SoapBox’s Valluri Saikiran on relocating to Ireland

January 18, 2022

Rectangle Circle

Valluri Saikiran has been working remotely for SoapBox since August 2020, but it was always his intention to move to where our HQ is based in Ireland. In January 2022, he finally made that move happen, and we’re super excited to have him here.

We caught up with Valluri to hear how he’s settling into Ireland so far.

Valluri, we’re so happy to have you in Dublin! First, tell us about your role at SoapBox and why you joined the company. 

Thank you! I’m so happy to be here.

I’m a Senior Speech Recognition Engineer. I joined SoapBox in August 2020 and was drawn to the company because the application of building speech technology for kids and working on real-time global problems associated with children’s literacy and language learning was really exciting to me. 

At the moment, alongside my colleagues on the engineering team, we’re making further advancements to our voice engine for diverse accents and dialects, and we’re also working with a number of partners to create on-device voice experiences for kids.

You were working on these big projects already from India. Why did you decide to move to Ireland?

This is my first time travelling and living outside of India!! I’m from Hyderabad, a city in the south of India. I wanted to move to Ireland because I always heard it’s a lovely place and I was curious to start to travel and see the world.

So, you’re one week in. What’s your first impression of Ireland?

Ireland is a very beautiful and green country, and Dublin is a well-organized city, with less pollution than I’m used to. Irish people are really friendly and helpful. They say sorry for almost everything, even when they’re just walking by you!

On the less positive side, prices here — from vegetables to apartment rates — are a lot more expensive than in Hyderabad, which has one of the lowest costs of living in India. I’m glad to see that there are Asian food markets everywhere, but they’re about triple the cost to what I’m used to paying. ?

How are you liking our weather so far?!

Irish weather is, as I expected, pretty cool and mild. But I’ve quickly come to realize that I have to be prepared in case it rains out of the blue. 

The first ever time you left India you moved to Ireland! What else can you tell us about this huge experience?

My flight to Dublin was amazing. I watched the Carpathian Mountains as we were flying across mainland Europe and the large ships crossing the Irish sea just before landing. I enjoyed the beautiful, pleasant scenery after landing and the awesome ride back to the hotel.

Do you have any suggestions for others who are moving to Ireland?

Have at least one-month’s temporary accommodation planned before you arrive. The rental market in Dublin is very competitive, so it might take a while to find a place.

Apply for your Personal Public Service (PPS) number — which is needed for starting a job and accessing public services — as soon as you land! And then organize your bank account, health insurance, and Leap Card (public transport card). If possible, come to Ireland with your international driver’s permit; getting an Irish driver’s is a time-consuming process.

And my final tip: Get a haircut just before you depart. The salons here are at least ten times more costly than back home.

Thanks for those excellent tips, Valluri, and congratulations again on your big move. We’re so glad to have you in Dublin!

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