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Emma's J1 In Myrtle Beach

A couple of years ago, Emma went on J1 to Myrtle Beach. Here's her blog all about the experience, reproduced with her permission.

"Today I’ll be chatting about my J1 in Summer 2018, which I spent in Myrtle Beach. Hoping you’ll pick up some inspo or tips if you’re considering going on a J1. Okay, so around January 2018 I got the brainwave that I wanted to go on a J1. I always have been quite a last-minute, spontaneous sort of person and this was no different. I spoke to a few of my friends and eventually me and my best friend from school decided that we would go together, not knowing the amazing adventure that lay ahead of us!

Being honest, I had never previously heard of Myrtle Beach, situated in the state of South Carolina in America, but while researching destinations it kept popping up. Both me and my friend had our hearts set on a J1 in San Francisco however as we had left it late (Mid March by this stage) jobs were almost impossible to come across in San Francisco. So, we made the decision to go to Myrtle Beach, knowing little about the area, it was definitely a big gamble, one that thankfully paid off.

Location, Location, Location

As I’ve said, Myrtle Beach is situated on the east coast of America in the state of South Carolina. It is primarily a tourist destination and is extremely busy during the summer months. Tourists come from near and far to the seaside location and there is always a great buzz and atmosphere to be felt.

Temperature

I would describe the temperature as hot but bearable. The part I struggled with was the humidity mostly, leading to frizzy hair and scauldy looking makeup. Never ideal hahaha. However, it was a welcome change in scenery from Ireland and the heat was very much appreciated. I’d like to say I came home with a gorgeous tan but if you’re Irish you know that the chances of this are slim to none- so a nice shade of red coming home did the job for me hahaha.

 Jobs

Jobs are easy to come by in Myrtle Beach, some of my friends even ended up with two jobs to make some extra money to fund their travelling at the end. Both me and my best friend worked in a local hotel, a short 20 minute walk from our accommodation. We worked early mornings (sometimes as early as 6am( but the work was varied so it was enjoyable.

There were only 5 Irish including myself working in the hotel during the summer- a low number compared to other workplaces- however this meant that we became close as a group. The work was different everyday which I enjoyed. Some days I worked in the Starbucks in the hotel resort, others I spent bussing tables or manning the host stand. While busy days meant I was serving all day, this also meant I got tips which came in handy.

The only disadvantage of where we worked was where it was situated as it was a distance from our accommodation. If you are planning on going on your J1 to Myrtle Beach, I would recommend looking for a job along the boardwalk such as places like Moe Moon’s, Iggys, I love Sugar, Gay dolphin etc. Some of my friends also worked at the resort park called ‘Broadway at the Beach’... another great alternative. It is a bit of a trek from the main hub of Myrtle Beach, but Ubers cost next to nothing and the local bus runs buses to ‘Broadway at the Beach’ on an hourly basis.

Accommodation

Both me and my best friend stayed in the motel ‘Fountainbleu’ for our J1. We stayed in a four person room with two girls we had made friends with through a Facebook page. The rooms are basic but that’s really all you need. They had two beds between four people and are en-suite with a small kitchen area with an oven, hob, fridge etc. Personally, I never cooked in the room as we were provided with food at work but my roommates cooked often.

I would say the highlight of my J1 was staying in Fountainbleu, not particularly because of the rooms themselves or the facilities which were good anyhow but solely for the reason that so many Irish J1 students were also staying there. There was 40-50 Irish J1 students staying in Fountainbleu and everyone became good friends easily. We all had pre drinks together either on one of our balconies or at the pool area before going out. This was a great way to mix with and get to know some of the other students.

We also had a pool party organised by Randy May every Sunday, your go to man while staying in Myrtle Beach. He helped us so much while over there with advice on places to go, places not to go and general tips. If you are going to Myrtle Beach, I would say get moving quick and get in touch with Nikki in Fountainbleu to secure your place. It’s the ideal spot if you want to be in the middle of everything for the Summer.

Nightlife

Nightlife in Myrtle Beach didn’t disappoint. There was something to do every night to ensure we were never at a loose end. Some of my favourite places to go included Sharkeys, Murrells Inlet and The Boathouse. Sharkeys is on Monday and Thursday nights and is only a stone’s throw from Fountainbleu and is a great spot for a bop.

As I’m sure you know you need to be 21 to drink alcohol and be allowed entry to clubs in America and this applies to Myrtle Beach aswell. Murrells Inlet and the Boathouse are a short uber ride away and both are always great fun. Murrells inlet is a strip near Myrtle Beach along the water with lots of great places to eat and drink in. We spent many a night here and it was most definitely my favourite place to go out in. The Boathouse is open every Sunday and is a chilled affair. It’s gorgeous on a sunny day to sit out the back, listen to the live music and have a drink. You won’t be disappointed by the nightlife for sure.

Things To Do

I spent many a day walking around ‘Broadway at the Beach. on a day off work. It has such a chilled atmosphere and has loads of attractions. Probably my favourite place I went while in Myrtle Beach was ‘Market Common', a 10 minute drive from Fountainbleu. It’s a gorgeous outside shopping district with lots of great restaurants and bars.

I would recommend the restaurant ‘Gordon Biersch’ brewery restaurant. We went numerous times and it was even nicer every time. If you’re at a loose end some night I would suggest taking a trip to a ‘Pelicans’ baseball game when they’re at home. Thursdays are usually a good shout as they do $1 dollar beer on these nights. Definitely something you should check out before you leave Myrtle Beach.

‘Coastal Grand Mall’ is a great option for some retail therapy and the ‘Tanger’ outlets are also a good shout if you’re looking for some bargains. One thing we didn’t get to do while in Myrtle Beach was to visit Charleston city. Full of history and quirky little streets and restaurants it’s definitely a must. Don’t leave without checking out the infamous house which featured in the well known film ‘The Notebook’. Charleston is one place I regret not seeing so definitely check it out.

Hope this helped you in some way and gave you the travel bug. I definitely have it after last Summer and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Currently planning my J1 for this Summer in none other than San Francisco. So excited but it has a lot to live up to after Myrtle Beach. If you’ve even the slightest interest in a J1 in Myrtle Beach I’d say do it! I promise you won’t regret it."

Check back soon for Emma's follow-up blog after her J1 summer in San Francisco.

Start planning your own J1. Contact us in Cork on 021 4279190 or J1visa@sayit.ie, or Dublin: 01 608 0072 or dublinJ1@sayit.ie

Read more blogs: Laura's J1 in Newport, Rhode IslandMike's J1 Summer In ChicagoRebecca's New York J1 ExperienceMark's J1 Summer Of Sport In ChicagoCara's Ocean City J1 Summer5 Tips For Making The Most Of Your J1 ExperienceHow To Source Your Own J1 JobKate's Boston J1 SummerCiara's Long Beach J1 Experience.

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