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Julia's Summer in San Fran

Last year, Julia spent her J1 summer in San Francisco. See how she got on...

Summer 2019 was not one I’ll forget in a hurry! Living life on the West Coast of California was a far cry from the West Coast of Clare. I swapped fields and rain for the city and sun and wouldn’t have had it any other way. Making the decision to go on a J1 was probably the easiest one I've made so far. While it takes lots of organisation and preparation, it’s all worth it while you’re sitting in sun laughing with your friends!

Thankfully after a few stressful weeks, in April I found a job through interexchange in the San Francisco Dungeons. It was a big change from waiting tables at home, but was the adjustment I needed and definitely had a massive impact on my summer. Going from aprons and ties to cowboy and guard costumes was another factor that made my summer all the more exciting, and it helped everyone I worked with was 10/10.

Like most other J1ers that head to San Francisco, my friends and I decided to live 20/25 minutes outside the city in Berkeley. Berkeley is a smaller university city, accessible by public transport and has so much to offer. It’s a social hub for other J1ers to meet each other, and a great way to have a night out on the cheap. Late bars like Spats, Pappys and Kips were full to the brim most nights of the week with the Irish looking to have a bop and a laugh after work.

If you’re smart about social media too, looking at J1 facebook pages regularly you often found ways to get into these bars for free! (Something every J1 student loved to hear.) If you wanted a change, San Francisco also had lots of nightclubs to offer but at a greater price, also factoring in the cost of an Uber home. Club X in San Fran often held ‘Irish Nights’ on a Friday, where you could rock up with any form of Irish ID and get in for a discounted rate.

While a good night out is always something people look forward to, there are much more exciting things to keep you occupied in the Bay Area, the list of attractions can go on for miles! Cycling across the iconic Golden Gate Bridge to beautiful Sausalito is a must. Here you’re spoiled for choice of ice cream shops and little boutiques that you wouldn’t find in the city and can relax by the bay, taking in the breathtaking views of San Francisco across the water! (A real J1 pinch me moment).

From the Painted Ladies, Coit Tower, Twin Peaks to Dolores Park, there are so many day trips across the city that are incredibly J1 budget friendly and all great photo opportunities too!  My favourite spot in San Francisco by far has to be Fisherman's Wharf, during the summer months this area is thronged with tourists and is buzzing from top to bottom. You could spend hours upon hours on Pier 39, popping in and out of the variety of shops and cafes and restaurants they have to offer, with street performers and music surrounding you. It is by far one of the most atmospheric parts of the city.

If you’re looking for a more relaxed day out, a visit to Golden Gate Park is just the spot. There’s beautiful walled gardens throughout and it's a lovely area for a peaceful walk. A trip to Golden Gate Park isn’t complete without taking a trip out onto Stow Lake on peddle boats too. While you’re at it, why not immerse yourself in true American Culture and see a baseball game in Oracle Park? The San Francisco 49ers play often so finding a day to see a game usually isn’t too difficult, thankfully ticket prices aren’t extortionate either!

While I could write for pages and pages I think most of these amazing places need to be experienced in person to really understand what an eccentric and exciting place the Bay Area is. I could not recommend San Francisco enough when considering where to live out your J1 dream!

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: Emma's J1 in San FranLaura'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 Summer,  Emma's Myrtle Beach J1,Ciara's Long Beach J1 Experience.

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