Hear the first-hand experience of young Irish people living and working in the US in IrishCentral’s latest series on the J-1 graduate visa. We speak to recent Irish graduates working across a range of industries on their careers, motivations, and the highs and lows of their stateside adventure.
Our 12th edition looks at the spirits industry and the life of a brand ambassador.
Eimear Kelleher, 25, from Lucan, Co. Dublin is Tullamore D.E.W Brand Ambassador in New York.
She studied Marketing in DIT before moving to New York.
Deciding to move to New York
I’d previously spent two summers and a semester in NY so I was very eager to get back.
I applied for a few graduate programs, various jobs and a Masters’ course and, thankfully, I got my number one choice with the IBEC graduate program. The IBEC Export Orientation Programme (EOP) is Ireland’s longest running graduate placement program that offers graduates of all disciplines the opportunity to be introduced to international business in their relevant sector.
I finished college at the end of May, interviewed for the job in June, began training in July and moved over in August – quite the whirlwind.
My family and friends know how much I love New York so they were more than happy for me to go back. Of course, they’re lost without me though ...
Starting work and finding a job
My company (William Grant & Sons) was beyond accommodating. They helped us every step of the way, from setting up the embassy appointment to organizing temporary housing for us.
In terms of applying for jobs in my field, I don’t feel like Ireland had a lot to offer outside of unpaid internships or graduate programs. Obviously graduate programs are amazing, but in the grand scheme of things, only a small number of graduates land such positions leaving the majority on the job-hunt.
From past experience, the best advice I can give to people is to start searching immediately. I landed my internships in the States before I got on the plane. Facebook is a great tool. It allows you to contact Irish networks and build connections. That’s exactly how I got my previous internships.
Bringing your A-game
Working in the US teaches you to work harder than you ever thought possible, especially in NY. So many people move here for their careers so you need to be on your A-game at all times and do more than expected.
Sticking to a 9-to-5 routine isn’t acceptable here; there’s always more to be done.
I definitely feel like there are more opportunities here. Even just in terms of networking, the contacts you make go a long way.
The American lifestyle
America has definitely made me more confident. You’ve no choice but to big yourself up here. Irish people are terrible at self-promotion and taking compliments, but you’ve no choice in this country.
I’ve yet to find a real con to American life, aside from the ridiculously large portion sizes.
There’s so much more to do here. There are always cool events, new restaurants, sights to see, etc. I love how I can just decide to get a train to Philly on a Saturday for the sake of a cheese steak or even just to a different borough for the world’s best bagel. Of course, my pros are food-related.
This is random, but I really miss our supermarkets. You just can’t beat Irish brands. I feel like every piece of food here is laced with sugar and an unlawful amount of unnecessary calories. What I’d give to have a Spar or SuperValu here!
Have you taken the plunge and moved to the US on the J-1 Graduate visa? Tackled the visa process, the job and apartment hunt and lived to tell the tale? IrishCentral wants to hear from you! Share your J-1 Graduate visa story with firstname.lastname@example.org to take part in our series and advise the next batch of US recruits.