With J1 season in full swing and the U.S. awash with Irish student desperate for a slice of American life we asked our resident J1 expert DAIRE O’DOWD to explain what attracted her to the U.S.
1. There are far more options
Whether it’s going to a musical on Broadway or a free open air movie night in Central park there are far more activities for us Irish students to do in America.
The options are limitless in comparison to those back home especially where I am from which is quite remote in the country. Looking at endless fields all day can get quite tiring.
Most students especially us ‘lasses’ come in the hopes of getting the American look at a good price rate. Although the designer clothes here may seem a bargain buy, most of us fail to take into account the reality of the cost-price situation of living here for three months and what that will entail. So when it actually comes to going shopping …Window shopping often has to make do!
3.Abercrombie and Fitch
This label is a reason in its own in relation to shopping. The obsession with the American clothing brand has spread out from the inner Dublin ‘d4’ area and has now hit most parts of Ireland. With the new store opening in Dublin seeing extremely high prices and raising the popularity of the clothing many vow to save and bring home suitcases full of the clothes.
Many J1 students come out with groups of friends as it seems like the fun thing to do. It's more or less a black or white situation for them. Stay at home and be miserable listening to endless new reports on the economy and jobs or go to America which has been made far more appealing by the ads by sponsors, are what Irish students are let to decide over.
The hopefulness instilled in us from pop culture music such as Jay Z and Alica Keys’ "Empire State of mind” and movies centered on ‘The American Dream' makes us believe that by spending a summer in America we will have far more opportunity than on the labor market back home.
Job-hunting in New York as an Irish student
Summer in the city for Irish students
6. Success stories
Most of us have heard the tales of how numerous people have made it ‘big’ over here with little more than they had when they first came over. Our recent Moneygall trip by U.S Irish American president Barack Obama has been yet another marker to visit for in the joined words of Obama and Taoiseach Enda Kenny ‘for anyone who doubted their countries where the greatest that ever lived.’
7.The sense of the unknown
The idea of going to a country where nobody knows you and you can make your own destiny is quite appealing . Unfortunatly some J1’rs then tend to stick in Irish Bar’s and mingle in their own groups or house hunt in Irish communities.
The American westernization of fast food has spread to most parts of the world by now. Many find the grub here a relatively safe enough reason to come. The quantity of the portions makes it a rather cheap and cheerful basic cost-of-living factor to come.
9 Multi-cultural society
America’s ability to overcome religious and ethnic differences is one which can be marveled at particularly by us Irish which have witnessed the impact of the religious divide between Protestants and Catholics and Glasgow Vs. Celtic fans on holidays abroad in Europe.
10.The crossroads of the world
This is my own personal reason for being in New York.The most amazing random and cultured people I continue to come across at the crossroads of the world –Times Square. Sometimes it’s people playing a piano, other times it's naked cowboy??!! Who knows!!!