An Island Girl’s Insight: Surprising Similarities Between Aran and a J1

You’ll see it on Facebook, on Snapchat and even on the likes of this website, thousands of students are having a great time on their J1.

For anyone who doesn’t know, a J1 visa allows Irish 3rd level students to work and travel in the USA for the summer.

You’ll see snaps of central park, American names increasing on your friends’ Facebook pages, and articles and stories all over about the students’ adventures.

This is a lot less fun for those of us stuck at home. Luckily for me, I live somewhere unique.

When my classmates and I finished up for the summer and began to part ways, anyone not going on a J1 was absolutely dreading heading home for four months.

Although I was sad to be leaving DCU for a few months, I count myself very lucky to be able to spend my summers in Inis Mór which is an amazing place to be during the break.

So although I’m somewhat bitter about the fact that I’m not on a J1 in Chicago or New York or somewhere cool, there are many factors to island life which makes the alternative closer to a J1 than one might think.

On a J1 you get to meet interesting characters and sample different cultures

On Inis Mór, everyday is an opportunity to meet new people. Thousands of tourists visit the Island everyday in the summer.

While working in a coffee shop, I am encouraged to chat to visitors and many of them stay for hours and chat and give me snippets of their lives all around the world.

This week for example I met an American girl with Diabetes who had a pet poodle that signaled when her blood sugars were irregular. What’s more, within the past week alone I have met people from each and every continent.

On a J1 you make new friends

Where I live, a huge amount of people my age come out to work for the summer, visit family or learn Irish. I have made some best friends because of the fact that the island is such a desired place for a summer job.

From gaeltacht goers to grandparent-visitors, there is an