I’ve been meaning to write a post about my time on the J1 visa in America this summer since I got back, it’s only taken me over two months to finally get around to it. In June I left dreary Dublin for sunny San Diego. (It was also my first time flying alone and to travel transatlantic!)
I booked my J1 through USIT and they arranged the flights and visa for me.
For three months I lived in Pacific Beach in San Diego, in a house with nine others (it wasn’t as cramped as it sounds!)
One thing I learned while living in the states is that it’s not cheap! Especially where I was living, as it was considered to be a ‘resort’ area of San Diego, but we were living two blocks from the beach and couldn’t have had a better location! I would advise anyone considering to do a J1 to save as much as possible before going over, and definitely secure accommodation and a job beforehand.
I was also lucky enough to spend most of my work day on the beach, as I worked as a photographer for Pacific Beach Surf Shop for the summer, taking photos of surf lessons throughout the day. I got to meet some amazing people from around the world while working there, some of whom where from San Diego and others from as far away as Brazil and Australia.
Towards the end of my time in San Diego, I also briefly worked in Lil’ Dipper, an ice cream shop in La Jolla. It’s safe to say I ate a lot of ice cream during my short time there!
I also had the opportunity to travel a bit while in America. At the end of June we did a road trip to Las Vegas, and before I headed back home at the end of August, I went to Los Angeles with a friend for FYF Fest, then jetted up to New York City for my last few days.
When I travelled to New York, I went alone. At first the idea was daunting, New York is a massive city, but I got lucky as the hostel I stayed in was fantastic (HI NYC) and I met some really cool people there and we explored the city together.
I’m really glad I decided to do the J1 after my final year in college. It was an amazing experience and one of the best summers I’ve had. I feel in love with New York especially and I hope to travel back to America again, whether it’s a holiday or on another work visa, who knows!