Grad Visa Stories: A New York State of Mind


Huge thanks again to Rachel Murray for sharing her New York experience with us so far. If you missed Part One you can catch it here. You can also follow her own blog, Tales of a Fairy here.

The Job Hunt

This wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Film and Broadcasting, a 6 month internship in content creation under my belt and 6 months experience broadcasting on live radio.

This is the media capital of the world, but even so getting an internship on a Graduate Visa takes more than sending a LinkedIn Mail.  I made so much contacts while I was out and about in the city, young people working at NBC, CBS, AMC and Viacom. I set my goals extremely high. Everyone was more than willing to forward my resume but the visa issue can arise. Some companies won’t let you complete your application when you click ‘Yes’ for ‘Do you now or will you in the future require sponsorship to work in the United States?’.

 During a short-lived time at my first placement, The Gram List (it was great but I was a little over-experienced, after one week I had learned enough), I met who was to be my next employer. A colleague there had left, to start his own online business with his wife that sell women’s shoes and they could really use a helping hand with social media.

It takes a little while for CIEE to approve your internship so I was glad that my supervisor was so patient. Once I was approved, a huge weight was taken off my shoulders and I started working at Fibi & Clo.

My advice is keep applying for your dream internships and take anything along the road. You can always change workplace and you never know who you might meet during your time in one company.

You Become A ‘New Yorker’ Overnight

I knew that if I started my year away hanging out in Irish bars and just mixing with Irish, I’d never break that habit. I’m somewhat of an explorer anyway and I don’t like to return to the same bars or restaurants unless they were exceptional, so naturally, I’ll always branch out. You have to learn to adapt to a different way of doing things. Speaking of restaurants, tipping is obviously something somewhat alien to Irish people.

At home you might just leave a little extra on the table when you leave but in America, tips make up a large percentage of a bartenders wages so it’s only right to give 20%. Something that shocked me was how safe the city is. I can get the train home at any time of night and walk to my apartment without a care in the world. Okay, maybe if I lived in one of the boroughs it would be different but the city is always busy. You’ll always find people walking around any time of the day or night, cars still fill the streets and lights are always shining. I do miss driving anywhere I want but the public transport is excellent too.

Adopting The NY Lingo

The phrases you use change without even realizing it. You say ‘liquor store’, ‘sidewalk’, ‘eight thirty AM’, ‘laundromat’ and ’shopping cart’. Americans look at me like I have 5 heads every time I say ’What’s the craic?’, ‘a bag of crisps’ or ‘doing the hoovering’.

I’ve become so accustomed to using my American vocabulary over my Irish, that I just know when I return home my entire family are not going to let it go.

Checking In With Home & Advice For Graduates

Homesickness comes and goes. This is a very hectic city so most of the time, I’m too busy to think about being homesick. But then it’ll come over me all of a sudden when I’m alone in the apartment on a Tuesday night and my brother sends me a Snapchat of our cat dressed up as Santa Claus or my dad will send me a picture of himself and Mam walking around the mountains at home. However, as more months pass by, you get used to the idea of being on your own.

I’ve met some life-long friends and made memories that will keep me smiling when I’m reminiscing on the glory days of less responsibility (lol).

The nightlife in the city is crazy good, the restaurants are endless and you’re never left twiddling your thumbs. If you’re serious about taking the leap, use everyday wisely. Explore what the city has to offer, visit a new neighborhood, have a drink on a rooftop bar or chill out at Bryant Park, don’t waste a moment. I can’t stress just how much this year has changed me and opened my eyes. With the highs and the lows, I would 100% recommend it to everyone fresh out of college.

Availability for the 2018 Graduate Visa Programme is now critically low, so if you’re dreaming of following in Rachel’s footsteps then now is definitely the time to act! Email our Program Coordinator or call (01) 602 1747.

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