initial phase of deciding to come here, to spend time researching types of jobs, desired companies. Learn a lot about them and tailor your resume and cover letter to them. Use LinkedIn like there is no tomorrow. Reach out to everyone, be tenacious.

“It can take weeks for larger companies to get back to you and in New York, some companies just don’t care enough about you to give feedback etc.

I suppose what I’m trying to get across is that you need a thick skin. There are so many other people looking for the job you want, too. Be prepared for the rat race.”

If I knew then what I know now …

What advice would she give someone thinking of making a similar move?

“Save save save. Save close to 10k if you can. You need to have enough money to cope with everything as you don’t know what you could face here in terms of rent or bills. Also, it’s important to have enough money to be able to enjoy yourself and fully experience the life for the first few weeks.”

She also advises forcibly removing yourself from your comfort zone. “When you move to New York it’s such a culture shock.

I was so uncomfortable for a couple of weeks but I had to have a personal meeting with myself and tell myself that this is the way it is now. Get used to it.”

However, she also advises staying true to yourself: “The best way to experience something is when you do it alone, I believe.”

She suggests indulging in as many home comforts as possible before boarding the plane (she’s currently longing for a King Creole from KC’s King Creole.)

The most important thing, though? “Just get all your ducks in a row and believe in yourself. If there is something in you telling you to go then just go. It’s the best thing you will ever do.”

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