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.
In the end, our group was one of the lucky ones. While staying in Dan’s bank (a vacant property which he uses as a homeless shelter for J-1 students) we managed to get in touch with a landlord willing to rent.
Granted, all the plugs mightn’t work, the walls are a bit mouldy and the beetles and roaches make for lively night-time companions, but we’ve a roof over our heads, we’re safe, and we’re not 10 to a room as is disturbingly prevalent in cases similar to our own.
Let there be no mistake- we’re paying for the misdemeanours of certain J1 predecessors whose thuggish antics and blatant disrespect for the properties in which they resided has precipitated this unsavoury situation.
But we also paid €1,200 for the help and support of our sponsor agencies, whose seemingly apathetic attitude to the struggles being faced by Irish programme participants may have turned many American Dreams into mere fallacies this summer.