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Sophie's J1 Experience in Boston

Sophie recently got back from her J1 experience in Boston. Here's what she has to say:

My J1 experience started out like most people, with my eyes set on Sunny San Diego. I had my heart set on spending a summer filled with sand, sea and endless sunshine.

This quickly proved quite difficult as it seemed everyone young Irish student had the same idea! This is when I began to rethink my destination choice. I realised I am a city girl and would definatly prefer to spend my summer in the hustle and bustle of an American city.

My friends and I chose Boston for numerous reasons and I can honestly say it was the best decision I have ever made! Boston has a similar size population to Dublin City, meaning along with its strong Irish culture it is very easy to navigate and feel at home very quickly.

Boston is also full of history, being one of the oldest cities in America and the key role it played in the American Revolution. During one of our days off we took a trolley tour around Boston city to learn about the key locations in the Revolution, this was also a nice a way to see the city sheltered from the heat! 

Other fun things to do around Boston on your days off include strolling around Harvard University, looking at the fish in the New England Aquarium, sunbathing in Boston Common’s the oldest city park in America, taking a dip in one of the many public pools, catching a Red Sock’s game in Fenway Park or take a boat trip around Boston Harbour to try and spot some whales.

The list goes on, there is so much to see and do around Boston! And if you do want to escape city life, I recommend going to explore what the rest of New England has to offer. The quaint seaside villages to long sandy beaches. We didn’t get a chance to go but I heard Cape Cod and the surrounding islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard were beautiful in the summer.

Another reason I chose Boston was for its accessible location. Boston is only a 4 hour bus ride from New York City making it the perfect getaway on your days off from work! You can get bus tickets very cheap so no excuse not to visit the Big Apple while you’re so close! New York and Boston although they are so close, they are so different. I would recommend visiting the Top of the Rock at sunset if you are in NY – it’s a view that can’t be beaten.

Some recommendations I would give future J1 students is to try find accommodation before you arrive. This can be hard as you don’t know where a good location is or not and you don’t want to give big deposits over the internet in case it is a scam. I would suggest researching the different neighbourhoods in your destination and the transport available, and make sure it is a realistic commute to work. You don’t want to have to take 3 train and 4 buses just to get to work!

I found my accommodation by joining a Facebook group – Boston Summer housing. Most big cities will have a Facebook group like this. It allows college students to sublet their apartment during the summer months. I wouldn’t pay big deposits over the internet, ask if it would be ok to pay 1st month rent and safety deposit when you arrive. In most cases if they are legit, this will be ok!

My number one tip… use the 30 travel days at the end of your J1! You deserve it after a summer of working! After I finished work, we rented a car using the TURO app – which is basically Air bnb for cars, it’s amazing! We road tripped to Niagara Falls, NY. It was about an 8-hour car journey, worth it! Niagara Falls is between the border of America and Canada. It is fascinating to see, we took a boat tour which goes right up under the falls. It was like being in a storm. From there we drove to Maine. Coastal Maine is some of the most spectacular scenery I have seen. Acadia National Park is one of the most visited National Parks in America, is a nature lovers paradise. Portland, the main city of Maine is a small hipster city with loads of great little quirky shops and restaurants. It is worth a visit! Maine wouldn’t be top of J1er’s list of places to visit but if you are on the East Coast you should go explore it, you won’t be disappointment!

If you are looking for the hustle and bustle of a big city as well as the quaintness of small coastal villages and sandy beaches, I would recommend New England, it has it all!

 

Read more blogs: Mike's Chicago J1 Experience5 Tips For Making The Most Of Your J1 Experience5 Useful Mobile Apps You'll Need On Your J1J1 Jobs: All You Need To KnowRebecca's New York J1 ExperienceCiara's Long Beach J1 ExperienceMyrtle Beach J1 Experience By ShaniceKate's Boston J1 Summer.

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