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J1 USA

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5 Tips For Making The Most Of Your J1 Experience

Research:

Once you begin your J1 booking process, of course jobs and accommodation are going to be first on your mind. So much so, students often forget to have a quick look at what's going on during the summer at their specific destination. Tickets for huge music festivals like Lollapalooza in Chicago are often sold out before Christmas, leaving many J1 students depressingly watching their counterparts attend the big event come August; and that's only one example. There's loads going on throughout the summer in the states, and a little research before you travel could prove to be the best decision you ever made.

Concert

Unlock your phone:

With the likes of snapchat and instagram taking over our lives, the last thing you want is to have to purchase a cheap $25 "brick" because your Irish smart phone isn't unlocked. You're, hands down, going to create some of the best memories of your life while on J1 so you want to be able to record these experiences in the best way possible. If it's not too much hassle, get your phone unlocked while in Ireland; data plans and credit in the states are very similar to those back at home.

Phone Unlocking

Keep a diary (or even a blog):

Your J1 is very likely going to be the best memory in your life for many years afterwards. 4,5,6 years down the line, you'll still be saying "Remember that time in so and so..." - so why not keep a diary or online blog of your whole experience to have those memories recorded forever. More than anything, it can be a means to keep Mammy at home entertained while she's waiting for the latest episode of ‘Fair City’ to start on a Sunday evening.

Going a step further, if you have a reasonably good camera, keep a video blog or record as much as you can. "J1 USA" youtube videos have become very common in recent years and they’re great to revisit every once in awhile. If you have the money, the GoPro range are great cameras for J1's and they generally work out cheaper to buy in the states than in Ireland.

Selfie

Explore:

One thing you're going to notice within the first week of arriving is that you can spot Irish people a mile off. You won't even have to speak and a group of fellow J1 students will be asking what part of Ireland you're from, what your plans are for the night etc. This is a great way to make new Irish friends and to keep that connection with the ‘auld sod’, however, don't be afraid to stay away from the irish bars, tourist traps, and head to the places where the locals go. The locals will have more friends and connections than us Irish, so those contacts and their friends/ families might be your ‘passport’ to a local baseball game, concert or just a great american house party.

Beach

Travel/ Roadtrip:

For a lot of students, this may be a given, but you'd be surprised at how many people go home without travelling their final week or so. Even if your funds are low, road trips can take anything between 1 day to 4 weeks. Try to save enough during your 2-3 months J1 Experience so that you can enjoy a road trip to remember.

You never know what crazy places you may end up, or what incredible experiences you might have. One of our J1 students and his friends got to spend Labor Day in Brett Favre's 465 acre mansion, with the man himself and his family. This invite came via a guy they met at a local baseball game. Brett is one of the greatest American Footballers of all time, and the students said it was a stroke of luck, not to mention an honour to spend some time with his family. A little bit of your Irish charm will go a long way into getting you similar invites during your J1 experience.

Read more blogs: Mike's Chicago J1 ExperienceJulianne's San Diego J1 Experience5 Useful Mobile Apps You'll Need On Your J1, J1 Jobs: All You Need To Know.

Contact us: SAYIT J1 Cork +353 21 4279 190 or J1visa@sayit.ie. Dublin: +353 1 608 0072 or dublinJ1@sayit.ie

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