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J-1 visa students using the Internet café at the Aisling Irish Community Center in Yonkers last summer. Photo by: Aisling Irish Center

The Bronx prepares for arrival of Irish J-1 students seeking slice of Big Apple

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J-1 visa students using the Internet café at the Aisling Irish Community Center in Yonkers last summer. Photo by: Aisling Irish Center

Thousands of Irish J-1 students have begun to arrive in the U.S. for a summer of adventure, as the annual deluge of third level students begins.

Traditionally students flock to cities such as San Diego, Chicago and Boston for the summer months to avail of the three-month working visa.

Woodlawn in the Bronx remains one of the most popular destinations for 20-something Irish students, eager to experience a summer in the U.S.

“Woodlawn really is like a little Ireland; it’s a home away from home,” Ashley Campbell, a student from Co. Kerry, told the Daily News.

“It makes it a lot easier to adjust to the big city by having a place like that.”

The Kerry student found work as a waitress in an Irish pub in midtown Manhattan.

“I just wanted to give New York a try and Woodlawn is a great place to be,” the 22-year-old said.

Orla Kelleher, the executive director of the Aisling Irish Community Center on McLean Ave. in Yonkers predicts that up to 1,694 students will arrive in New York this summer on the J-1 visa scheme.

“Of that number, we will see over 500 students that look to base themselves in the Woodlawn area,” Kelleher told the Daily News.

“The number fluctuates each year, but that is our projection based on the past.”

Counselors at the Aisling Center are on hand during the summer months to advise students on the best ways to find accommodations and work. They provide an Internet café for students also.

“There seems to be more work in seasonal places, like in Ocean City, Md., but people are drawn to New York,” Kelleher said.

“A lot of the students know about Woodlawn from friends or family that have been here before.”

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