OUTGOING Shweta Menghani, who has Indian origins, says life in Cork is close to perfection, despite the pandemic hitting hard.
The 29-year-old, who is living in Cork with her Portuguese boyfriend Afonso Moreirawho, works in cloud computing with IBM and in her spare time, enjoys travel trips, and clubs and pubs, both aspects of her lifestyle that took a hit in recent times.
Shweta, who has a travel blog called ‘Nomadic Brown Girl’ where she documents her travel, mostly in India and across Ireland, came to Ireland with a bachelor’s degree in information technology and a plan to gain a masters at UCC in computing science.
Although not top of her list, Shweta found UCC to be a beautiful campus with a lot to offer.
“I always thought of doing a masters, but realised it is not worth the efforts doing in my own country when it comes to cost,” Shweta said. “So I made up my mind to do my master’s abroad.
“I have an obsession with living the California dream. So I applied to a couple of California universities and instead I got an admittance from New Jersey and the fees were around $80,000 which was crazy.
“I was sure I couldn’t afford that much money. I thought all masters abroad are that expensive and my dream would be just a dream.”
Then a career counsellor told Shweta about Ireland, which was a far more affordable option.
“I wasn’t sure of going to Ireland as I didn’t have any friends there. Plus I haven’t heard any success stories of people making tons of money in Ireland as back then I used to think money is everything, but then as I got to know about Ireland, me and my single parent Mom were confident I could achieve my dream. We took a calculated risk.”
Fast forward four years, Shweta is settled in Cork with Afonso, with a permanent job in a dynamic challenging environment and living a stone’s throw from her favourite place in Cork, St Patrick’s Hill.
“I really love my job, the work culture and how balanced my work life and personal life are. When it’s not rainy I love going to St Patrick’s Hill, which is just a two-minute walk from my apartment. It is my favorite place to go.
“It’s been almost four years since I did this and I have no complaints, it is a place to chill, relax, and unwind. I read there, sleep there and it reminds me of Mumbai’s Marine Drive.
“Mumbai is not a city, it is an emotion I miss while enjoying the Cork city view.
“In the night the Cork city view twinkles while watching from the hill, and it reminds me of Mumbai and how the city used to twinkle while sitting at Marine Drive.”
In previous years, before the pandemic, Shweta used to volunteer with CoderDojo, teaching young children to code in a fun and friendly manner.
The 29-year-old is also a member of the Indian community and is learning to Bollywood dance.
“We practice at Fitzgerald’s Park under the bandstand every weekend. I really like it.”
While Shweta is happy in Cork, it doesn’t stop her missing home.
“I’m a big time home bird and clingy when it comes to being with my people — my family, friends, and relatives. I spend most of my holidays in India and visit my hometown and stay with my family every year for the entire December month and celebrate my birthday, which is on Christmas Eve, with them.”
Looking ahead, Shweta said life is so uncertain, she could never say where she will end up.
“I actually would love to stay and grow old in Cork only if it was a bit more sunny and my family was here. I like living Leeside in Cork for now. I admire how easy my life is.
“I have a permanent job with IBM, I have a bunch of good friends. We have so many bars and nature places nearby.
“I’m not sure I might want to go back to Mumbai or somewhere else. These are some unresolved conflicting thoughts I have no answer to.”