The J1 will be one of the best summers of your life. From partying to travelling, there will be nothing like spending 3 months in “the land of the free”.

You have to be very vigilant and well prepared when travelling to the states. As long as you pay attention to your surroundings and don’t get into trouble, you will be fine.

Here are a few do’s and don’ts when it comes to the J1 in America:


Do research where you will be living

While America is a cool place to live, it is super dangerous. As you must well know by now, everyone has guns over there. Those guys who signed the declaration of independence giving everyone the right to arm themselves didn’t take into account the absolute mental cases that would have firearms in the future. Just do a bit of research about where you will or could be living. You don’t want to get caught in an area where racial tensions are high, as that is kind of a big deal at the moment over there.


Don’t get hurt over there

Seriously, you could be paying thousands for a cut thumb if you aren’t careful. The health system over in the states is very different from here. They can stop treating you if you do not have insurance. So get some sort of travel insurance before you go, as some hospitals can have people like Dr Kelso from Scrubs (Scrubs is basically where I got all my knowledge of the American health system), a comically evil character who will kick you out on the street if you don’t have insurance. It can happen easily so just be aware.


Do get a tipping job

Get a job where you receive tips, such as a bar job. You have to have a job before going over, no matter how awful it is. It is much easier to get a better one once you are over there however. If you hate your job when you start over there, have a look around for something else, ideally a job that you get tips from. You will have much more money to travel that way.


Don’t go mad on Four Loco

Four Loco and the J1 go hand in hand. For an Irish student who is strapped for cash, look no further than the caffeine filled alcoholic beverage that is beloved by the Irish and homeless alike. This stuff is dangerous, you literally need only one can to feel a buzz, but two can easily send you over the point of no return.

Whatever is in this drink is definitely not good for you, but who cares, you are in the states for a summer of partying and travelling. Just go easy on this stuff as you will more than likely have this for pre-drinks. It is cheap and gets you messed up quickly, so be very careful when consuming this over in the U.S.


Do avoid crazy people

You will notice a huge amount of homeless and crazy people on the streets of every J1 destination this summer. There are way more in America than here (obviously). I am not saying avoid homeless people, as many of them are just people who have fallen on hard times. Many are ex-soldiers who have fallen through the system and have been left to fend for themselves on the streets after fighting overseas, struggling to adapt with life back home. This is a sad but common sight in every major city in the country. Then there are just some generally mental people over there. Try to avoid these people as they could be dangerous or just plain annoying.


Don’t use a fake ID

There are many people who get fake ID’s before heading over on their J1. If you get caught with one, you could be in serious trouble. Getting caught with a fake ID in the U.S is a felony. This means you will be sent home and wont be able to get back in the country, probably ever. That would be a bad ending to your J1 and would put you out of the running for a Grad visa in the future.

These are the main things to do and avoid when heading over to the U.S of A this summer. Just be prepared for everything and you will have the time of your life.

John McAuliffe