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New York is full of Irish college graduates here on J visas pursuing their goals many taking paths never imagined. Photo by: Getty

Irish emigrants following their American Dream in ways they never expected

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New York is full of Irish college graduates here on J visas pursuing their goals many taking paths never imagined. Photo by: Getty

Having spent his first year out of college taking internships in legal editing and human rights abroad, he came to New York City last year on a similar trajectory. Twelve months later he has resurrected a childhood passion for acting and dance. 

Having taken several classes and embraced the city’s theatrics, he has been temporarily drawn away from law and been awakened to the realization that we are young enough to take risks and give our passions a chance to flourish. 

There is also an influx of accidental adventurers who are intriguing to follow. Many have fallen into jobs and career paths that they never would have imagined before moving to New York. 

Whether it’s designing apps and learning to code in the tech business with a degree in zoology, or joining a dance troupe while bartending to make rent and keeping up a “social media internship” to keep the visa hounds off your back, the city is full of us. 

Peppered across Brooklyn and Queens, the Irish are continuing to prove themselves brave, bold and willing to try. You don’t simply leave the comfort and solace of books behind for a lifestyle like this unless it is something you are truly passionate about, or a risk you are really willing to take.  There is a drive behind people like this that pushes you to grab this year in New York by the scruff of the neck and make it work for you.

Before coming to New York, I was told time and again that it is a sink-or-swim city, and not to feel bad if I failed. Looking around me, I see a group of people trying their best and often succeeding to the point of exceeding their own expectations of themselves. 

Irish people are notoriously self-deprecating and will continually doubt their own abilities, but the graduates out here can take at least a little pride in what they have done – even though I doubt any of us will. It requires a huge leap of faith to abandon home and land in this city lost, broke, and terrified. 

Whether we return to Ireland having taken leaps and bounds in our career, or having simply survived, we will all have a story worth coming home to tell. 

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