Another amazing person, I’ve talked to about living in Dublin is Fuad Aliyev. He’s 27 years old working in Dublin, Ireland as the CEO and Co-founder of the company called Luxysale.
Where are you from originally?
I am from Baku, Azerbaijan.
When did you relocate to Ireland?…
I left my country in January, 2012 for San Francisco, USA for educational purposes and after 6 months of living there, myself and my wife came to Ireland for doing our Masters degree.
Have you lived anywhere else beside Azerbaijan and Ireland?
Yes, I lived in the USA (San Francisco) for 6 months. I liked living in there too, but due to the long distance from my own country, it was very hard to visit my homeland. That’s why we considered Europe. There are very few English speaking countries in Europe and for this reason Ireland and the UK were the options to consider, but because of the aforementioned reasons we considered Ireland.
What made you choose Ireland?
I selected Ireland as the home to my new adventures because of the business opportunities and the support Irish government provides for new businesses and start-ups. I was going to start my own business after completing the degree. I had several companies in Azerbaijan before leaving, and due to the government level issues, I decided to start a new life in a different country where there are less bureaucracy and corruption which prevent businesses from developing. Ireland is considered one of the best countries to start a business.
Tell me about your start-up?
I am both employee and employer of the company Entrepreneurship is my passion because I am very passionate about creating something new and useful which people can use and be grateful. I believe it is the entrepreneurs’ job to facilitate the life we live, solve problems and create better future for the next generations. For these reasons, I am happy with my work. However, I have to note that it is one of the hardest things. It may seem cool, and people might think it is freedom, but I’d say it is the opposite. It is much harder to be your own boss and conquer your needs of entertainment and rest when you manage your own schedule instead of a manager/boss setting up it for you. It is not freedom too, because entrepreneurs don’t have work schedule, the work is 24/7 when it is your own.
Regarding the environment at work, it really depends on the people you work with. I’d say because we have a great team, I’m more than satisfied with the work environment. When a company is at a start-up level, there is almost no politics going on within the company. This is because, the team is small and everyone works for the same goal and everyone has the same level of chance of being promoted. In other words, in a start-up world, the promotion is the success of the company, because when it is successful all the first-time employees benefit from its success both financially and emotionally.
How do you like living in Dublin? Were you happier somewhere else?
To be perfectly honest, I would be happier in my homeland if the same business conditions existed there too. From climate to the culture and psychology of nation are totally different in my country. It took quite a while to adapt to the new culture and I should admit that I’m still learning the Irish culture and social psychology of people. For some western people it can be easier to adapt (this is just my assumption), however it is very hard for people coming from Azerbaijan or Turkey, since the family tires are too strong in these countries. However, currently I am very happy in Ireland if we exclude the climate for sure.
How different is Ireland from your native country, what do you miss the most?
It is very different. In my country people are more collectivist. They care too much about social criticism. However, in Ireland people are more individualist. They live for themselves and don’t care much about what other people think of them. I prefer the latter for sure, but it is a hard switch when you come from a country like this.
Also, in my hometown both family and friendship tires are very strong. This is something I miss very much. I can’t feel the same closeness with my Irish friends here. In general, I’d consider that all human relationships in my country are much warmer. However, although it should be considered a good thing, I have to say that this affects the economy of the country in a very bad way. Corruption level is too high in the country. When I say corruption I’m not mainly talking about bribing. It’s about abusing the advantages of being a family member or relative of who are in power.
Currently, there is a strong economic crisis going on in my own country. The US dollar’s cost has increased more than twice in relation to our own currency AZN within just 1 year and half period. This was because the economy of the country was too much dependant on Oil and market price of Oil went down too much.
Lifestyle is somewhat different too. Azerbaijani people are more outgoing even in the week days. Most people spend time with their friends almost every day, not only on weekends. Growing up in a place like that makes it boring sometimes when you cannot find someone to hangout in a week day.
How did being an expat/immigrant change you and do you think you’re a little bit different now?
I am a whole different now. When I go back to my country, I feel 10 times stronger than I was feeling before due to the experiences I had as an expat. I broke many stereotypes and became more individualistic after living here. Also, from the business point of view, I discovered that you don’t have to do a business where your company is physically located. This mainly applies to digital businesses like ours. I discovered that localization of a business is mostly in our head. After breaking this stereotype it became so much easier for me. Currently our company targets countries like UK, US, UAE and Saudi Arabia even though we are located in Ireland. Only very small part of our business is coming from Ireland. Now, I have more international mind-set, rather than a local. I believe, leaving your comfort zone educates you. Therefore it is important to leave your comfort zone and the more different is the new place you live the more experience you gain.
Have you ever experienced any discrimination?
I’ve experienced discrimination before, but not in the sense of being rude to me. It was the opposite. When I was here first time, the native people I knew were too nice to me because I’m from another country and I’m kind of a guest. I think if native people are behaving differently with you, it is already a discrimination, no matter if their behaviour is nicer or ruder. It makes you feel that you are not the same as others and you are not treated as others. Of course, it is incomparable with negative discrimination which is an awful feeling (e.g. being rude to you etc.); however, I think the best is just treat all people the same way you would do if he/she was a native. Not nicer and not worse. But some people might consider this a motivation to move to Ireland 😉
How do you like Irish people? What are the biggest differences ?
I really like how Irish people are easy-going and friendly. Most of them are very educated and professional. The biggest difference is the amount of drinks they have. We also drink in Azerbaijan, but it is not even close to the amount Irish people do. However, I think most Irish people become more friendly when they are drunk. I’d say it is opposite in most other countries. Most times being drunk is associated with fight and aggression. However, I haven’t seen this in Ireland. They always seem more happy and hug each other when they are drunk which shows how nice people they are.
Did anything surprise you since living here (positive or negative)?
The length of legal, government related processes surprised me first of all. It took about 4 months to receive the permission from immigration office to open the business. 4 months is 1/3 of a year, which is extremely long for business.
Second thing which surprised me was the thing I mentioned in the 10th question about being drunk.
The third thing was that most of the people are fit and in form. Old people are very active. When I first saw an old lady, who were in her 70s (or maybe more), riding a bicycle I was shocked. You can’t see that in my country.
Do you think you’ll stay here? Would you move somewhere else for a better job opportunity?
I believe I will stay in Ireland as long as our company’s headquarter is based in Ireland. For relocating the headquarter to another country is a very hard job and there should be very good reason for it. Taking the low tax rates and the talent base in Ireland, I can say that I will be here for at least 10 years. If I consider moving to somewhere else, it can be countries where legislation is as good as in Ireland; there is no bureaucracy; and the costs are much lower, where I can employ much better talents in much lower costs, and mainly the weather is sunnier. However, currently we are happy here.
Do you think Ireland has a lot of job opportunities? How do you like the nature, lifestyle?
The nature is the best part of Ireland. Nature is beautiful.
Regarding job opportunities, yes I consider there are lot of job opportunities for talented and highly skilled people. But you have to be highly skilled. For example companies are almost fighting for a good software developer. It depends on what area you are in. If you look for jobs like waitress or security guard, I wouldn’t say there are lots of jobs. This is because these jobs are easily filled up.
Do you have favourite place/s that you go to when you want to relax (your happy place)?
It is a coffee shop near Stephen’s Green park where I go at least 3-4 times a week to have a warm cup of coffee and meet my friends.
How often you’re feeling nostalgic?
Very often. I listen to Azerbaijani songs which I had never listened before when I was living there J This is all because I miss it too much.
We have to mention the weather?
I think you already know what answer to expect when asking this question. The weather is depressive.
Would you recommend to other people to relocate to Ireland? Why?
It depends on where they are coming from. If they come from countries where they have good opportunities without leaving the country, then there is no point to relocate to Ireland (or any other country) for a very long term. I would recommend anyone to relocate to another country, not specifically Ireland, for at least 1 or 2 years to live the experience of being an expat. It teaches you a lot. I’d even recommend this to Irish people to go abroad where English isn’t a dominant language and live there for 1 or 2 years. It is an awesome experience. It makes you break the national stereotypes and you see people as individuals, not part of a nation. Before leaving my country I would hear lots of rumors about different nations. However, after living in another country I saw that every single person is different. Although culture and social psychology can be the same, but people should be evaluated as an individual. There are goods and bads in all countries and nations.
Do you ever regret moving here?
Sometimes. This is because I had a successful business in my country too although much more stressful. Sometimes I feel that your home is the sweetest and there was no reason to leave. However, due to the bad economic conditions in my home town, I convince myself that I did the right thing by leaving in time.
Do you have any advice for people thinking to move abroad?
I think life is short and in any case people have to experience more things. Therefore, I’d like to inspire people leaving their comfort zone for a while and do different things that they have never done before. For example, leaving their country for a couple of years.