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Annie's Solo J1 in Nantucket

Read Annie's blog about her J1 summer this year in Nantucket:

"Since I started college back in 2020 I had been dreaming of doing a J1, however, given the fact Covid was around it made it difficult to try and participate in a J1 in my first or second year of college. So, in my third year of college when I was 21, I decided there was no better time to bite the bullet so I signed up with SAYIT to do my J1. I knew a girl who had worked on Nantucket the summer prior in 2022 and she could not have spoken more highly about a place. I just knew it was the place I wanted to work for my J1 summer experience, and, I had the time of my life.

Annie J1 Blog Nantucket Annie J1 Blog Nantucket Sunset

From the minute I landed on Nantucket I was greeted at the harbour by a co-worker who escorted me to my accommodation which was provided by my workplace. I knew instantly from my first encounter with Nantucket and the people, that it was the place I wanted to be this summer. On my first day at work in a beautiful and idyllic sandwich shop/bakery located on Cliff Road Nantucket, I was greeted by some of the most kind, helpful and wholesome people I have ever met. Some of my duties at work included making sandwiches, wrapping/bagging the orders, taking orders at the tills, and, answering phones. I even got to work in the kitchen prepping vegetables, salads, cheeses and meats. I personally enjoyed every part of work. There truly was never a dull moment, and there was always a happy and enthusiastic atmosphere in the workplace.

During my time on Nantucket I became very close with all the staff, and, am thrilled to say I’ve made friends for life. My accommodation was great too. It was full of other staff members, and, only a twenty-minute cycle from where I worked and a ten-minute cycle from the beach. Where we spent our days relaxing, swimming, and, sunbathing. Within two weeks of working on Nantucket we were all hanging out together, spending evenings at the beach making smores and catching sunsets, and, being introduced to new sports such as pickleball and spike ball.

We all became so close that spending evenings and days off together became routine. I never felt alone at any point during my time on Nantucket.

We had nights out together as well, where we attended local pubs and restaurants. We also had fun nights in on rainy days where we would play new board games such as Catan and Rummikub. These were games and sports I was unfamiliar with before my J1, and grew to love them during my time on Nantucket.

We had a great variety of J1 students from all around the world both staying in my house or just working with us with their own accommodation. There were three Irish people in my house, two Americans, four Bulgarians, one Scot and one Jamaican. We were all aged from 19-23, so clicked instantly as we were all at similar stages of life and had similar interests. We would plan activities on our days off, even if it was just going for coffee or to the beach we were always spending time together.

I have even planned trips with some of my co-workers from Europe for early next year.

May was a quieter month at work than I expected, but June and July certainly made up for it. We were busy as bees for June and July which was great as the work day would fly by. The tips were great too, as I worked in retail in Ireland before leaving I was not used to getting tips so this was such a lovely bonus in my payslips.

Annie J1 Blog Nantucket

Nantucket itself is a beautiful island with so much to do and see. I had a bicycle which was actually provided by work for me which was great. The bicycle made it so easy to get around the island and see all the wonderful sights it had to offer. I saw all three lighthouses on Nantucket, the beautiful harbour decked with gorgeous boats, not to mention all the beaches. Steps Beach on Nantucket is my favourite beach I have ever been to in my life. It is honestly paradise on earth. Sconset is a beautiful little village on Nantucket that was about a 45-minute cycle from my accommodation. It has a gorgeous beach, a lovely walk, and, the cutest little market. In many ways it reminded me of Ireland. Therefore, I liked to visit Sconset Village if I was feeling a little homesick. There were so many beautiful locations on Nantucket. It was also very easy to go on day trips from Nantucket. For example, I visited Martha’s Vineyard and The Cape as day trips on my days off from work. I would highly recommend doing this as it’s nice for a change of scenery and both locations are so picturesque.

Departing Nantucket was far from the end of my fantastic J1 summer. After my work in Nantucket, I travelled to Myrtle Beach in South Carolina- another popular J1 destination. The reason I went to Myrtle Beach was my friends from college were working there and another one of our friends who didn’t do a J1 was also going to visit them. The weather in Myrtle Beach was something else; with its sunny skies, I topped up my tan. I then headed to Nashville where I met my friends from home for a wicked weekend. We partied all night in the honkytonks, rode mechanical bulls, and even went on a boozy bike ride. A great weekend was had by all of us.

Annie J1 Blog Nashville

I then headed to the Big Apple where I was accompanied by one of my friends from college I had previously met in Myrtle Beach. We stayed in Yonkers with relatives and were able to commute in and out of the city with no bother at all for sightseeing. We saw so much in New York, such as Ground Zero, the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, and the Brooklyn Bridge. We strolled through Central Park and visited the Met and the Natural History Museum. We even took a trip to the Bronx Zoo.

 Annie J1 Blog Nantucket

I also got to attend my first baseball game, which was in Yankee Stadium: a brilliant experience and a lively atmosphere. After I said goodbye to the Big Apple, I made my way to Chicago where I met up with a friend of mine who was doing her J1 there. I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Chicago as there is so much to do there. From shopping on the Magnificent Mile to kayaking on the Chicago River, I had so much fun in this wonderful city, with even better company.

For any student contemplating doing a J1, I would recommend it in a heartbeat. Whether with friends or alone you will have a blast. I went to Nantucket by myself and ended up making friends for life who I’ve already planned trips with for next year. So please do not be worried or scared about going alone, it was possibly the best decision I made over the entire J1 process.  Having my friends doing J1 in other locations just made my travelling time so much better as well, as I got to spend time with the people I loved in exotic cities where we spent days exploring, catching up and having fun.

If I can recommend anything to for people doing J1’s is to get the process started early, and try to get a job in a location you want as soon as you can, as once you’ve secured a job the process becomes much less stressful. You won’t regret doing a J1, it was by far the best summer of my life and I would repeat it in a second." 

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