Everybody needs to have an Aoife in their J1 crew. She’s ‘The Chief’. When Aoife leads (as she often does) people will invariably follow. She always knows what to do!
Aoife is the one who sends you links to apply for the best jobs. She’s the one who found you a dirt cheap place to rent that has a stunning sea view. She’s the one who somehow manages to get tickets to that gig that’ll make your summer. The one who’s logic for going to a particular city or state is always bulletproof and she’s literally the glue that holds her crew’s dream summer in place!
If Ross is the Yin of J1, Aoife is definitely the Yang.
This is Aoife’s J1 story…
How To Spot Aoife?
Q: Hey Aoife, it seems like so long ago we first met you! Tell us about where your J1 Summer started?
Hey guys how are you all? Yeah, looking back I suppose it is haha! Doing a J1 has been a dream of mine for so long. When I heard on USIT’s blog that the J1 program was going to open on 22nd October 2015, I wasted no time in coming down to meet you guys.
I got into the office about 9:32am (sorry for being late!) and managed to speak to James & Lyndsey about my J1. I’d done loads of research so I just wanted to get my deposit in! Nothing was going to stop me having this amazing summer!
Q: How did you go about getting your job sorted?
The new requirement to have a job sorted before you leave was no problem for me as my uncle has a great bar in Montauk! Within a week I’d got all my paperwork in, had my flights sorted (they were cheaper as it got them early!).
Uncle Pete, was so delighted that I was coming over and wanted to work in his bar that when I asked if he had room for my two besties, Aileen & Áine, he was mad to take them on too!
All docs in and approved, along with flights sorted, we were ready for the sun, sea and shore of Long Island. As it was only February it felt like years until we got exams and college out of the way. Longest wait of my life!
Q: How was your first week over in the States?
So good! I’d read up that jetlag isn’t as bad when you’re going East, but to make sure we were fresh to tackle our first day in the US we flew at 11am, getting into JFK around lunchtime. The girls were too excited to sleep but I caught a couple of hours not wanting a miss a thing when we arrived!
Uncle Pete collected the three of us from the airport and drove us out to Montauk where we had lunch with him in our new workplace! The food was gorgeous, the other staff were a hoot and the views were so pretty!
I already organised our SIM cards through USIT so after lunch, we set them up and took our first group selfie overlooking the beach for Instagram #summerofourlives! Oh, I made sure to download all the apps we’d need too like Uber, Subway, Goby, Free Wi-Fi Finder and…Tinder 😉
I’d written a shopping list of things to get for our apartment on the plane and where was cheapest to get them so that was the next job while the girls had a snooze.
We had 4 days until starting work together but before we had our day on the beach and took in the sights, I wanted us to get our Social Security number sorted so we could set up our bank accounts. Once that was sorted, we then tanned ourselves until our first shift. The first week was the happiest I think I’ve ever been!
Q: What were the highlights and lowlights
So, I had notifications set up for events on in NYC over the summer and got one about Coldplay playing in the Giants Stadium. My best friend Aileen, had her 21st the weekend of the show and they’re her favourite band. Too perfect!
I went online at the crack of dawn and managed to buy three (couldn’t leave Louise out) standing tickets. Aileen, absolutely freaked when I left her ticket in an envelope on a table she was clearing during a shift a few days before the gig. The show was the best any of us have ever seen, I even managed to get us VIP after entering a competition on Facebook! Call it magic.
Lowlights is a tough one. Maybe, missing family and friends at home? Nothing could have gone better really. I’m already planning next year’s J1 to the West Coast!
Q: What advice would you give to this year’s J1 students?
I love being organised. My travel guide book to Montauk was colour coded and arranged in order of when to do what! The earlier you get everything sorted, the better.
We had zero problems with any of our docs, our Embassy interviews, flights or job confirmations. We had heard that some other people, especially Áine’s friend Ross, hadn’t left enough time to get his job and ended up doing something awful for the summer. Can’t remember what it was though.
Another reason my summer was so special was because Aileen and Áine were in Montauk with me. We got a place together because we had it all sorted so early. Other friends weren’t as lucky as us but we did make a plan in advance to be fair!
Another crucial tip is to keep in touch with CIEE when you get out here, that way should you have any problems or need to fly home at any stage they’ll be able to help you.