Irish students arriving to New York find it difficult to find work and accommodation
Some hot and bothered new arrivals shared their frustrations
Grady and Dalton came with about $1,500 each in their back pockets.
“We are trying to keep our money for a deposit for accommodation, but at the rate things are going we are going to have to go back to Ireland,” said Dalton.
“We can’t ask our parents for any more money, so if something doesn’t become available soon we will be changing out return tickets to sooner rather than later,” he added.
The friends said if it wasn’t for the staff at the Aisling Center they would be at a loss.
“The staff here, Elizabeth, Maura and Sister Christine, have been amazing to us,” said Grady.
“They’ve really kept our spirits up and have shown us a kind heart and friendly words when times are tough, and even thrown us a few mugs of tea.”
As Grady and Dalton went back to cold calling about accommodations, the phone at the Aisling Center was ringing off the hook.
A group of 10 Irish students were making their way from Brooklyn to the Bronx because they were unsuccessful in finding a place to live there.
Another young man informed the center that he had another 10 friends arriving from Ireland on Friday, also in need to accommodation and a job.
Moments previous to that two girls from Co. Cork had popped into the center with luggage in tow. They spent the previous few days in Boston in search of work and a place to stay. They kept meeting dead ends, so they boarded a Greyhound bus to New York in search of better luck.
Ashley Varley, 19, and Olivia Brosnan, 21, both from Co. Limerick, have the same story.
Varley worked in a clothing store in Limerick City for the past two summers and Brosnan looked after children.
This year both jobs were unavailable, and the chance to travel and work in the U.S. presented itself.
“I had friends who went on the J-1 last year to New York and loved it so much. All I head about was the craic they had at Fagan’s Bar and the Rambling House for months, so Ashley and I decided to give it a go seeing as we had no work in Ireland this year,” explains Brosnan, who is studying business at the University of Limerick.
The girls arrived in New York a week before the Irish Voice caught up with them, and they were beginning to get frustrated.
“We spent the first two nights in a hostel in the city, then another three in a hotel up here and for the past two we have been sleeping on a floor in a bedroom with four other girls. It’s just ridiculous,” said Varley.
The house they are currently staying in temporarily houses 16 students. It’s a three-bedroom/ two-bath and has no air conditioning.
“We’d get over the air conditioning if we had a bed. The problem we face now is that some of the lads’ friends are coming from home to stay, so we have to leave and we have nowhere to go,” said Brosnan.
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