J1 Scholarship Winner Touches Down in NY

My name is Alice Murphy and I am this year’s USIT J1 Scholarship competition winner! I’ve just arrived in Brooklyn, New York for my J1 adventure, and to say I’m excited is an understatement!

To give you a bit of background about myself first, I’m a drama and theatre student in Trinity College Dublin and it’s an unofficial tradition in my course to head to New York for the summer and see as many Broadway and off-Broadway shows as our paychecks will allow.

New York is a city I have dreamt of living in since I visited here when I was 10 years old, and it hasn’t lost its magic! I’ve worked the past two summers in order to save for this trip and so far it’s been 100% worth it! It’s only been two days since my friend Anne and I arrived in JFK (alongside Gerry Adams and Des Bishop) and we’ve already experienced the friendliest cab driver in the city (he carried our heavy bags up to the door of our Bed-Stuy brownstone), a bus driver who let us on for free after we tried to pay with cash instead of a metro card, and who can forget, the glory of Dunkin’ Donuts (no, unfortunately they’re not paying me for that plug). While I’m here I’m hoping to see as many Broadway shows as possible. I’m also looking forward to gathering a whole new wardrobe from all the thrift stores in the area! So far we’ve already visited the neighbourhoods of Bushwick and Williamsburg. There are so many nice coffee shops, bars and restaurants on every corner that it will take the whole summer to sample what they have to offer. My friend Anne and I have already walked across the Brooklyn Bridge and are so happy to call this place our home for the next 3 months. In the coming weeks we’re excited to experience New York Pride, walking along the high line at sunset, making friends with New Yorkers, visiting The MET and watching the Tony Awards!

Getting your J1 together can be a difficult process, getting funds, forms and friends organised is practically a part-time job, but as soon as you set down in your new summer home you realise it is all worth it. USIT helped me every step of the way. Their pre-flight presentation gave us all the information we needed to go through customs smoothly knowing exactly what we needed. While I’m here I will be working in an ice cream shop in Brooklyn called Blue Marble. They have a store in Prospect Heights and run stalls on Governor’s Island and at Central Park’s Summerstage. I was lucky to find a job quite early in the year by emailing every ice cream shop in the city and convincing Blue Marble to interview me via Skype. Getting my job offer form filled out was simple and any questions I had were answered quickly by phone or email to programmes@usit.ie​.

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I feel very well equipped to have a fantastic summer thanks to the help of USIT and their team, and feel so lucky and honoured to be this summers scholarship winner! Thank you to everyone at USIT for their support this summer, so far it is a blast, and I’m sure I’ll have many more stories to tell!