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    “I feel like I’m the only one left”: One young writer on emigration

    By Noreen Bowden | April 7, 2011

    There’s a good article on emigration in, written by a young woman who is still at home, but feeling a bit forlorn as her friends emigrate.  Brenda Collins writes:

    I’m not so desperate that this recession is making me lonely. But with most of my friends more likely to be making a living in Uganda than Ireland, I have to admit that it’s getting a little barren and boring for me here. I feel like I’m the only one left. I don’t laugh anymore when I see the “Will the last graduate left in Ireland please turn off the light? Facebook page pop up on my news feed. I admit, I’m not the most gregarious of individuals and this probably hasn’t helped my case. In Ireland, shyness and sobriety do not a social network make.

    Nevertheless, I feel slightly robbed. We were the first generation of Irish people who grew up with the warm and unwavering promise that we would never have to leave. And so we grew up, unprepared, only to get smacked mid-degree with a hefty layer cake of governmental corruption, incompetence and economic failure. as her friends are emigrating.

    (Though weren’t the 1980s generation the first generation of Irish people who grew up with the promise that they would never have to emigrate? The 1970s were a period of return migration, and seemed to hold out the promise at the time that emigration was over. How illusory.)

    In any case, the writer notes, that it’s not only the absence of paid employment that’s driving her generation to go:

    The choices for emerging graduates are stark. You can stay and fill out the long application forms for social welfare payments and paper the streets with your resumé in the hope that something sticks. Or you can leave. Because the biggest problem is not the lack of jobs (although it’s hardly a reason to celebrate), it’s the lack of anything. Last September, I moved to Manhattan to do a three-month unpaid internship. It was an incredible experience and I gained so much from it, both professionally and personally. But the sheer insanity of borrowing money to work for nothing epitomises the sort of outlandish rabbit-hole that the Irish people have been pushed into.

    And that’s why people are emigrating. Not only is it nigh on impossible to get a salaried job, it’s also impossible to get work experience or internships. Facing a future of meagre state payments and the slow rot of their academic skills, graduates turn instead to visa applications. They uproot their whole lives just to feel what it might be like to have a career. I read New York Times articles about 28-year-old law students who are “stuck? doing yet another internship, and I envy them. There is no such innovation on this side of the pond.

    It’s a bleak portrayal of what it’s like to be a young person at home in Ireland right now. Some commentators have noted that this feeling that “everyone is going” is in itself likely to be a driver of emigration. This is no doubt true. But what’s the solution?

    Read the whole article: Irish emigration 3.0: A Blast writer’s thoughts on Ireland’s recession.

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