J1 Visa: Dev’s Manhattan Adventure – Broadway, Ariana Grande and the Big Lights of NYC

Dev spent her J1 summer in New York the city that never sleeps – read all about her J1 summer and how she is returning to the USA this summer.

Hello lads and lassie, my name is Dev Skehan and I went on a J1 work and travel visa with USIT in 2019 and I can say it’s an experience I’ll never forget!  

 I had always wanted to go on a J1 after I saw my older brother do it years before me but I could never find anyone to go with, so, I decided to go completely solo! Yeah mam and dad weren’t too happy at first but with so many Facebook forms to help you meet people/find housing together it was less daunting!  


USIT made the whole process go smoothly especially when you can free call them with any questions (which I did about 3-4x a week). You feel heard and answered when you ask for assistance and help, they do not rush you or make you feel like your question is stupid! There’s none of that carry on!  


Then in a blink of an eye I was on a flight, all my details printed out (multiple times to be safe) and two flights later, I was States side. 

I remember landing in JFK and thinking, oh god, what have I done! Yes of course I was scared but equally excited. I stayed in a hostel for the first two weeks before the accommodation I had booked was ready! Here I met two other Irish people who became my best friends for the entire summer and I still meet up now two years later!  

When you get there, you’ll get contacted by your sponsor who will give you details on how to set up a bank account, get to see your place of work etc. It runs so smoothly and goes by way too fast!  

Before I knew it I was working a 30+ hour weeks in a restaurant in Times Square, going to see Broadway shows once a week, seeing Ariana Grande in Madison Square Garden and spending too much money on Starbucks as I walked around Soho, Chelsea, Tribeca and Wall Street!  


Yes, you work hard but, you reap the rewards! The things I got to do and see was unimaginable! This was all while I was working, then the fun really begins when you get to travel for 30 days at the end! (Make sure to save up for this). I got to see  Boston, Niagara Falls, Atlanta City, Fire Island and almost all of Manhattan and Brooklyn! Most of my money went on shopping, believe me if you love fashion go over with an empty suitcase because I came home with 3! (No jokes)  


I absolutely loved that every morning I could walk to Central Park with a bagel from Wholefoods and just people watch, I didn’t realise how big Central Park was! It’s crazy!!! I loved it because in the middle of this huge city, there was peace and quiet, where people worked out, walked their dogs, sunbathe or had picnics it was all there! Also Bryant Park every Monday had an outdoor cinema COMPLETELY agree, with free popcorn and drinks all curtesy of Netflix! Here I saw “ “To all the boys I loved Before” with the cast and writing there too! Along with seeing all the art galleries and museums there’s always something that to do!  

But this city made me feel so alive and it’s so cringy but it does feel like anything can happen, simply because it can! Running into celebrities, not uncommon! Stumbling about movies being filmed? All the time! I came away from my summer in New York a better person. I felt more myself than I ever did at home! I’ve kept this mindset which is why I’m returning to the US this summer 2021 with USIT to work at a summer camp and to get a whole new experience and travel some more! With everything that’s gone on the last year I’m itching to get up and go! And what better way to do it that with USIT! 

If you’re interested in heading to New York for the Summer, check out our J1 programme website here and find out all the info you need to kick start the summer of a lifetime. If you need help finding a job check out our job programme to get the helping hand. 

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