L-R Aoife Ní Shúilleabháin, VP for Welfare; Jack Leahy, VP for AA&QA; Minister Deenihan; American Ambassador to Ireland, Kevin O’Malley; Annie Hoey, Deputy President USI; Kevin Donoghue, USI President
The Union of Students in Ireland, with support from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and American Ambassador to Ireland, Kevin O’Malley, launched the J1 Guide 2016 this morning, the 26th January, outside Leinster House at 8:30am. The guide offers advice to students on how to find a job, secure accommodation and make the most of their opportunity to experience the American way of life.
“USI and the Department of Foreign Affairs have produced this guide to working and living in America under the J1 visa”, Kevin Donoghue, USI President, said. “It includes tips on staying safe and planning the J1 trip of a lifetime, while being a good ambassador for Ireland and showing the best example to American citizens of how Ireland is today.”
USI are advising students who want to take part in the J1 programme this year to sign up early so that they have time to organise a job in advance. The main Irish J1 agents are currently running placement programmes to help students secure a summer job in the US. “We’re urging students to get involved now with the job placement process so they can take up the roles that are on offer”, Donoghue said. “Once students have a job secured, they’ll have all the hard work done and be able to look forward to a great summer in the US.”
Speaking in advance of the launch, Minister Jimmy Deenihan said:
“The J1 Summer Work and Travel programme has played an extremely positive role in building US-Irish links over the past 50 years. The Government’s focus is on maximising student participation in the J1 programme in 2016 and beyond. I am pleased that the Department is in a position to support USI in the production of this excellent and informative guide. I strongly encourage students wishing to apply for this year’s summer J1 to engage with the process now so that they can meet the requirements of the programme and go on to have a great experience in the US.”
USI is also encouraging students interested in the J1 to arrange accommodation before they travel, but to make sure they are dealing with a legitimate rental agency or landlord. Companies offering J1 visas will give further advice on places to stay. USI is also advising students not to sign a lease unless they’ve read and understood it all, never pay by cash if possible and get a receipt.
“Since its launch in 1966 the J-1 Summer Work Travel (SWT) program has welcomed 150,000 of Ireland’s best and brightest young people to the United States,” said U.S. Ambassador to Ireland Kevin O’Malley. “With the recent changes, the U.S. government is working with applicants, Irish government representatives, and independent U.S. and Irish implementing institutions to ensure that Irish students continue to benefit from the J-1 program just as they have in the past. The key to success with this latest change is for students to be proactive. We encourage all J-1 participants to plan ahead and register early for the job fairs. Even as some aspects of the J-1 program evolve and change, the cultural exchange and entrepreneurial spirit at the heart of the program remain exactly the same. The J-1 experience will continue to be a life-changing one that connects the next generation of Irish and Americans and strengthens the bonds of friendship between our two countries.”
The guide is available online at: http://bit.ly/1KuzS5p