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Irish J1 students painted Chicago green this summer Photo by: Google Images

Irish students involved in arrests, date rapes, drunkenness in Chicago

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Irish J1 students painted Chicago green this summer Photo by: Google Images

The Irish male and female students living there did experience some difficulty when some iPods and cash were stolen.

“We called the police. They didn’t do much,” Conway said.

Conway, a science student at the University of Limerick, explained that at the start of the summer, 12 of her girlfriends found accommodation, but after one month they discovered that their landlord did not actually own the house.

“The restaurant next door got a call from the bank to see if anyone was living there,” she said.

Unfazed, Conway explained the girls found somewhere else to live.

During her stint in the Jersey Shore, Conway went through three jobs before she found something secure at a local pizzeria.

“It was owned by an Italian family,” she said.

Working as a waitress and hostess, the student said her Irish accent was a great asset.

“When they heard the Irish accent they upped the tips,” Conway said. “The customers would be telling us they are Irish, but they wouldn’t know where they were from.”

The money, she says, was enough to cover her costs.

“One day I did a 15 hour shift and made $250,” she said. “I usually made about $70 a day and was paid $3 an hour.”

Highlights of her summer included a trip to Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., as well as enjoying the final days of her summer in New York City.

“We did a lot of shopping,” Conway said, adding she would love to live in the Big Apple. But for now, it’s back to college to finish her studies.

NEW YORK CITY J-1

At the Aisling Irish Community Center in Yonkers, in recent days, J-1 students have been coming in to print off their tickets for their return flight home.

Órla Kelleher, executive director of the center, reported that there were no major incidents among J-1 summer students this summer in New York.

“We surveyed almost 700 this year,” said Kelleher, who says students were affected by the common problems with work and accommodation.

“The best advice is to be prepared in advance of coming out next year,” she said.

Of those students that were surveyed by the center, some were not reachable by midsummer.

“When we did call the students about a month in, a lot of phones were disconnected or out of service,” she said.

“They realize that if they have not found work in the first few weeks it doesn’t make sense to stay on.”

As the J-1 adventure for this year’s students draws to a close, Kelleher reflected on the importance of their contribution to the Irish community in Woodlawn.

“It is nice to see a young, vibrant community coming in every May,” she said.  “It’s uplifting.”

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