First and foremost, Irish people have a long history of moving to America to experience the American Dream and this tradition hasn’t changed. As a result, so many Americans have an Irish connection and are mesmerised when they meet people who are actually from Ireland. If you do your J1 in New York, Boston or Philadelphia, you will especially feel the overwhelming love and hospitality for the Irish. You may get the occasional Leprechaun reference but thankfully, us Irish have a great sense of humour.
Many J1ers make some serious bread in the States. Sure, your wage might be very low but the tips you can make are phenomenal. Obviously, this depends on where you work but most bars hire J1ers because they expect to be very busy. And the busier the restaurant, the more you’ll earn. Many J1ers spend their savings travelling around the U.S. which is a terrific way to enjoy what you’ve worked hard for. You may not bring much savings home but the memories you’ll make will be priceless.
As college students, J1ers look forward to a summer away from the library and deadlines. However, you’d be surprised how much you will learn simply by moving somewhere new. There are some things you simply can’t learn from a textbook, its simply a matter of getting out there and figuring it out. Getting from point A to point B on public transport, noticing cultural differences and generally learning how to stand on your own two feet are all important life skills and going on a J1 is when most people learn them.
The experience you acquire on a J1 will truly stand to you in the Irish job market once you come home. Sure you may not be climbing the corporate ladder on a J1 but in whatever job you do, you can bet that Irish employers will notice your American experience. If you can bartend at a fast-paced New York bar, you can handle anything.
Most of us have a few American cities on our bucket list but flights across the Atlantic can be crazy expensive! The J1 is a chance to cram as many cities in as possible without breaking the bank. This is the ideal way to spend your 30-day grace period after your work papers expire. Southwest is particularly good-value airline for hopping from city to city!
No matter what city you choose for your J1, there’s no doubt that it will have a lot more nationalities, ethnicities and cultures than Ireland. America is the great melting pot after all so make sure to embrace it. Pick up a few phrases in a different language, check out a unique museum or even just try some new cuisine. Don’t forget that the J1 is a “cultural exchange” so make sure to seize the opportunity to expand your cultural knowledge.
Chances are you will be going on your J1 with your Irish friends but try to avoid Irishtown Syndrome. This is where Irish J1ers keep to themselves and avoid branching out to make American friends. Once you’re open to meeting new people, you’ll find its incredibly easy to make friends in the U.S. Your co-workers will become like family, having each other back at work and enjoying after-work drinks.
We live in a time when everyone wants to share their best moments online. And why not? The J1 is an easy way to up your Instagram game and get some truly iconic pics. You can bet that your friends back home will have some serious FOMO, which is how you know you’re living the dream!
The J1 is a unique programme that lets you experience American life. Getting any other kind of working visa is usually quite difficult and involves paying an immigration lawyer to help. The J1 is a very straight-forward process and doesn’t even require that much paperwork. When opportunity knocks, answer.
The vast majority of people who choose to do a J1 consider it the best decision they ever made. The fact is, an adventure like this is something everyone owes to themselves. Sure you could stay at home and pray for sunshine but opportunities like the J1 don’t come around too often so make the most of your summer and live the American Dream!
"If you do your J1 in New York, Boston or Philadelphia, you will especially feel the overwhelming love and hospitality for the Irish."
Holly, USIT Grad USA Intern
at Warner Music Group in NYC
"I decided to do the USIT grad visa because I figured I had to become an adult when I finished college, and I may as well do it in one of the coolest cities in the world.”
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