Many Irish J-1 students in dire straits as they struggle to find housing and work in U.S.
Trying to hang on in America when every door is closed in our face
Granted, some were willing to put an end to our plight, but by and large these individuals tended to be, let’s say, less than scrupulous.
One such opportunist had the audacity to offer us an unfinished renovation with holes in the floor, wires sticking out of the walls and panes of glass missing from the front door for what could only be described as an exorbitant rate.
No-one understands the plight of J-1ers in the Windy City half as well as the aforementioned Dan O’Donnell.
A true bastion of the Irish-American community in Chicago, Mr. O’Donnell’s record of helping Irish students find temporary accommodation is unparalleled.
Starting with 50 in 1997, Dan aided a record 1,250 J-1 students in finding affordable and safe housing last summer while seeking no remuneration for his services.
However, with the renting climate becoming increasingly more difficult, even he is finding it tough in 2013.
Despite helping approximately 900 students find rentals so far this summer, Dan estimates that there are still around 60 without suitable accommodation at the moment. Given that as many as 200 more J-1ers are expected to arrive in the coming weeks, the crisis may be at tipping point.
The Armitage-based hardware store owner apportions much of the blame to those selling the J1 packages for providing inadequate information and resources to visa participants before and during their visit to the States.
“Go4Less, USIT and SAYIT all charge these kids large fees and make a lot of money on every person they get, but once these kids get off the plane they abandon them- they don’t do anything for them,” says Dan.
“They’re making millions of dollars so surely these companies could afford to maintain meaningful presences in all the major cities to solve all these problems. All they care about is making a buck for themselves regardless of these kids’ wellbeing.”
Realising the gravity of the situation, Dan contacted newspapers and universities before the summer rush in an attempt to dissuade too many students from coming over, but his pleas to the authorities fell on deaf ears.
Indeed, amid reports of similar difficulties in other traditional J-1 hotspots, he’s even had to rebuff overtures from New York to send desperate students in need of accommodation his way.
“I got two calls from New York in the last three weeks asking could they send people down and that they couldn’t find accommodation there and I said stay there because our situation is just as bad.
“That said, it’s a fantastic programme to be offered to the Irish students and if these organisational problems can be overcome, and I believe they can, then there’s no reason why it shouldn’t continue on strong into the future,” concludes Dan.
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It may also be said, the transfusion of foreign immigrants with no inclination to adapt to a new culture will do little to restore life to the cadaverIrish radio presenter suspended after anti-Israeli comments aired on show
IrelandNorth, I do not think Alan Shatter will appreciate your wording, particularly the snide anti-Semitism of "a member of the chosen few withHow New York's Jewish community tried to rescue Irish in Great Famine
Actually, KathyCallahan, it wasn't just ten years ago but on Oct. 28, 1965--nearly a half-century--that the Vatican II encyclical Nostra Aetate was puDonegal priest bans gaudy headstones and seeks to remove offensive memorials
THIS IS WRONG.....THEY SHOULD KEEP WHAT HAS ALWAYS BEEN THERE....AND I FOR 1, HATE THE "FLAT MEMORIALS" IN GRAVE YARDS...IT MAKES IT HARDER