“We have an Internet cafe with Skype so that they can keep in contact with family and friends.”
The center provides students with folders packed with information. They also have bulletin boards with accommodation and job postings.
“We encourage them to check in with us regularly so that we can be of assistance to them,” says Delaney.
According to Simon Gillespie, games development officer for the New York GAA, he has noticed an increase in the number of J-1 summer students getting in touch this summer compared to 2011.
“My first email for this summer was last September,” Gillespie told the Irish Voice. “They are really planning ahead.
“We have been inundated with emails from students looking for clubs to play with and to come out for the summer and work. The emails started coming in December and January.”
The GAA is like a safety net for J-1 students, according to Gillespie, who says that June and July are the peak months for their involvement.
“It gives them a sense of community,” he says. “If they stay involved with the GAA they will be looked after.”
Gillespie says the arrival of the J-1 students is a huge part of the GAA summer in New York.
“It’s not just about playing,” he says. “The students give more of a life to the Woodlawn area.”
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