Category Archives: Work Abroad

Camp USA Spotlight: Eoghan, Aideen & Aoife’s Experience So Far…

It’s six weeks or so into this year’s Camp USA and it is HOT! We checked in last week with Camp Counsellors Aideen & Eoghan in Camp Weequahic in Pennslyvania and Aoife, who’s stationed in Virginia with Camp Horizons.

Fairly surprised to hear that none of them had melted in the sun just yet and not so surprised at how much they’re enjoying their summer in the US!

 

What’s been your highlight so far?

Aideen:  My highlight so far has been working in my programme area. We performed Aladdin last week and it went so well! I also loved my kids I had the youngest of the juniors and the canteen raid is definitely up there with one of my best memories from camp.

Eoghan:  Being selected as a Tribal Leader! My team didn’t win, but getting to lead a team of 130 campers and counsellors was an amazing experience that I will never forget!

Aoife: The entire adventure has been a highlight so far, it’s hard to pick one out. The other staff members here are really fantastic and we are all having a blast together.

What’s Your Favourite Thing To Do?

Eoghan: Story time! We tell stories before bed every night, usually involving great adventures around camp with goblins, fairies, and mermaids. The kids absolutely love it and beg for stories every night!

Aoife: My favourite thing to do by far is to sing and dance and just act silly with the campers. It’s more acceptable here to do that!

Portrait of young friends jumping into the water from a jetty. Young people having fun at the lake on a summer day

Favourite thing about your Camp?

Aideen: My favourite thing about camp is all of the amazing new people I’ve met. All the counsellors are so driven and inspiring. Also, I love how you can just be a big kid in camp like dancing and singing in the dining hall with all your campers.

Eoghan: The counsellors! Camp invests a lot of time and effort in finding the right people to create an amazing experience for their kids, so you are surrounded by a bunch of hand-picked, fun-loving, outgoing counsellors. It’s incredible!

Biggest challenge you’ve had so far?

Eoghan: Dealing with the heat! I spend six hours a day on the tennis court, and going back to a bunch of eight-year-old kids yelling and playing in the bunk can be pretty taxing. You manage to work around this with your co-counsellors though!

Aideen: As much as I’ve loved camp, it has been really tough too. I find it difficult being surrounded by people 24/7 and never having a moment to yourself. I think it can be difficult to work successfully alongside co-co’s sometimes trying to find your role as a counsellor while also trying to create a great experience for kids. It’s a lot of pressure especially when you are trying really hard to do your best.

Aoife: Being so far from home was challenging at first, but now I have made my own family here at camp they are always there for me when I need them.

Aoife.PNG

Best tip for anyone thinking of going next year?

Eoghan: Camp is an experience like nothing you have ever or will ever have again. It is tough, it is tiring, but it is worth it. My advice is to jump right in and go for it!

Aideen: The best advice I can give is to give 100% to every job you do whether that’s caring for your campers or your programme area. I think you need to be completely committed to your role as a counsellor whatever you’re doing. Also, try to take time out when you can to recharge  because it’s absolutely exhausting and difficult to keep your spirits up. Finally, I would say go there with an open mind willing to try new things, work hard and expecting to be pushed outside your comfort zone.

Aoife: If you are applying to this program, be open-minded! There are so many different types of camps out there! Working at a special needs camp has really opened me up and now I can’t imagine being at any other camp.

Where Do You Plan On Travelling To After Camp Is Finished?

Aoife: For travel after camp, my friends and I have planned to go to the deep south and travel to Nashville, St.Louis, New Orleans and then to New York.

Eoghan: America offers great bus services – last year I travelled from New York to Philadelphia to Washington DC to Atlantic City – all on buses that cost less than $30 each. New York is a must, and Washington DC is a personal favourite!

Aideen: After camp, we are planning to go to Orlando, Washington DC and New York. Soo excited!!

As excited as Aideen to head for the US next summer? Camp USA offers you a full-time, paid job, a summer full of exploring the great outdoors and a brilliant way to experience American life.

We are now accepting Early Bird Applications for Camp USA 2017. Not all Summers were created equal!

Beautiful New Zealand Beach Bought via Crowdfunding And Made Public

Power to the people!

Crowdfunding is becoming more and more popular to give like-minded people the opportunity to back ideas they’re passionate about and this may just be the best one yet!

Seeing that this beautiful stretch of private New Zealand coastline was up for sale, Kiwi’s Duane Major and Adam Gardner decided to set up a Crowdfund to re-claim this little piece of heaven at Awaroa beach on the northern tip of New Zealand’s stunning South Island and give it back to the public.

The project gained serious traction with 40,000 people contributing over $2m to free the beach from private ownership and have it become part of Abel Tasman National Park. Having raised most of the funds needed, a $350,000 donation from the New Zealand Government helped get the sale over the line.

Finally, on the 10th July the deeds officially changed hands and was simultaneously opened to the delighted public. What a brilliant example of people power..and what a beautiful beach!

Thinking of discovering the Land of the Long Cloud? USIT is Ireland’s No.1 travel company for Working Holiday Visas to New Zealand. Drop us a line today info@usit.ie or on (01) 602 1906.

 

Grad Visa Spotlight: Thomas’ Essential Guide To Living In NYC

When we help students obtain their US Grad Visa, we’re not interested in waving goodbye to them once the plane leaves the runway at Dublin Airport and that be it! The Grad Visa is such a huge opportunity and experience for our graduates that we love hearing about how they’ve settled in, what their highlights have been  and most importantly what wisdom they can share for future participants.

With this in mind let us hand you over to Thomas Burke, who escaped the ‘boredom’ of Cork behind for what’s been an anything but dull 9 months in New York City…

Thomas NY 2

‘I specifically remember sitting at a desk in my full-time job in Cork and finally deciding that I needed a change…

I was earning a good salary, had a beautiful apartment and had a great bunch of colleagues and friends. So what’s problem, right? I just wasn’t being challenged, monotony was setting in and life was getting, if I’m being honest, extremely boring. I finally decided to take the plunge and move to New York (you should have seen my parents reactions!). After living here for nine months now, one thing I can say for sure is that New York is most certainly not boring! I now have an internship at the Irish Arts Center where I help organize different events throughout the city, promoting Irish arts, music and culture. 

New York is difficult to explain to other people if they haven’t experienced the city themselves. There is a buzz that goes with just walking down the street, the collective sights and sounds forming a unique atmosphere. Integrating yourself into the city can be very daunting at first.

7 Top Tips For Your First Months in New York

  1. New York is ridiculously expensive. Period. Save, save and save some more before you arrive.
  2. The first 3-5 months are absolutely manic. You’ll be excited, scared, angry, confused and exhausted all at the same time.
  3. Get your phone sorted immediately. T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon are all good options. Get your SIM card sorted before you go via USIT’s agents.
  4. Set up an American bank account straightaway. Chase Bank and Bank of America are the most popular as they have the most branches throughout the city.
  5. Buy a subway MetroCard. The subway is by far the cheapest option to get around and you will use it more than you think.
  6. Always try and have a small bit of cash on you. You never know when you might need it.
  7. You will do a lot of walking here so proper walking shoes are a necessity.

New-York-Skyline-night

Getting Accommodation Is A Slog, But A Great Learning Curve

Shortly after you arrive, you will inevitably be looking for somewhere to live. You can only live on a friend’s couch/floor/mattress for so long and trust me, it gets tiring VERY quickly. Looking for an apartment in NYC is an incredibly intimidating and disheartening experience at first and I felt out of depth throughout the entire process.

However, getting your own place first should be your number one priority. Everything else will follow and I always tell people, everything clicked once I found an apartment. I now live in Astoria, Queens with two other Irish guys and we are having a blast!

Apartment hunting in NYC takes lots of time, perseverance and courage. 

Top Tips For Finding Your Place

  1. Connect with people! Trust me, there are tons of Irish people here. You never know who might have a spare room or know of an apartment.
  2. If you find a place that you even remotely like, just take it. Literally, in less than 24 hours, it will be gone.
  3. Be aware, using a broker will likely cost a fee, one month’s rent and one month’s deposit before obtaining your apartment.
  4. Look in neighboring boroughs such as Queens or Brooklyn. 
  5. Facebook is a good platform to use. “Gypsy Housing NYC” is the main page I used and which eventually helped me get my apartment now.
  6. Don’t get too disheartened. Keep plugging away and something will come up!

Getting Used To The Subway

One aspect of New York you have to get used to is the subway. It has its own rules and regulations which you adapt to over time. People act differently; they are too tired, stressed, hot, impatient and irritated to act normally. Here are some subway tips which I have learned over time…

  1. Its $31 for a weekly unlimited subway ticket. This is your friend! It’s $2.75 per ride normally so it’s great value and you will get your use out of it, trust me.
  2. Always check before you go underground whether that platform is for uptown or downtown trains. There’s nothing worse than getting on a train and realizing you’re going in the wrong direction.
  3. When a train stops at a platform, let everybody off first! It genuinely makes the process go faster.
  4. Use earphones when on the train! You don’t want some guy blaring Drake in your face when all you want to do is sleep.
  5. Don’t hog two seats! Seats are like gold dust, especially on long journeys. Don’t be annoying and take up more than one.
  6. This one goes without saying but ALWAYS keep an eye on your belongings. The subway isn’t the safest place in the world so keep your wits about you.

Thomas NYC 3

Think Your Smartphone Is Crucial in Ireland? Wait until you get to NYC!

New York is a modern city and I use my phone for everything. If your phone is broke/old/dying before you come here, get a new one. Seriously…. You’ll need it. Below are a few essential apps I use day to day:

  1. Google Maps – I actually use this app without even thinking about it. I still get lost in this city and it’s very unsettling if you don’t have access to it.
  2. Uber/Lyft – An amazing alternative to regular cabs. You can get picked up and dropped off anywhere for a flat rate.
  3. NYC Subway – Provides a full map of the subway maps with arrival times and information on each stop.
  4. Bank Online App – Very handy for checking your balance, depositing checks and viewing bank statements.
  5. Yelp – Great for getting first-hand experience on restaurants, bars, concerts, events, etc. I use it a lot and it very rarely lets me down.
  6. Stubhub – A wonderful app for getting last minute tickets to events of any kind. Very reliable.
  7. Venmo – Probably my favorite app of all. Great for sharing payments among people such as rent, bills and bar/restaurant checks.
  8. Camera – It goes without saying but you will take A LOT of photos in this city. Take and share them, it’s all a part of the experience.

What To Explore Once New York Feels Like Home

NYC (2)

I like to think that I’ve successfully integrated myself into this city. It’s something I’m very proud of. I’m always learning and every day is a new experience. It’s inevitable you will have a bad experience here and there and that is part of living here. Below are some general pieces of advice I would give after living here for nine months:

  1. Go to Central Park as much as you can. It’s my favorite place in the city and there is always something happening here.
  2. Master the art of packing. New York is huge and coming back home for lunch or a break is just not feasible. Pack a backpack with some essentials.
  3. Watch out for Yellow Taxi drivers. If they know you are new to the city, they may take you a longer way. Be careful!
  4. You’ve got to keep up or else you’ll get knocked, kicked, trampled or shoved. If you’re on your phone, you’re a main target!
  5. If you enjoy coffee, you will drink it all the time here. There’s coffee shops on every corner.
  6. New York has an astonishing amount of restaurants so go out and try it all!
  7. You’ll make friends but not see them for weeks. People are busy working different schedules and it’s just the way of life here. Don’t take it personally!

Would I recommend moving here? Absolutely! It takes a while to get used to and the first few months are undoubtedly tough but eventually it all comes together.

I said at the start of this piece that I came here because I was bored. I can safely say that’s no longer the case and I know I never will be. If you’re even half thinking about coming here, just do it. I understand the reservations and doubts but you will not be sorry!

If you have any questions, you can email me at burkey91.tb@gmail.com or get me on Instagram or Yelp!

Massive thanks to Thomas for sharing with us (and now you) some priceless tips for getting used to life in NYC. Feeling inspired to go? There’s less than 300 Grad Visas left for 2016 so get in touch with Melanie.Young@usit.ie or give us a call on (01) 602 1747.

 

11 Unbelievable Pics Of Sydney’s Vivid Festival 2016

Oh my God! It maybe coming into winter in Sydney but the opening of the Vivid Festival of light, music and ideas is pretty much the coolest thing we’ve seen in a long time!

Billed as a festival bringing together art, technology and commerce, the festival has utilised the latest and greatest in projection technology to turn the city into a living, breathing work of art. Over the next 23 Days, Sydney is home to the world’s largest outdoor gallery and some of the pics (and this time lapse of the Opera House via Eddie Sim) makes their New Year celebrations look tame in comparison.

The project took over 15 months of intense work to bring together and at the very heart of the festival is to highlight the plight of some of the world’s most endangered species.

Tens of thousands of people have already flocked to the installations across Sydney and it makes us long for hopping on a plane back to this incredible city.

Check out 10 of best pictures of the festivals opening night below:

Vivid 5
Sydney Harbour Bridge will be lit up for the next 23 days as part of Vivid 2016

Have you been to any of the installations yet? Which are the most spectacular? Let us know in the comments.

Secure your Working Holiday to Australia with Ireland’s leading agency including your flight from just €999! Email us at info@usit.ie or ring our experts on (01) 602 1906

Less Than 300 USA Grad Visa’s Left in 2016!

UPDATE: There’s now less than 200 US Grad Visas left between now and the end of 2016! 

Exam time is over and we’re sure you’ve done great! You deserve your summer to unwind, relax and hopefully travel somewhere but that doesn’t mean you should take your eyes completely off the ball. The 2016 US Grad Visa Program is approaching end game. Here’s what you need to know…

Continue reading Less Than 300 USA Grad Visa’s Left in 2016!

Sean’s Amazing J1 Summer Captured on Go-Pro

Hands up if you’re about to hop on a flight to the States for your J1 in the next week or two?

Hell, you might already be gone at this stage! As thousands more J1 students set out on their Summer adventure with USIT, one of last year’s crop, Sean Quinn has sent us over this brilliant video (*googles ‘buy Go Pro’) of what has to have been the best summer of his life!

From living it up on Venice Beach to skydiving above the Californian landscape and swinging by New York on the way home, these boys had some adventure! It’s all ahead of you…

Nice work Sean! Cheers for sending this into us, it’s ace.

J1 Spotlight: Lyndsey Finds Fame In Friendly Nashvile

This was a J1 with a Southern twist that started in Tennesse and ended up on the set of US TV hit, Nashville!. We spoke to Lyndsey (@LyndzHall) about taking the road much less travelled by and why taking your Irish roots off the beaten track is the best decision you’ll ever make…

Continue reading J1 Spotlight: Lyndsey Finds Fame In Friendly Nashvile

20 Top Tips From 2015 J1 Students

Mid-May and it’s about to get real! All your months being absolutely frozen thinking that your departure date are nearly finished and with us being blessed with the weather the home stretch it’s easy to start daydreaming and forget the needful…

We spent some time in Trinity, UCD, UCC & NCAD talking to some of our past J1 students and asked them to give us some top tips for this year’s crop. Unless you want to ‘get deported’ or ‘end up sleeping on a beach’ (the novelty will wear off!) you might want to take their advice on board…

Employer Spotlight: 78 Jobs in NYC!

God bless you Summer! If you’re still on the lookout for your J1 job in New York, we think we’ve just found you one. When we say one we mean 78! There are a number of fine establishments in the service industry looking for summer recruits from Bartenders and Hostesses to Baristas. Here’s just a few Employers looking for you on Craigslist…

Rocco’s Taco & Tequila Bar

Rocco

What a combination! Rocco’s place is situated in Brooklyn on 339 Adam St and if you have any serving experience they want to hear from you. Going as a group? Great, they’re looking for a number of different roles in what could be the perfect place to float your J1 summer.

Bierhaus NYC

bierhaus

Literally, a German beer house looking for Hosts and Hostesses this Summer. Perhaps the best part about this place is the location, 3rd Avenue Manhattan, right in the heart of the action and bound to be a great place to meet people this summer.

Le Bain

Le Bain 2

From Mexico to Germany and now we finish with France. Le Bain are looking for a Server and a Busser at their West 13th Street address in New York which has some of the best views of the city. This rooftop club hosts some world famous DJ’s plus there’s a plunge pool in the penthouse! It’s also consistently voted one of the Top 10 Rooftop spots in New York! Awesome right?

 

 

J1 Insider: Tips & Tricks For Loving Chicago

Ahoy hoy! Two of our J1 Recruitment Team, James & Lyndsey just got back from a busy week scouring Chicago for more employers for this year’s J1 students (you lucky people!) and finding out the best things to do in the city, how best to get around, where to stay and what to enjoy. If you’re hitting Chicago, you’ll want to read this. Even if you’re not, you’ll want to go another time!

James Lyndsey Consulate
James & Lyndsey popped in to the Irish Consulate

 Before we start I would like to go on record by saying Chicago is definitely one of the best locations for a J1 in the U.S. The city comes alive in the summer as everyone is delighted to see the back the winter where temperatures can reach a bone chilling -10 degrees below freezing. The city bursts into life come May and summer temps can range between 25-38 degrees which makes it extremely seasonal and perfect for J1ers looking for seasonal work. Chicago is a busy city but is also extremely chilled and laid back. The city is located on Lake Michigan which is one of the 5 superior lakes of North America and the only superior lake to be fully located inside the U.S. Although it is a lake, get Glendalough lakes out of your head as it is more ocean then lake. To give you an idea of the size, 68% of Ireland could fit inside the circumference. The city sweeps down to the lake side and is picturesque beyond belief. There are 3 main beaches in the city Ohio Street Beach, Oak street beach and the greatest beach on earth North Avenue beach.

Continue reading J1 Insider: Tips & Tricks For Loving Chicago