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.