Irish students arriving to New York find it difficult to find work and accommodation
Some hot and bothered new arrivals shared their frustrations
Summer of Strife for Irish Students
Pic news students
Micheal Hallissey, Pearse Dillon, Eoin O’Connor and Colin McSweeney.
Summertime in New York is proving hot and bothersome in more ways than one for many Irish students seeking work and accommodation. APRIL DREW met up with some of the new arrivals, who shared their frustrations.
It's that time of the year again. Thousands of Irish students descend upon our neighborhoods in search of jobs, accommodation and a summer filled with memories only New York can provide.
About two weeks ago it became apparent that the Irish students were arriving in their droves. It was, and still is, a common sight to see six to eight young Irish, sporting their county jerseys, pounding the pavements on McLean Avenue in Yonkers and Katonah Avenue in nearby Woodlawn in search for a place to lay their heads for the summer and the possibility of a job.
The Aisling Irish Community Center in Yonkers and the Emerald Isle Immigration Centers in the Bronx and Queens have been inundated with students seeking assistance in securing a place to stay for the summer and a job to tie them over till September.
The Irish Voice spent Thursday afternoon in the Aisling Center, located on McLean Avenue, witnessing first hand the student foot traffic coming through the center.
The back room of the center was designated for luggage. The ladies were pinks and purples, the men mainly black. Some students were leaving their suitcases with the center staff while they took the train into the city in search of jobs.
Up to Friday the center was in the process of trying to find summer accommodations for over 180 students. A similar number was being reported in the Emerald Isle offices.
Although a substantial number of the students were still out of work, the main issue was the lack of accommodations available for rental for the summer period.
After spending the morning in New York City searching for work and becoming acquainted with the liveliness of the place, four young Irish men spoke to the Irish Voice about their reasons for coming to New York this summer.
They all sang the same tune -- there is no work in Ireland to tie them over till September when they are due to return to college.
They each paid ***950 ($1,200) for a J-1 visa and a flight to the U.S. and are hopeful to make a bit of money over the summer working in New York that will get them through the forthcoming college year.
Colin McSweeney from Co. Kerry and Eoin O’Connor from Co. Carlow said if they don’t find accommodation in very near future they will have to return to Ireland.
The friends, who are in college at the Limerick Institute of Technology, have been sleeping in the living room of a house in Yonkers with 10 other students and are at their wit’s end.
“We’re lucky to have somewhere at the minute to sleep at night, but we can’t keep it up. We need to get somewhere to rent ourselves or we are going to have to head back to Ireland,” McSweeney said on Thursday.
O’Connor, who used the money he received for his 21st birthday to come to New York added, “it was either stay home with the family for the summer with no work, or come to New York and try to find something.”
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