“Sitting in JFK airport waiting on my flight to be called I felt strangely indifferent about returning to Ireland. The year in New York had been fantastic in terms of on the job learning and professional experience. I had narrowly missed out on a H1B visa due to US visa cap restrictions.

At the time of writing this, I have been back in Dublin a month and a half and I have mixed feelings about having returned. I have been lucky enough to be consistently employed on a freelance basis since coming back. There are certainly opportunities in Ireland, albeit ones that you have to maximize your resourcefulness to excavate from the economic landscape. The potential alternative for me was in America in the form of H1B visa contained employment . When this offer happened initially for me last February I was head over heels in love with it. However time has a habit of removing such romantic haze from one’s perspective. The H1B effectively marries an individual to a company making free movement between different jobs and opportunities difficult to maneuver so in retrospect it could have been a blessing in disguise.

In regards to my future I am still uncertain whether or not it lies in Ireland. There are visa opportunities for both Canada and Australia that could lead to greater professional development. One thing is certain: the year I spent working in New York has increased my confidence tenfold. I have no fear regards relocating anywhere in the world. The J1 Years work and travel program has played a great part in shaping the fearless approach towards professional development that I am currently nurturing.”

Steven C.
B.A. Media
Indelible Media Corp., New York, NY

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“This programme gives the type of encouragement which helps students and graduates realise their potential to grow to become masters of their field, it is something that graduates really need when faced with the current economic climate. I cannot help but feel that the work of IIIC will have a positive influence on the Irish economy by increasing the potential for employment for Irish students.
Some examples of this support and help that I have mentioned are numerous phone calls, emails and Skype calls regarding my employment status and general well being whilst in the US. Megan also made a personal visit to the West Coast to meet with, advise and personally ensure that all programme participants are on the right track.”

Shane B.
B.S. Business Studies, University College Cork
Premiere Source Reimbursement
Internship as Systems Support Analyst I San Mateo, CA

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“Our wonderful country is going through a very difficult time and I think this program is invaluable to young Irish graduates. I would urge the Irish Government to continue funding it so we can all come home with the skills, contacts, and experience that this program has given us.”

M. Byrne, M.Sc. in American Politics
Birbeck, University of London
Broadcast Journalist Intern at BBC News, Washington, D.C.

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“I am very fortunate to have been able to work with some truly amazing people in positions I would struggle to find back home. I now have the confidence and ambition to go back to Ireland and work hard to set up my own business. This experience has been invaluable to me and the last year has been one of the best in my life.
Megan Carroll has specifically helped me during the application and interview stages and I would not have had the confidence to apply for jobs without her help. Having that support definitely made the application process less daunting. She made a real effort to get to know me by arranging meet-and-greets in the city and this personal touch really meant a lot. Megan really helped me by encouraging me to apply for my dream roles and genuinely did all that she could to ensure that my résumé and interview skills were up to scratch for this process. Thank you to the whole J-1 IWT team.”

A. Lynch
B.A. in Fine Art, National College of Art and Design
Gallery Assistant at Triangle Arts Association, NYC (2011);
Studio Assistant to Jennifer Riley, Brooklyn, NY (2011-Present);
Printing Assistant to Master Printer Kathy Coraccio at K.Coraccio Printing Studio, NYC

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“The J1-IWT programme has allowed me the opportunity to work and learn in one of the leading neuroimaging research facilities in the world. This is an opportunity that I could never have availed of without the J1-IWT programme. The experience, knowledge and relationships I gain in this position will be invaluable to me when I return to Ireland and also for my future career. Outside of the career benefits, the J1-IWT has also allowed me to explore a very dynamic and exciting country and to mix with a multitude of cultures and perspectives. I believe that this aspect of personal growth is imperative, not only for my character but also for my career. The Irish International Immigrant Center has been immensely helpful and proactive from helping me to secure the visa to getting me settled in an exciting position, in a hassle-free manner.”

Maria C.
M.Sc. Bioengineering, Trinity College Dublin
Internship in Neuroimaging at Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA

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“From a professional standpoint, I feel this program has given me a great opportunity to enhance my skills and gain experience with one of the world’s largest construction companies. This in turn I feel will be of huge benefit to me upon returning to Ireland and I feel the skills and abilities I have adopted on this program will stand me well when gaining full time employment back home.
To summarize, this program has given me the opportunity to fulfill a childhood ambition whilst gaining invaluable professional experience and with the assistance of Ms. Megan Carroll this potential is being fulfilled.”

Fergal C.
M.Sc. Construction and Project Management
Queens University Belfast School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering
Internship as Site Engineer at Turner Construction, Dorchester, MA

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“I would like to take this opportunity to thank you and your team for accepting me into the program this year and enabling me to experience a truly great internship with my firm these past twelve months. I still have to pinch myself, that I happened to end up in NYC, given the current financial and economic climate, with a paid job, invaluable exposure to a variety of work projects and wonderful colleagues to boot. I count myself very lucky indeed to have been given the chance and appreciate it wholeheartedly”.

Keith C.
B. Architecture,
Architecture firm in NY

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“I got lucky with my placement. They have offered me a full time position and salary. I return to Ireland at the end of May, as per my j1 requirements, and return October 2nd on a H1B – Rejoice!”

Isobel G.
B.S. Business and Legal Studies, University College Dublin
General Internship at PhD Media

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“They are there if you need them, in our case we could drop into the office in downtown Boston. I think they are a great support not just for the internship process but in many other ways.”

Bryan L.
B.A. in Human Resource Management
Human Resources Assistant, Arbella Insurance Group, Boston, MA

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“Firstly I want to thank you for coming to New York the other day and arranging to meet some of us J1 students. We all agreed that the meeting had put our mind at ease and helped us feel relieved knowing we have someone there for us. I know it was your idea to set aside a few hours to sit with us and I just wanted you to know I genuinely appreciated the gesture. Ever since, I have been working on my resume and have done so with a new sense of confidence!”

Dominique C.
B.A. in Business Law, Dublin Business School
Marketing Department Intern
The Fitzpatrick Hotels, New York, NY

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“I went about the J-1 IWT in an unusual way of not applying to anyone before or when I arrived in San Francisco. So without a knowing anyone here and just networking my way into interviews rather than responding to job postings was the best thing I have ever done. I did this because I knew that anything interesting always happens behind closed doors and the only way to get to those doors is to meet the gatekeepers of them so I spent most of my 90 day job finding grace period meeting all sorts of people from 20 year old CEO’s to Venture capitalists. So working over in San Francisco has been a real eye opener to how the fast paced computer software industry really works, especially coming to understand how start up companies function. Not only that but getting a big boost to my experience at a critical time in my career.
This is one of the most interesting, diverse and beautiful cities in the States and is filled with progressive thinkers. I was lucky enough to join the ranks of a very capable team in a startup company in a field of my interest called AGOGO. I helped to develop a soon to be launch service that I think is truly unique and interesting. This has been a really great experience with so many lessons learnt.”

Ben F.
B.Sc Computer Science UCD
AGOGO Amalgamated, San Francisco, CA

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“I have settled back in at home. It is not the worst thing to go home. Its also a good thing to put on my CV. I appreciate the efforts you went to help me. I don’t think we could have done any more. One thing is for certain I don’t think that I would have been offered either of these jobs if I hadn’t been to Boston. I put the skills I used in Boston to good use and I will always use. I have been complimented on my CV by a number of people. Something that I have you to thank for and I really appreciate the time and effort you put in with me. Some of my friends who have done the J1 before did not really speak to their sponsor or have much contact with them, which in difficult times makes the world of difference. A few encouraging words and advice goes a long way. I will stay in touch.”

Megan M.
Returned home to Dublin to graduate
Began a Marketing internship in Events and Irish fashion brands 3 weeks before her 90 day deadline

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“Hope everything is going well for you in the IIIC, I’m sure you’re having lots of success in helping out my fellow J-1ers! Just thought I would let you know how the job is going for me. I’m definitely enjoying the work, and learning lots of new and interesting things. The work is challenging without being stressful and it seems like a great place to work. I’ve also gotten a car recently, which has cut my commute in half so that’s been pretty nice too. I don’t seem to ever have the chance to pop in to the IIIC however, other than meeting up for the bi-weekly softball of course, but I hope things are going well for everyone there. Thanks again of course for all your help and guidance, it’s still very much appreciated!”

Stephen M.
Civil Engineer, B.S. Civil Engineering
Helical Drilling, Inc., Braintree, MA

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“The IIIC were excellent in preparing my J1 visa, they are very easy to work with and will talk you through the J1 process. The processing of my visa was quick and effortless. Here in the US the IIIC are only a phone call or email away, which is reassuring should I have any questions or queries.”

Barry M.
B.A. Property Economics
CMS Partners, LLC., Cambridge, MA

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“As my term on the J-1 visa comes to a close, I can look back on what is an experience I will not forget and would thoroughly recommend to any potential suitors. My sponsors, the Irish International Immigrant Center in Boston were always on hand for advice/ information when needed and really made the application process very stream lined. This was much appreciated and left me free to experience what the program can offer”

Eamonn G.
Civil Engineer, B.S. Civil Engineering
Folor Inc. General Construction, Yonkers, NY

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“I am delighted to say Tracy from Ironshore has just offered me a job in the Casualty department at Ironshore!. I am extremly happy with the outcome!. I met Jen and other members of staff, this afternoon at my interview. Jen rang at 1:30 and arranged a meeting with two managers at 4:00. It was quite a rush but it all worked out well in the end. The people at Ironshore were very welcoming to me and I may start this week. By the way, I sent thank you letters to Jen and two of the other managers as well. I will be in contact with Jude regarding the papers that need to be filled out.

I would like to sincerely thank you for your effort and help in my job search. Without your assistance, I would have given up hope a long time ago. It was a tough journey but I am very pleased where I am right now. I owe a debt of gratitude to you and to IIIC for making this happen. If in the future you need references for reports about the program or anything else, please don’t hesitate in contacting me”.

Kevin W.,
Masters in International Trade and Finance
Ironshore Insurance, Boston, MA

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“Irish International Immigrant Center, I wouldn’t be where I am in life without your fantastic help on the J1 Visa program. I went to America with barely any work experience and based on my work experience in Boston and your help, I now have a great job in Dublin”

Ian M.
Property Economics at Dublin Institute of Technology
TD Bank in Boston
Currently working as a Trust Associate at BNY Mellon in Dublin

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“Thank you all once again for an amazing year abroad. I could not have done it without your help, understanding and guidance. I have nothing but amazing things to say about the program and the people!”

Rowan R.
Business Studies
Seattle, WA

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“The program is a gateway to the U.S. entry-level opportunity to pick up skills that one can’t get in Ireland. I used the program to network with Irish nationalists as well as people I worked with. I got my current position from networking at my job I had during the program. The IIIC pricing beats out any other visa sponsoring program but there isn’t enough awareness of this in Ireland. There needs to be more marketing abroad. I believe you need to stress to the Irish government that the U.S. market has the opportunities to give new graduates who have no experience, the tools to be better equipped for the Irish work force when they return. Which is a huge benefit to Ireland.”

Neil S.
B. Comm
Chief of Staff for an iPad Software startup in San Francisco, CA

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“Whilst on the J-1 IWT program, I worked predominantly in Seattle at an architectural office as an intern. Since returning to the UK, I have found work at an architectural office – Liddicoat and Goldhill, where I work as a Part II architectural assistant. Although my job in Seattle did not lead directly to my job back home, the work I was doing out there was of interest to my current employers, and the experience I gained will also count towards the final part of my professional qualification which I hope to begin in September. Overall I really enjoyed my time in the U.S., made a lot of good friends, and thoroughly enjoyed my work.”

Aimee O.
B.Architecture
Architecture Office in Seattle, WA

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“I thoroughly enjoyed my experience on the J-1 IWT. Since I have got home I have been working for my father’s company. I have applied for jobs in my field and have some interviews coming up. I do think the experience I got in the U.S. gives me an edge over others in trying to secure a job in this tough job market. I really appreciate all the help and advice I received from the Irish International Immigrant Center. You guys run an excellent operation.”

John M.
Construction Management and Engineering
PC Construction Inc. San Francisco, CA

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“I had a thoroughly enjoyable and richly rewarding experience on the J-1 IWT in New York, it was challenging to a secure an internship initially but after a couple of weeks, I was fortunate to obtain a position as a financial analyst for Bank of New York Mellon.”
Upon completion of the program, Hugh was subsequently offered a position at the Bank of New York Mellon in London. He jumped at the opportunity and he is currently working there as a Global Client Manager. He attributes his success to his participation on the J-1 IWT. Hugh finished by saying that “the whole process from start to finish was handled efficiently and expertly by the staff at the IIIC. I found them personable and friendly, always answered my queries promptly and assisted whenever required. It certainly made my move much smoother.” Hugh would “recommend the J-1 1WT program to anyone who is eligible to apply.” He reports that “it is a worthwhile and beneficial program that fosters greater appreciation and understanding of the U.S. – a key economic partner of Ireland.”

Hugh G.
M.S. in Management, UCD
Bank of New York Mellon

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“The program itself was amazing and the opportunities I was lucky enough to encounter during my time in New York were fantastic. At present I am working for a French company out of Ireland, in branding and marketing as a marketing coordinator. Overall my J-1IWT year was a fantastic experience, I made friends for life and enjoyed every second of my time. I have since recommended many friends to seize the opportunity and come out for the year.”

Fiona C.
Bachelor of Arts, Media Studies
A&E Media Studies, New York

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“I am currently living in London. My new CV helped a lot in getting my job working as a Volunteer Coordinator at an arts charity called Rowan Arts. I also work with an education charity called The Building Exploratory delivering workshops to school children and older people.
When I was on the J-1 IWT Visa I interned with an arts organisation called Creative Time. I know having a well known name such as Creative Time helped me later find work at Rowan Arts. Living in New York was a great experience and it set me up for London. The skills I learned while on the J-1 visa have helped me immensely in figuring out what direction I want to take my career in and in developing it. Having the opportunity to go to New York and work with a dynamic arts organisation gave me a lot of confidence to pursue other goals and it’s an experience I am very thankful for.”

Niamh L.
Art&Design, GMIT.
Creative Time Inc, New York

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“I am currently studying an MSc in International Business in London so am not currently employed but my year work experience in New York was one of the factors which helped me gain a place on the MSc course!”

Kim N.
Bsc Geography, UCD

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“I spent my J-1 IWT as an intern at the Irish Immigration Pastoral Center (IIPC) in San Francisco.

My J-1 IWT was a great learning experience and huge opportunity for me to gain skills, network and develop my career. Following my J-1IWT, I was sponsored by the Center and I am now 1 of the 3 full time staff members at the center helping Ireland and the Irish.

I manage 5 programs provided at the Center including the accommodation, employment advice and referral program, the new arrival program, Summer J1 program, and I also manage our team of volunteers.I thoroughly enjoy my role at the IIPC and am extremely dedicated and passionate about the role and mission of the center. Without the J-1 IWT I never would have had the opportunity to work in the U.S. and work whilst being exposed to new cultures, experiences and new people. The experience has been truly valuable and has opened so many doors for my future.”

Natasha P.
Graduate of Manchester Metropolitan University
IIPC San Francisco, CA

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“The program gave me a valuable experience , introduced me to difference cultures, a different system of work, and it gave me independence . I had a positive experience. I’m doing pretty well now, doing what I want to do.”
After that, she got a job as a trainer lawyer in Dublin. She now is an assistant lawyer and hopes by the end of the year to be a full lawyer.

Susanna C.
BA in Business and Law
Aiken and Company, VA

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“Before going to America, I studied law in college. I chose to take part in thisprogram as I wanted to travel, yet at the same time gain practical experience for my future career. As part of the J-1 IWT program, I got a job as a legal assistant in a law firm in Boston. The firm mainly focused on environmental, municipal and planning law. Prior to this, I had little experience of these areas. I found it really interesting and the position greatly influenced my decision to further a career in law. Since returning home, I have begun to sit the professional law exams in Ireland to become a solicitor (attorney.) I have also become a full time students at Queens University, Belfast to study an LLM in Environmental Law, which began last September (2011). This further study is definitely as a result of my participation on the program. It broadened my knowledge and interest in the legal field and was an opportunity I would not have received had I stayed in Ireland. I would highly recommend the J-1 ITW program to any Irish graduate, as a way of gaining both personal and professional experience through travelling and working abroad.”

Niamh M.
LLB
Miyares & Harrington, LLP, MA