J-1 intern takes on the Big Apple, cites assistance he received from IIIC as vital

Michael Geraghty, who hails from the small village of Kilsheelan, on the Tipperary/Waterford border, obtained his bachelor degree in structural engineering at Cork Institute of Technology. He first learned about the J-1 Intern Work & Travel (J-1 IWT) visa in 2012, and decided it fit in with his aspiration to travel the world combined with a desire to gain the best experience possible in his field of study.

“Emigrating to a foreign country so far away from home can be exciting but at the same time overwhelming,” he reports. “The application process requires you to gather numerous documents and the Irish International Immigration Center staff were on hand to ensure what I was submitting was sufficient. IIIC also sent me a step-by-step guide to obtaining a visa and were extremely accommodating with any questions I had. They are still providing advice and information to me seven months into my internship.”

Geraghty arrived in New York armed with a list of organizations provided by the IIIC that could assist him once he landed. As to his job search, he said, “I work with a general contracting construction company. I researched the company’s background and set up an interview with them. I went into the interview with as much confidence as possible, after having prepared educated answers to typical interview questions.”

Geraghty was expecting New York to be a bustling city with loads to do and he wasn’t disappointed. “There is literally always something new and exciting to do here at any time of the day or night. Many in the working community of New York are not originally from the city, so you immediately have something in common with most of the people you meet. The biggest cultural difference is definitely the work ethic. New Yorkers are so driven, it is as if everybody is trying to outdo one another. The old saying, ‘You snooze - you lose.’ must have originated in NYC.”

When asked if he has any advice for recent graduates interested in the J-1 IWT program, Geraghty responded, “Don’t even think about it, just do it! You will uncover aspects of your personality you never knew existed. Travelling abroad, wherever you go, should not be all about work. The life experience is what’s more important in my opinion!”

The IIIC helps Irish graduates find paid, one-year, internships in the United States. If you have any openings, please contact Paul Pelan at ppelan@iiicenter.org