Grad Visa Stories: Martina Aimed as High as the New York Skyline

Martina’s 1 Year Grad Visa was a Life-changing Experience. We Asked her to Tell her Story

An Internship in New York Changed My Life Forever 

I woke up one wet overcast August morning in Kerry and decided then and there I would leave Ireland and go on the 1 Year Grad Visa. I had graduated in October the previous year, so I knew I had to act fast and contacted USIT Ireland right away.  They started the application right away so all I had to worry about was breaking the news to my family. The next few weeks flew by. I told my family and friends all about my dreams of making it big in America. Handed in my notice in the job I didn’t really like anyway and packed my bags.  I was prepared for an adventure of a lifetime. That was exactly how my Grad Visa internship story began. Next stop: New York City.

Work Experience in the USA Helped me Up the Career Ladder

Moving to another city on your own can be tough but I knew I needed to get out and see the world and I wanted to get experience in construction as this was my field of study in Ireland. And where else would you gain the same level of experience in construction as New York City? I needed to get my foot on the ladder even if it meant I had to work from the bottom up, you can’t be afraid of hard work and long hours if you want to make it in the city that never sleeps.

Irish in New York

Finding an Internship in New York

This can be a hard task but you can get lucky. For me, I got lucky in finding my position the traditional Irish way you could say. By knowing someone within a company and waiting for a position to arise. My first boss had been two years ahead of me in college at home sot this was a great motivation.  He was in my position just 2 years ago and now I’m calling him boss.  My first job would be assistant project manager on a construction project in downtown Brooklyn, New York. Not a bad place to start out in my career at all, is it?

The Sky is the Limit with a Grad Visa

The very first morning on the job we walked to the top of the building and I saw the Manhattan skyline just as dawn was breaking, I knew I had made the right decision. Where else can you get the opportunities that you get here and seeing firsthand how fast buildings can go up in a city that never stops – you truly get swept up in the moment. Days feel like hours and months feel like just weeks as your time flies working and enjoying exploring the city on the weekends.

Irish in America

Things to do in New York

New York City can be the most amazing city in the world, and you can jam-pack every hour of every weekend with different events. There is so much to see and do that if you wanted to see it all and eat in every restaurant you can’t, it is that vast and varied as a city. Walking the Brooklyn bridge at sunset or the highline at sunrise, from eating brunch in Williamsburg to sipping cocktails in rooftop bars in Manhattan, grabbing a picnic in central park or watching a show on Broadway – New York City has everything you could dream of in the one city.

Queens and the Bronx Can be a Home from Home

If you think you will get homesick – then live in an Irish neighborhood in Queens or the Bronx. Trust me, you won’t be long thinking you’re at home when there’s everything from bacon and cabbage to jambons served from the deli counter.  Everything from a pint of Guinness to a pint of MiWadi served in the local bars. New York City has been home to the Irish for generations before us and generations to come, so you can’t help but feel at home here.  If you want to get experience, in whatever field your degree is, then New York is probably going to be where you can work hard and get that experience with some hard work. “If you can make it here you can make it anywhere.” Right?

Kerry GAA jerseys in New York

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