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.