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Chicago – J1Accom will make your summer in Chicago – Sarah Peppard

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Sarah Peppard. – J1Accom will make your summer in Chicago!


My journey begins with a group of four girls, trying to figure out where to go for our summer. All we knew was that we could not spend another wet miserable summer in Ireland. That’s for sure. So, we began researching the states for our J1’s. Where abouts would we go? Where would we live? Where would we work? And so on. It became very stressful very quickly, and because of this four soon became three, and before our eyes three become two. But you know what they say three is a crowd anyway.

Now the real journey begins, me and my best friend Luzma travelling to the other side of the world. Yes, the group was halved, yes we were terrified. This is when the real search began. We ended up getting what seemed like a great job with a catering company in Chicago. Good pay, good tips, flexible hours, the whole lot. And it sounded too good to be true… and it was. Shortly after speaking to some people I knew that went to Chicago the previous year, we found out that this company was a sham. Which was very lucky for us, but also sad as we had our hearts set on Chicago. It was getting later on in the year, and we just showed right back up at square one. We decided it would be best to try out all the jobs that our J1 sponsor was offering, do skype interviews the lot. They were all rotten. We set out on our own and emailed everywhere, found a nice little job in a pool side restaurant in Chicago(score) were the wage was reasonable and the owner was lovely. He also employed both of us (double score). From here we had two things ticked off the list where we are going and where we would work.

The next question is where we would live. This search began promptly. Because it was only the two of us, we were not able to afford our own place as rent was way to high. This meant that we were more than likely(defiantly) going to have to rent a room in someone’s house. The thought. Anything could happen here. We seemed to have about three choices when it came to choosing a room to rent, move in with a family, move in with a crazy cat lady or move in with a 50 single bachelor. Well that was a big nope. The stress levels grow as our flight date got closer. The thought of two 21 year old Irish girls showing up to the states with no where to live was very haunting. Very very haunting. One day we saw on post on the Chicago J1 Facebook group. Something along the lines of, over 100 beds for Irish J1’ers students in Chicago, student dorms, 1250 euro up front blah blah all about J1Accom. We looked into it and it seemed cool and also seemed really safe. Also had other Irish so we could make friends. As it was only the two of us. But 1250 euro. We did not have that money and we both knew our parents would laugh in our faces. They have already forked out so much. That went onto the backburner anyway. About a week later our search continues. Of course, I looked a bit further into J1Accom, it looked amazing it looked like the dream. Way better then Debby the cat lady, which was our first option at that moment in time. At this point I thought, sure what harm ill tell my mam about this place. To my surprise she turned around and said that it looks amazing, you’ll be safe, you’ll have your own room, you’re going to meet so many people your age. But then the question arose about the price. I told her 1250 up front then 500 in July than 250 back at the end. It worked out about 500 a month which is what we would have been paying anyway. Me and mum agreed that she would pay the upfront and that I would pay the 500 in July. So kind of like my mum as my landlord. But it worked. Luzma’s Mum got on bored and we were set. Luzma and I got so excited. But then we thought its been about a week since we saw the post on Facebook. It only had limited spaces, we thought we had defiantly missed it. We thought it was too late. We filled in the application anyways and with in two hours we had a place. Little did we know that this was going to unveil to be the best summer of our life’s.

This is where the real fun begins. We arrived about a month later to Chicago. Check in was easy with our American RA bringing us to our room and giving us our key cards. We were so tired, and jet lagged that as soon as we got there we crashed. When we woke up we were amazed. Not only did we have our own rooms we had our own apartment. While we looked around Luzma reminded me of our friend Iza. She was also in Chicago. The difference being she was in a two-bed apartment, same as us, but with 18 other people. Safe to say I didn’t envy her. That brings us to our first night in Chicago, we wanted to drink and see what the craic was with everyone living in the building. We got drink and headed to the forth floor where all the statuses on the residence page said to go (Yes the building has its own group chats!). Like sheep we followed. Here we met some people, we didn’t know it at the time, but these people were soon to become our best friends. There was a problem with our Wifi the first night so of coarse we were there giving out balls about how shite the wifi was in this place and those two ‘reps’ Brian and Paul didn’t do anything to help. But it was our first night, there was so many names to remember. Of course we didn’t realise we were giving out about Brian and Paul to… Brian and Paul. Well shite. Who would have known, our reps hang with us. They turned around and laughed. Thank god. Brian then informed us that he had been down three times that day and we were out. I guess they were a bit more useful after all. That’s when the fun really began who knew that our landlords were basically on a J1 with us. They brought us out, showed us the city, the clubs, anything you asked they did. Told us where to go and more importantly where not to go. They looked out for us. Not to mention they were gas. A pair of ejits. Very loveable ejits. They looked after us and introduced us to everyone in the accommodation. Showed everything great about the place, the best way to get into town. Which is by train and right outside the accom door. Just saying.

We soon made good friends with four girls. They had a six bedroom apartment upstairs and we had a three bedroom apartment down stairs. There was a chance that a random person could be moved into our apartment or that two random people could be moved into theirs. The girls offered for the two of us to move in with them, and then that would eliminate the chance of strangers moving in with us. We went to Paul and Brian with our idea, to see if this was even acceptable and the next day we were moved in. That was that, that’s how quick they were to help. Even in our times of most stress we would turn to Paul. Christie, one of the girls in our apartment, went to put tacos into the microwave. When I came out of my room to see what everyone was doing, I seen jess and Christie chatting away on the couch. But to my left, I seen a lot of smoke and sparks, the microwave was basically on fire. They didn’t even notice. I look at the girls and screamed ‘its gonna blow’ as I run into Elaine’s bedroom (not my best idea, would have been a goner) and the girls run out the door. In my desperate call for help I shout ‘call Paul’ ‘Call Paul’ as if he was magic and would come and save us. No. He was in New York in the J1Accom building there that day. All our screaming got Luzma out of the shower, yes a wet person stupid again, who turned off the microwave and shuck her head at us. This just shows that even in my most scared moments I would turn to Paul. Even if I knew he wasn’t there. This is just one of many many amazing stories I have from the summer. And I don’t even want to think how different my summer would have been if I ended up living with Debby the cat lady. It was the best summer of my life and I put that down to the people I met. Which I never would have met without J1Accom. To top it all off when we went travelling we hit New York. As Brian and Paul also had a J1Accom in New York we were put up for 3 days and also shown all around New York by Paul himself. I wouldn’t stay anywhere else if I was to do my J1 again.

New York – We had the basics but more importantly the location – Seán McLoone

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We had the basics but more importantly the location


My name is Seán, and I spent my summer in Connolly Hall, Brooklyn with two of my friends and it was nothing short of an amazing experience that really made my J1 in New York City a memorable one.  The key reason why I enjoyed living here so much was the location and the excitement and opportunities this gave us to.


We heard of J1Accom through a friend who went last year, and it seemed like everything we were looking for, great location, easy access to a subway and more importantly it was accommodation we could afford, everything seemed to fit perfectly.  We were fortunate enough to pre-book and have the peace of mind of finding accommodation before we landed which was a big help, the horror stories we avoided one story for example from other Irish lads and ladies who ended up hours on the subway in the Bronx, they stayed somewhere which could only be described as a cramped crack den.


I’ll start from the beginning, fresh off the plane and meeting with our J1Accom Rep to officially get us checked in was exciting, at this point everything was!  We had an apartment with three beds on the 6th floor of the Connolly building with a bathroom and one kitchen.  We had no expectations going into the apartment, but it was the parties and friends we had over that made the whole experience worthwhile.  The whole floor was Irish and all J1ers, we were able to make friends almost right away, the whole crew went out together and there was no man or woman left behind, Patrick Greene was the J1Accom nightlife Rep and was thoughtful enough to get everybody into the rooftop bars and clubs, this guy did everything it was crazy, clubs, rooftops, boat parties, and my personal favorite bottomless brunch.  On our own, we would’ve struggled to get everybody into the same place since there was such a large group of us.  This happened the first week before we started our jobs, I was working as a server in Manhattan and transportation into my job was important to me.


Speaking of transportation, did I mention there was a subway station right outside the apartment? I timed it and even on a bad day it took me twenty minutes to get into work (there were a lot of bad days).  The subway station was Dekalb Avenue and it served places like Times Square, Cortland Street and loads more.


As a big Foodie too after finishing work, I must have spent most of my wages in DeKalb food market right across from where Connolly hall was.  This place had everything if you weren’t bothered cooking, Mexican, BBQ, Sushi, Seafood, and everything sweet imaginable.  Now this didn’t happen all the time, we needed food for the apartment and utilities, luckily for us in the same location there was a trader joe’s, which is the Supervalu of America loads of shopping was done here that had everything we needed (even Kerry gold butter when you missed the proper butter).  Also, we had Target, this place had everything and there were also bargains on their app that really helped us settle into our apartment.


We here happy where we were, and I hope anybody reading this will find it useful in some way.  Looking back now it took so much stress off our shoulders and we had time to enjoy ourselves! We could start work as soon as possible and break out the cans of four loko for only $3!  Moral of the story is living in downtown Brooklyn it was never a walk in the park and we did run into our fair share of problems, but life here was so much easier and I don’t think I would’ve found a better place to live.


P.S take advantage of the 2 Bro’s pizza around the corner, $1 proper New York cheese slices is all you need.

Seán McLoone

New York – West Girl Meets the Big Apple – Erika Kingston

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West Girl Meets the Big Apple


The summer of 2018 in New York City was full of laughs, memories and a lot of Mean Fiddlers…


I made the courageous decision to travel solo to NYC in June 2018 (if you’re worried about it, don’t be, just do it!) and it was hands down the best experience and decision I have made to date.


After booking the early bird J1 back in November, I started thinking about where the hell I was going to live, I know right, early bird catches the worm.. I found J1Accom through the Facebook page and was in contact with a girl that had been there before. I contacted Paul in January, but sure enough I was a tad biteen early and was assured a place when they opened applications, which is sooo straight forward and simple, a monkey could understand it. With everything sorted before I sat my final year exams I was cruising and couldn’t wait to get over.


I cannot stress enough how much of a relieve it was knowing when I landed in JFK that I had everything sorted and a bed to fall into that night, and the night after that as well!! Trust me your parents wont be calling you every five seconds if you’ve this sorted, let me tell ya!


I was staying in the Conolly Building which is located right in the campus of LIU. I was so impressed it was gated and secure and central. You could nearly fall out of bed and into the subway within 4 minutes of waking up, or coming home, (ideal for work and the odd night out.) The Q train (its yellow I believe) is your way in and out of the city, and you’re in the middle of Manhattan in 20 mins, plus you cannot beat the view of the Brooklyn Bridge and downtown Manhattan when you cross the river (the Hudson btw).


What worried me about going over by myself was, shock, making friends. This was not a problem as nearly everyone you meet is Irish in the building. Funny story, I actually arrived at LIU with my bags and three lads arrived just in front of me and were from Dublin and had just come off the same flight as me. Small world as they say. You will make friends in no time. Plus, it’s New York there’s Irish everywhere! This makes it handy when you need to pop to 7/11 and grab some Four Locos for the night ahead. The nights out organised are one of the bests nights you will have. Can you imagine sailing on the Hudson river abroad a boat with a drink (or two) in your hands and looking out over the Manhattan skyline? Well Patrick Greene is the man that will sort you with everything you need, and caters for J1Accom students. Patrick is an Irish club promoter in NYC and is the guy that will get you into that night club(rooftop bar) VIP with free drink if you stay with J1Accom. What more could you (and your insta) ask for.


I have made friends for life while being apart of the J1Accom group and memories that I wont be sharing with the fam back home. What I will say is that if you’re flying solo or with a bunch of friends this is your one stop shop for a hassle free life.

Summer 2017 in the LIU residencies in downtown Brooklyn by Charlie Ryan

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I spent summer 2017 in the LIU residencies in downtown Brooklyn, which was undoubtedly the best summer of my life. Spending a J1 in New York is a wonderful experience, which gave me memories I’ll cherish forever. Living in Hoyt Street was such an accessible area, situated only 1 subway stop from Manhattan, with the surrounding districts also within convenient commuting time. Most tourist attractions are within 20 minutes from the residency, which is well connected with different underground subway stations. Downtown Brooklyn is a dynamic area with lots of shops, parks, restaurants, and sports facilities.  Century 21 Department Stores is a huge mall is across the road, within the store complex there is also a modern cinema called Alamo House which is a must visit for students. Dekalb food market is also in this complex, providing students with a range of different food options from across the world. There are food vendors of all different nationalities in the food market and we regularly visited the market to hang out and grab food together. Trader Joes supermarket is located next to the market and is a convenient supermarket right on your door step. Planet Fitness is directly opposite the LIU residencies, my friends and I joined for the summer. Membership only cost us $15 dollars per month each. Fort Greene Park is a nice little park only a 10-minute walk away. It has basketball and tennis courts in the centre and a barbeque area at the entrance too.

During the summer I made numerous friends from all over Ireland, the accommodation is full of Irish J1 students and we all had similar interests. The 2 resident organisers Patrick and Paul hosted meetup gatherings for all students in the building on a regular basis, giving us an opportunity to meet other J1 students. These were very useful for integrating with everyone, the events also had free night club entry and a range of promotions in top New York venues. Having a residency so central with lots of other students in a similar age bracket contributed massively to an unbelievable summer in Hoyt street. Students share a communal kitchen on our floor which was great for meeting people and planning days off together. The student accommodation also has wash facilities, making it very easy to take care of washing on days off. Once we arrived in New York it was such a relief to have accommodation sorted straight away. Finding a lease for 3 months in New York proved very difficult, we had numerous friends who had to change residencies during the summer and had to spend a week in a hotel at the beginning. Having LIU set up from when we arrived was hassle free and we moved in on our first day of arrival. The accommodation also had a discounted UBER voucher for us that we used to get to Hoyt street from JFK airport. There are 2 beaches within travel distance from Hoyt street. Coney Island is a funfair beach area. It takes 40 minutes to get down to Coney Island but is worth the trip, then Far Rockaway beach is 50 minutes but is extremely nice, there are lots of food vendors and shopping facilities around the area. The Barclays arena is a 20-minute walk away. During the summer we saw the promotional event between Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather in the arena. The event was free on Ticketmaster and the Barclays arena hold a lot of these promotions over the summer. As well as that, there are a lot of artists and sport events that take place here. Piers 2 and 3 are a subway stop away and we regularly went down here for barbeques and to hang out. There is a great view of the Manhattan skyline from the pier and it’s a good area to chill out with friends in the evenings. Dumbo is beside the Pier and it is a viewing point underneath the Brooklyn bridge, all the boats in the harbour pass here and it’s a real spectacle at night time. Kimoto is a roof top bar we visited often. This is a 28-storey rooftop bar and there’s a great view of the Statue of Liberty at the top. Overall, I would highly recommend LIU Brooklyn residencies for a potential J1 students. It is located at the heart of New York and there are endless possibilities for students in the locality.


Charlie Ryan

My J1 Experince by Anna Kindlon

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Heading to New York on a J1 visa was, without a doubt, the best experience of my life. From the minute I landed, I was dreading the day I had to leave. The memories and friends I have made will stay with me forever.

Applying for the J1, I had no doubt in my mind that New York was where I wanted to go. I managed to get a job with relative ease, and things seemed to be going great. That was until I started looking for accommodation.

The accommodation in New York is extortionate. I cannot exaggerate this enough.  It was near impossible to find anywhere. I was heading over with my boyfriend and we wanted to live with fellow J1s. We found a few others on the J1 Facebook page and we started to look for somewhere we could all bunch in together. However, it was near impossible to find anywhere.

Weeks of searching, turned in to months. Anywhere we found that was near our budget was at least an hour away from our work. We were advised to book a hostel for the first few days and find accommodation when we arrived. However, as there was only two of us and we really wanted to meet and live with new people, we thought this was two much of a risk.

We had nearly lost all hope of living in New York, when we heard of the J1 Accom. This was a company set up by Paul Mc Cabe. He, like many others, was scammed by a landlord on a J1. He realised this was a common problem people were facing and wanted to give students a safe place to stay so he teamed up with LIU university and started renting their halls to J1 students in the summer months. Being able to pre book the accommodation meant that you could arrive in New York and start working, and therefore earning straight away.

We decided this was our best option.  For me, the main appeal was the fact I would be living with one hundred other Irish people. It was also really affordable, and the location was brilliant. It is located in Brooklyn Heights a really up and coming area with a great buzz about it. On top of this, it was only a 20 minute commute to my work in Lower Manhattan. The Subway station was literally on the door step, so it was very safe getting home at nights.

The Accommodation itself is the LIU student accommodation throughout the year. In that sense, it was very similar to the halls we would have here. There were big communal areas (perfect for drinking), laundry facilities and 24 hour security. We got a two person apartment which consisted of our own bathroom, kitchen and two bedrooms. There were also single rooms and bigger group rooms. Everyone had access to the communal areas and there was always someone about to spend you days off with.

New York is well known as the ‘city that never sleeps.’ The night life is incredible, but again it is not cheap. However, J1 Accom had a solution for us.  The Nightclub promoter Patrick Greene worked alongside the halls and would organise weekly events to all the best night clubs in New York. The best thing was; everything was free! We are talking rooftop nightclubs, with VIP tables and unlimited free drink! This was available to every J1 accom student nearly every day of the week.

The area really could not be better. It was surrounded by restaurants, supermarkets and shops. It was within a 15 minute walk of Brooklyn Piers. This is an incredible area, with views over lower Manhattan. It has football pitches, basketball courts, roller blading area, an outdoor gym and  an barbeque area all along the pier. The Brooklyn Bridge is within a 10 minute walk, the sights from it are unbelievable. This also meant, it is relatively easy to walk or cycle into Manhattan.

No words could do my summer in New York justice. I owe so much of this incredible experience to J1 Accom. Without it I wouldn’t have met half the people I did and my experience would be so different. I would recommend J1 Accom to anyone planning a J1 this year.


Anna Kindlon