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‘J1Accom-Chicago’ you’re simply the best by Mairi Hanly

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‘J1Accom-Chicago’ you’re simply the

 

best by Mairi Hanly

It’s true what they say that you don’t realise what you had until it’s over. This resonates deeply with my experience of the J1. Prior to going on the J1 I asked friends who had already done a J1 about their experiences, many told me that ‘’J1 is a life changing experience’’ and ‘’the J1 is just something you have to do in life’’. I can honestly say that these statements are no exaggeration and until you experience a J1 for yourself it is hard to fully comprehend what a J1 will bring to your life although I hope to give you a glimpse with my J1 experience.

 

Going back to the start, when planning the J1, I remember worrying about finding somewhere to stay that’s safe and affordable. The travel agencies are great for sorting out everything J1 related except accommodation. Another fear I shared along with many others about a J1, was spending an entire summer in a small, overcrowded house, sleeping on the floor and living out of a suitcase. This is where the J1Accom eliminates all of these obstacles allowing you to fully experience the J1 in a stress-free and comfortable environment. The J1Accom was recommended to me by a friend who had stayed there the previous year. I looked up the website and to my surprise I found that the J1Accom literally caters for everything. Just some of the benefits include a short-term lease, accessible public transport on your doorstep, free washing facilities, fully furnished bedrooms and kitchens.

 

If you have chosen your destination as Chicago, congratulations you are in for such a treat. Chicago is a beautiful city with a spectacular skyline and has the stunning Michigan river flowing through the city. Chicago has so much to offer including many free activities such as the movie in the park and the firework display on Navy Pier and different types of festivals throughout the summer. I cannot express how amazing the Chicago transport system (CTA) is, it is affordable, reliable and travels throughout Chicago. The location of the J1Accom is perfectly situated beside the train station 35th Bronzeville IIT. I worked in town and it took me between 15-20 mins maximum to get to work, which I really appreciated when I was late and hungover. It was only until travelling the rest of America and had to get lyft and uber everywhere, I realised how fortunate we were with the location of J1Accom in Chicago.

 

Staying at the J1Accom is a winner all round. It’s obvious that J1Accom has outstanding living facilities but for me the social aspect was simply unbeatable. I was slightly apprehensive before going on the J1 because I wasn’t travelling with a big group, there was just two of us. From the moment I arrived at J1Accom, the apprehensions diminished as friendships formed so naturally. For instance, you may be cooking sweet potato fries in the kitchen and no doubt there will be a friendly face hanging around. The communal living area was a great place to hang out and enjoy a few social beverages with friends. The J1 nightlife was unbelievable, especially the J1 themed nights, thanks to J1 Johnny. Although if I could go back for one night only, I would relive a night on the roof with all the gang. We would sit with a few cans of Four Loko and MC Pat Flynn playing, a couple hours later we would watch the sunrise while listening to a beautiful rendition of Celine Dion. I am forever grateful to the J1Accom as it has given me memories I will always treasure and friends I have made for life.

 

You’ve heard what I have to say, I suggest you go and find out for yourself why it’s ‘simply the best’. This is your opportunity, J1Accom-Chicago is waiting.

A Blessing in Disguise! by Emily Pike

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A Blessing in Disguise!

 

by Emily Pike

The best way for me to sum up my J1 experience would be a blessing in disguise, because what originally presented themselves as huge problems, actually turned out to have the best possible outcomes.

 

Firstly, the intention was never to come to Chicago. As is the case for most j1er’s, San Diego was the first choice, but not possible. Although I was fairly heartbroken over this I decided to settle on Chicago as I knew it had the lake and beaches, but with the same exciting big city vibe that New York has. Coming over I was extremely excited to set up a completely new life for myself but also terrified at the sheer size of the city, although it turned out to not actually be as big as I thought. I came over with one other friend and we found a house on craigslist for the two of us that we thought would be perfect. However, the night we landed we realised to our horror that we had been scammed! NEVER LOOK FOR ACCOMMODATION ON CRAIGSLIST! We had to resort to a few nights in hostels, but luckily I had overheard someone on the plane talking about the J1 accommodation and so I got in touch with them immediately. Brian replied straight away and had sorted us out with a room within two days.

 

Me and my friend shared a double room with a shared bathroom. I would describe it as minimal but sleek, clean and comfortable. The highlight of the building is definitely the huge rooftops that look out over the Chicago skyline. The location is absolutely perfect. Some people voiced concerns over its location in the south of the city, however, it is perfectly safe and attractive, and is only 15 minutes on the train from the loop where all the main attractions are like Millennium Park. There is also a beach a 10 minute cycle away and the Divvy bikes are available to rent right outside your door! Although me and my friend were devastated about being scammed out of so much money, finding J1 accommodation turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as we ended up making so many

great friends we would never have met otherwise. It seems to be the case that people who come over with a big group of friends and live together in their own house tend to not socialise beyond that group. I would highly recommend coming in smaller groups and staying in J1 accommodation to maximise the amount of new people you meet and make the best out of your J1.

 

The main thing I would recommend is to get out of your comfort zone! Far too many Irish people come over to the States and only go to Irish bars with other Irish people on the J1 nights. There is loads of great American bars and websites like resident advisor have loads of great nights on. Don’t travel all the way to America just to spend your whole summer with Irish people, immerse yourself in American lifestyle!

J1 With Jen – Chicago 2019 by Jennifer Grehan

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J1 With Jen – Chicago 2019

 

by Jennifer Grehan

Basically the Gaeltacht on Four Loko. Can you imagine living with 140 other J1 students? Sounds ridiculous. Most people reading this might think I’m exaggerating when I say, J1Accom made my summer.

 

From the moment you arrive to the moment you leave, it’s like a home away from home; you will have the best summer. Everyone hears about the horror stories of arriving to the States with no accommodation or only a hostel to stay in, ending up sharing a dodgy apartment with 13 other people. Honestly, why bother. J1Accom cut out so much stress and worry for myself and the two friends who travelled with me. The second we landed into the airport we were straight in an uber and within 30 minutes we had landed into our new home. Bags empty, cans bought and all within an hour of arriving. Once we booked ourselves in, it was like a weight off our shoulders. Of course, we were sceptical of what we were signing ourselves up to, but the accommodation far exceeded our expectations.

 

Every inch of the SSV building was clean, comfortable and spacious. The main attraction being the individual two, three or six people bedrooms, complete with single rooms, a kitchen, living area and bathrooms. This space allowed us to freely and comfortably live of lives without the fear of someone routing through your stuff. What really made this building was the common areas on each floor, equipped with TVs, couches and ping-pong tables but the best thing of all was the rooftops, equipped with sun loungers (for those lucky enough to tan), any time of day or night you were bound to see someone up there. What’s better than having somewhere to sit in the sun, having a few cans and playing a few tunes with the Chicago skyline in the background? The rooftop made our J1. No noise complaints, no annoying-ish neighbours just other J1 students who all have similar mindsets.

 

The building was greatly serviced by the amazing public transport system in Chicago, right outside our doorstep was the Green line and the Red line was two blocks away beside the White Sox’s Stadium. The Red Line ran 24 hours and brought to and from home every night out, always an experience when groups of young Irish people got on, at least we provided entertainment for fellow passengers. The 29 bus also stopped outside our door which brought you into the concrete jungle of Chicago and out to Navy Pier (most J1’s ends up working here).

 

Chicago is an amazing city which I couldn’t recommend to you enough. Originally, like many J1ers, we wanted to go to San Diego and Chicago was our second choice, if you’re going to take one piece of advice from this; Make Chicago your first choice, don’t second guess it, you will not regret it. There is an infinite number of things to do and there is most certainly something for everyone. Also imagine being in a city and a few minutes later sitting on the beach? Chicago is the perfect balance of city and beach life. *Highly recommend renting Divvy bikes and cycling the Lakefront trail. Also handy for getting around.

 

J1Accom also was the perfect place to make friends, whether you come by yourself or come with your friends, you will leave there with friends for life. As mentioned before, the rooftop was the most social area of the building. Whether it was going up after or before work for the chats or to chill out, to catch some rays or grab a few drinks before heading out, there was always something happening on the roof. For me, I certainly made friends for life. Looking back now, some of my favourite memories involve heading up stairs to our friend’s apartment, mug in hand for a cuppa tea and the Goss after a night out. All-in-all don’t bother stressing yourself out and looking for accommodation because you’ve already found it.

 

J1Accom Chicago- Don’t be shy when it comes to Chi-Town by Eoin O’Donnell

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J1Accom Chicago- Don’t be shy when it comes to Chi-Town

 

by Eoin O’Donnell

Writing and reminiscing about this summer in Chicago is no easy task, because it only drills home the fact that the summer of a lifetime is getting further and further in the rear-view mirror. A J1 in Chicago is one of the best experiences you’ll ever have, and if you really want to guarantee that, J1Accom should be the first call you make.

 

They say Chicago is one of Ireland’s second homes, and with a few thousand of our students flooding the city for a summer of madness every year, it’s not exactly hard to spot us, but if you really want to book a slice of home away from home, there’s only one spot for it. True, you might miss out on some of the ‘magic’ of a classic J1 when you’re not packing twelve people between a handful of sleeping bags onto a mouldy floor. You’ll also be lacking the oh-so-powerful sense of dread that comes from the constant threat of eviction in a frat house, but J1Accom more than makes up for it.

 

It’s hard to describe how much of a relief it is to have your accommodation sorted before you set foot on American soil, and landing a few thousand miles away with no worries whatsoever- you’re stepping from one home to another. Booking rooms online couldn’t have been easier, and our group of five was set up with two and three sets of single rooms right beside each other, no moving around needed whatsoever. Brian and Paul were our points of contact before and after we arrived, and on either end of the process you couldn’t ask for a more helpful pair. We had our rooms organized long before we took off, and anything we needed when we got there was only a text or a phone call away- the lads took care of everything, from signing in, to the (more than) occasional night out.

 

The rooms were huge, with more than you’ll ever need, and they’ll definitely make any other student accommodation tough to go back to. It was hard for visiting friends to grasp that there were just two of us sharing our bathroom, kitchen and living area, not twenty like they were accustomed to by normal J1 standards. The free laundry rooms and WiFi were probably the biggest essentials, but the full oven was a nice luxury for when we decided to emotionally graduate from microwaving hot pockets and pizza rolls. The fridge was big enough to hold enough cans of Four Loko to knock out an elephant, which ours most certainly did on more than one occasion.

 

Location is usually the first thing on your mind when house hunting on J1, and the Illinois Tech Campus was the perfect spot to be. With 24-hour security, any worries you’ve heard about South Chicago should be thrown out the window, and any late-night wanders from the train station will take all of about twenty seconds. When I say the bus stop and train station are on your doorstep, I mean it pretty much literally; my commute to work was half of what it is to college in Dublin, and Chicago’s public transit will make you hate every Bus Eireann journey even more (even if it doesn’t seem possible). The city was never more than a few stops away, with connections to pretty much every ‘L’-Train line right around the corner.

 

For groceries and shopping, you’re looking at a whopping 5-minute train ride, and for late night munchies, the on-campus 7-11 is your new best friend in walking distance (just prepare yourself to eat more pizza than a small Italian army). For a few drinks, Reggie’s will probably be your local haunt, just the next stop on the line- a real American dive bar, with basketball hoops and a rooftop view of the stars to boot.

 

Speaking of rooftops, if you really want to lounge in the sun or party under the stars, you never even have to leave the building. On top of the indoor lounges, TVs and pool tables, both of the J1Accom buildings were topped with a pair of rooftop decks, perfect for Chicago’s long Summer nights. Whether it’s to get the session going or top off a long night, most of the best chats and best times were had atop the building, with the Chicago skyline never out of sight. As for sunbathing, it was a lot closer, and a lot less sandy than the beach.

 

Nobody ever really ends a J1 without a few new friends, but with about 200 like-minded neighbours just a knock on the door away, J1Accom ends up feeling more like a new family. After a few weeks of seeing the same faces on the roof or at the train, you’ll feel more at home than you ever could anywhere else, and you’ll never be stuck for someone to join on the scauldiest nights of your life in Joe’s (you’ll understand when you get there).

 

It’s not just the best place to be for your summer in Chicago, it’s the perfect place to be; if you’re looking for a bit of comfort, and a new family for the summer, look no further than J1Accom.

J1 – Aisling Doyle

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by Aisling Doyle

My summer in Chicago completely surpassed my expectations thanks to J1Accom. When we decided to stay here it felt like a weight off our shoulders as we’d heard of so many people being scammed by landlords and there was literally nowhere willing to take students short term. Brian was so understanding about everything and always willing to help out no matter what the problem was.

The accommodation was so spacious and modern, there was free laundry services and we all had our own bedrooms. We never had to live out of our bags or live on top of each other. Everything is made so easy by staying here with no hassle of contacting landlords and no hassle of noise complaints with just over 140 other people looking to do the exact same thing as we were. There was always something to do and someone to hang around with while staying here we were like one big family. It’s so easy to commute everywhere from the location. A bus stop is literally right outside the door that brings you straight to navy pier or two train stations one right beside the building and the red line train was two blocks away that went through the night which was so good for nights out with a big group. We never had to over spend on Uber’s and it was always way more fun. I made more friends than I ever could have imagined making if I lived in a house.

Chicago itself has absolutely everything you could want. It has the city vibes but also has many beaches and little suburban areas. It is a massive city but felt so small as it’s so easy to get around! Cycling the lakefront was definitely a highlight and so cheap to do! I’ll never forget my summer in Chicago which was 100% made more enjoyable thanks to J1Accom.