10 Things That Every Student Will Experience On A J1
July 26, 2017 (No Comments) by Ryan Grace

10-things-that-every-student-will-experience-on-a-j1

Every year, over 8,000 Irish students take the trip of a lifetime that is a J1 to the US. It’s an opportunity to travel across the world, meet new people, experience American culture, and above all; make your summer an unforgettable experience. By now you’ll have seen countless articles online listing all the things you need to know before you board your flight; unlocking your phone, opening a US bank account, applying for your tax return etc etc. However there are plenty of other (and frankly more important) things to consider before you hit the road.

Here are 10 things that every student will experience on a J1!

The Emotional Goodbye To Mammy

Your bags are packed, the group chat is absolutely LIT AF (did I say that right?), and you’re ready to rock your first ever J1. All that stands between you and those complimentary in-flight peanuts is the long emotional goodbye to Mammy. Be prepared, this is not a drill! There will be tears, there will be hugs, and there will be false promises that you’ll call her at least 8 times a day. The whole thing will be a fairly harrowing experience, not to mention the fact that you’ll have to setup and then show her how to use her brand new Skype account…ugh.

The Battle For Bed-Space With Your 500 New Roommates

the-battle-for-bed-space-with-your-500-new-roommates

You’ve arrived in America, the land of the free, the American dream, time to live the life of luxury right? WRONG, congratulations you’re now the proud co-owner of a small village inside a single apartment. It will start off fairly tame, 10 maybe 12 of the lads ‘slumming it’, but believe you me, that number will grow. By mid-July the number will have become immeasurable and you’ll resign yourself to the fact that these 450 students, 20 drifters, and 30 unknowns are your family. Also, have your exit strategy ready for the impromptu landlord visits (I recommend pretending to be a lamp).

The Utterly Baffling Amount Of Partying/Alcohol

Think RAG week, but 3 months long. You’ve tried and tried and tried to convince yourself it won’t all be parties and drinking, but let’s face it – the vast majority of it will be. But don’t worry! Its swings and roundabouts, what seems like the world’s worst rollover sesh could turn into the best night of your life. So go crazy ‘til you see the sun, and live while you’re young (One Direction – 2012).

The Most Degrading Job Of Your Life

the-most-degrading-job-of-your-life

Ever look at those guys dressed as giant hotdogs handing out 2For1 vouchers and think ‘ha poor fella, that will never be me’? Well, think again. For some strange reason, every J1 applicant ever seems to have these grand delusions that they’re going to work as a swagtastic bar tender in a cool jazz club, or a carefree surfing instructor, or Jordan Speith’s golf caddy. The reality is you’re going to have to face some pretty humiliating work. But it’s only short-term right? When I have my philosophy degree it’ll all come together, RIGHT??! *cries internally*

The Complete Disregard You Have For Said Job

Having said that, you’re going to show such a blatant disregard for this job that none of it is really going to matter anyway. You might be employee of the freakin’ millennium for the first couple of weeks, but trust me, that will all go with time. Fast forward to the last week in June, you’re late, you haven’t slept/showered, the only reason you don’t feel hungover is because you’re probably still drunk and worst of all; you can’t find your nametag and have to wear one that says ‘Beckie’ All. Day. Long.

The 4th Of July Celebration

Take any notions you’ve ever had about Americans and how they celebrate the 4th of July and just exaggerate that by about 900%. Do that and you’re still not even close. The word’s biggest pizza, beer, and fireworks festival hands down. Most people on a J1 have one of two reactions to 4th of July celebrations; they either embrace it and go with the flow or spend the day completely traumatised by the world around them. Sure, it can be a bit full on, but stumble across the right house party with the right people and it can easily become the highlight of the whole summer. If you’re lucky enough to find a friend with a Corvette, chances are they may shoot fireworks from the exhaust after drinking whiskey, we honestly can’t think of a better way to celebrate ‘Murica day!

The ‘Super-Size Me’ Diet

Let’s face it, you may be on a working holiday but you’re still a student at heart. Plus, if you spend all your money on healthy food, how will you afford all your bottles of Rolling Rock? To accommodate this budgetary conundrum, you’ll more than likely adopt the ‘Super-Size Me’ diet, (aka the ‘XXL Days’, aka the ‘Do You Want Fries with That? Season). Pretty soon you’re whole life will become a series of takeaways and those dreams of the Cali beach body will slowly but surely fade away. You’ll arrive home in September with an official boycott on all fast food outlets for at least a year and the sheer sight of that first ‘Mammy’s dinner’ will make you weak at the knees.

The Sudden Allegiance To US Sports Teams

us-sports-teams

This one will grow on you like vines on my granny’s cottage. Even if you hate sports entirely, you will at one point or another come across some spare tickets to a baseball game or a basketball match and think ‘Sure why the feck not?!’ Fast forward to the final quarter and you’re screaming like an utter lunatic and waving your $9 hotdog in the air like you just don’t care. Odds on you’ll impulse buy an LA Lakers jersey. You’ll soon realise it doesn’t quite cut it for Sunday mass in Ballybunion. Welcome to the back of the wardrobe next to some questionable socks and a star-spangled top hat.

The Benefits Of An Irish Accent

‘Oh you’re Irish? Here, have my Mercedes.’ … Okay maybe it’s not that extreme, but you’ll be surprised at how much attention and love you’ll get for that Irish charm. The Americans go absolutely crazy for it! Whether you’re chatting someone up at a bar or looking to kick off a conversation at a party, throwing a little bit of Gaeilge in there can go a long way! Just look your victim, friend (that’s the one) deep in the eyes, grab their hand and say ‘An bhfuil céad agam dul go dtí an leithreas’ – trust me, works every time.

The Abercrombie and Hollister Binge

You’re nearing the end of your summer, maybe you’ve got a bit more cash than you thought you would and you’re thinking ‘Wow! I might actually come home with some money out of this.’ Well, think again. There’s only one place any leftover dollars might be going to and that’s the Abercrombie and Hollister binge. Once you fall into the pit of American outlet shopping there’s pretty much no hope left. Just remember that you have to fit all these nice things into your bag at the airport, or you could end up like Joey from FRIENDS wearing layers and layers of clothes for 10 hours!

So, there you have it. If you think you can survive these 10 experiences, then prepare for the best summer of your life. If not, then why not give it a go anyway, what’s the worst that could happen?!

Ryan Grace
Writer by day, musician by night. Passionate about film and film score. Permanently bitten by the travel bug. Also loves a good Netflix binge.

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10 Things That Every Student Will Experience On A J1
July 26, 2017 (No Comments) by Ryan Grace

10-things-that-every-student-will-experience-on-a-j1

Every year, over 8,000 Irish students take the trip of a lifetime that is a J1 to the US. It’s an opportunity to travel across the world, meet new people, experience American culture, and above all; make your summer an unforgettable experience. By now you’ll have seen countless articles online listing all the things you need to know before you board your flight; unlocking your phone, opening a US bank account, applying for your tax return etc etc. However there are plenty of other (and frankly more important) things to consider before you hit the road.

Here are 10 things that every student will experience on a J1!

The Emotional Goodbye To Mammy

Your bags are packed, the group chat is absolutely LIT AF (did I say that right?), and you’re ready to rock your first ever J1. All that stands between you and those complimentary in-flight peanuts is the long emotional goodbye to Mammy. Be prepared, this is not a drill! There will be tears, there will be hugs, and there will be false promises that you’ll call her at least 8 times a day. The whole thing will be a fairly harrowing experience, not to mention the fact that you’ll have to setup and then show her how to use her brand new Skype account…ugh.

The Battle For Bed-Space With Your 500 New Roommates

the-battle-for-bed-space-with-your-500-new-roommates

You’ve arrived in America, the land of the free, the American dream, time to live the life of luxury right? WRONG, congratulations you’re now the proud co-owner of a small village inside a single apartment. It will start off fairly tame, 10 maybe 12 of the lads ‘slumming it’, but believe you me, that number will grow. By mid-July the number will have become immeasurable and you’ll resign yourself to the fact that these 450 students, 20 drifters, and 30 unknowns are your family. Also, have your exit strategy ready for the impromptu landlord visits (I recommend pretending to be a lamp).

The Utterly Baffling Amount Of Partying/Alcohol

Think RAG week, but 3 months long. You’ve tried and tried and tried to convince yourself it won’t all be parties and drinking, but let’s face it – the vast majority of it will be. But don’t worry! Its swings and roundabouts, what seems like the world’s worst rollover sesh could turn into the best night of your life. So go crazy ‘til you see the sun, and live while you’re young (One Direction – 2012).

The Most Degrading Job Of Your Life

the-most-degrading-job-of-your-life

Ever look at those guys dressed as giant hotdogs handing out 2For1 vouchers and think ‘ha poor fella, that will never be me’? Well, think again. For some strange reason, every J1 applicant ever seems to have these grand delusions that they’re going to work as a swagtastic bar tender in a cool jazz club, or a carefree surfing instructor, or Jordan Speith’s golf caddy. The reality is you’re going to have to face some pretty humiliating work. But it’s only short-term right? When I have my philosophy degree it’ll all come together, RIGHT??! *cries internally*

The Complete Disregard You Have For Said Job

Having said that, you’re going to show such a blatant disregard for this job that none of it is really going to matter anyway. You might be employee of the freakin’ millennium for the first couple of weeks, but trust me, that will all go with time. Fast forward to the last week in June, you’re late, you haven’t slept/showered, the only reason you don’t feel hungover is because you’re probably still drunk and worst of all; you can’t find your nametag and have to wear one that says ‘Beckie’ All. Day. Long.

The 4th Of July Celebration

Take any notions you’ve ever had about Americans and how they celebrate the 4th of July and just exaggerate that by about 900%. Do that and you’re still not even close. The word’s biggest pizza, beer, and fireworks festival hands down. Most people on a J1 have one of two reactions to 4th of July celebrations; they either embrace it and go with the flow or spend the day completely traumatised by the world around them. Sure, it can be a bit full on, but stumble across the right house party with the right people and it can easily become the highlight of the whole summer. If you’re lucky enough to find a friend with a Corvette, chances are they may shoot fireworks from the exhaust after drinking whiskey, we honestly can’t think of a better way to celebrate ‘Murica day!

The ‘Super-Size Me’ Diet

Let’s face it, you may be on a working holiday but you’re still a student at heart. Plus, if you spend all your money on healthy food, how will you afford all your bottles of Rolling Rock? To accommodate this budgetary conundrum, you’ll more than likely adopt the ‘Super-Size Me’ diet, (aka the ‘XXL Days’, aka the ‘Do You Want Fries with That? Season). Pretty soon you’re whole life will become a series of takeaways and those dreams of the Cali beach body will slowly but surely fade away. You’ll arrive home in September with an official boycott on all fast food outlets for at least a year and the sheer sight of that first ‘Mammy’s dinner’ will make you weak at the knees.

The Sudden Allegiance To US Sports Teams

us-sports-teams

This one will grow on you like vines on my granny’s cottage. Even if you hate sports entirely, you will at one point or another come across some spare tickets to a baseball game or a basketball match and think ‘Sure why the feck not?!’ Fast forward to the final quarter and you’re screaming like an utter lunatic and waving your $9 hotdog in the air like you just don’t care. Odds on you’ll impulse buy an LA Lakers jersey. You’ll soon realise it doesn’t quite cut it for Sunday mass in Ballybunion. Welcome to the back of the wardrobe next to some questionable socks and a star-spangled top hat.

The Benefits Of An Irish Accent

‘Oh you’re Irish? Here, have my Mercedes.’ … Okay maybe it’s not that extreme, but you’ll be surprised at how much attention and love you’ll get for that Irish charm. The Americans go absolutely crazy for it! Whether you’re chatting someone up at a bar or looking to kick off a conversation at a party, throwing a little bit of Gaeilge in there can go a long way! Just look your victim, friend (that’s the one) deep in the eyes, grab their hand and say ‘An bhfuil céad agam dul go dtí an leithreas’ – trust me, works every time.

The Abercrombie and Hollister Binge

You’re nearing the end of your summer, maybe you’ve got a bit more cash than you thought you would and you’re thinking ‘Wow! I might actually come home with some money out of this.’ Well, think again. There’s only one place any leftover dollars might be going to and that’s the Abercrombie and Hollister binge. Once you fall into the pit of American outlet shopping there’s pretty much no hope left. Just remember that you have to fit all these nice things into your bag at the airport, or you could end up like Joey from FRIENDS wearing layers and layers of clothes for 10 hours!

So, there you have it. If you think you can survive these 10 experiences, then prepare for the best summer of your life. If not, then why not give it a go anyway, what’s the worst that could happen?!

Ryan Grace
Writer by day, musician by night. Passionate about film and film score. Permanently bitten by the travel bug. Also loves a good Netflix binge.

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