As many of you head off on your J1 journey, we are reminiscing on our own J1 experiences.

Gabriella’s Experience:

I traveled to Boston, Massachusetts last summer with a few friends from Monaghan and Cavan. Last year, a change was made to the visa requirements and it meant that you had to have a job before you arrived. Luckily, my many years in the Hillgrove Hotel, earned me a job as a waitress in Tia’s Waterfront Bar and Grill. My friends Rebecca and Aine also bagged jobs there, so we were all set!

Tia’s Babes (Mostly J1er’s)

We departed Ireland homeless in the USA, and it turned out that wasn’t the only time we were going to be homeless during the 3 months!! Three weeks into our brief stay in our first apartment on Marlborough St in Back Bay (fancy!!), we got our official eviction court summons date for noise pollution (Like many J1ers. We weren’t even that loud, honest!). Anyone who knows me, knows I don’t travel light so I had to haul ass across the city to our new location of Brighton! The struggle was real! Haha. Our home for July was a one month lease, so we had to up sticks again in August to our 3rd home in Allston, where girls who we worked with in Tia’s kindly put us up.


3rd time’s a charm! Homeless in the USA!

Despite the housing sitch, the craic never stopped and we had the best summer ever! The girls and I were rolling in the tips with our Irish charm, in a largely Irish city. The dolla bills were flying! Happy days. We were regulars in An Tain, Sissy K’s and Porter Belly’s after work, which were the place to be during the Euro’s. Work uniform and all! That Robbie Brady goal will go down in history, nearly lost my life that night getting flung across the bar among the cheers! Haha.

When it came to getting more dolled up, we would head to Bijou Nightclub or Royale Nightclub. The auld fake ID came in handy, as I didn’t turn 21 until September. The glamour squad of Irish girls, with our tan and lashes, were never short of attention and regularly got invited into VIP. Some freebie bottle service never hurt anyone! Haha.

Boat Party, Last night in Boston, Staff night, Bijou.

So many outrageous stories and funny memories from all the girls and lads who we lived with and house-partied with. Too many to tell and far too few that could even be spoken of in public.


If you are in any doubt as to whether or not you should do a j1, DO IT. You won’t regret it.

Gabriella X

Noeleen’s Experience: 

I traveled to San Diego, California in the summer of 2011 with two girls from college and a friend from home (who came on holidays for the month of July). We didn’t have a job or a home on arrival, but we were booked into a hostel by the beach for the first few days so we were good to go! We met loads of other j1ers there so quickly gathered up lots of people to house hunt with.

Thankfully, we found a place to live pretty quickly and got ourselves settled, airbeds and all! Our apartment complex was absolutely beautiful. It had a gym, huge outdoor pool and jacuzzi. Although we did squeeze about 8 of us into a one bedroom apartment so that we could afford it! Haha.

Our apartment complex, the flight over and shopping for home-wares. 

The job hunt was painful at first, but at least we all got jobs after about two weeks. If the new rules existed back in 2011, half of the people I met on my j1 wouldn’t have been there! They were total bums for the whole summer and loved every minute of it (shout out to the Tipp lads!). Their poor parents had to keep transferring money. Thankfully, I had my job and could fund myself. Otherwise, Evelyn Brady would have had me on the first flight home! Haha.

My friend Averil and I both worked in a place called The Wavehouse, located right on the boardwalk of Mission Beach. It was a really cool spot and had an event called Sundaze every Sunday when all the best DJ’s would come to play and there would be beautiful people everywhere! I was able to leave work, sit on the beach and listen to Calvin Harris, Skrillex, etc. playing their gig. Pamela Anderson’s son also had his sweet 16th there, random!

Averil and I were the only two girls in the kitchen (prep chefs – we may have BS’d a bit on our applications! Lol), working with all Mexican men. The craic was great, our colleagues were mad in the head, like ourselves! Singing La Bamba for us when we were hungover to liven us up and making us the best free food for our lunch. I’m still friends with many of them on Facebook and have kept in touch.

Working hard, as always!

As for San Diego nightlife, we hung out mainly around Pacific beach and Mission Beach, rather than downtown. Averil and I were also fond of the rooftop bars along the beaches, which we would go to straight after picking up our paycheck! “Adios Motherf****r” became a firm favorite on the drinks list. Google the recipe and you’ll understand the name!!

j1 11

Adios Motherf****r!

San Diego was pretty strict on ID so I was glad I waited until I was 21 to go. Although there was plenty of house parties too for the under-21’s and we headed off down to Tijuana, Mexico most weeks as well. Things tended to get absolutely wreckless in Tijuana, but in general, the nights there were hilarious and like Gabs, most of the stories couldn’t possibly be shared! Haha Anyone who J1’d in San Diego 2011 will appreciate the significant nostalgia feels that come with listening to Pitfull ft. Neyo “Give Me Everything”….ALL. THE. FEELS.

The girls, Mexican border, Tijuana nights, and our neighbours!

Mission Beach Boardwalk, Party bus to Tijuana, 4th of July, Roomies, Dublin girlo’s and our lovely clean apartment,

Awww Summer 2011, you were amazing! If you’re at the start of your J1 right now, or you are considering it for the future, enjoy every minute.

Noeleen X


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