J-1 Visitor: “Boston Feels like Home but with Better Weather!"

Eoin McGing, a Letterkenny IT graduate, says that if not for the team at the Rian Immigrant Center, he may not be two months into his J-1 visa in Boston. He attributes Jude Clarke’s, Senior Manager of Learning Exchange Programs at Rian, persistence to why he’s currently living in Boston. We were lucky enough to hear this all from Eoin first hand, in our office, our first in-person article interview with an Exchange VIsitor in nearly 3 years. Eoin told us Jude stayed on him to get his application in so his visa could be processed in a timely manner to get him to the States as soon as possible.

Eoin had an open mind when he applied with Rian for his J-1 visa. When he graduated university in May, he did not have the clearest idea of what he wanted to do. Eoin went to university an hour away from home, so what he did know was that he wanted to broaden his horizons. Generally, when he thought about the J-1 graduate visa, he wanted to come to the States to enjoy himself. Both his cousins live in Boston and the idea drew him there. For Eoin, and the folks he grew up with, Boston is always the place to go because of the long history between Boston and Ireland.

Now that Eoin is in the States, Boston is exceeding his expectations. He was worried that being here would be a complete culture shock. However, he has found that Boston has felt similar to Ireland- especially the characteristics of people he’s met. He has found that the Boston locals are friendly and look out for each other. Of course, there is a massive Irish presence in Boston so everyone is ready to help you in any way they can. Eoin said, “Boston feels a lot like home, but with better weather.”

Eoin has been playing Gaelic football at the Irish Cultural Center in Canton, MA. He also got the chance to represent Ireland at the Boston Unity Cup- a city wide soccer tournament. Additionally, he is loving his internship. Eoin is working at Arbella Insurance in the Human Resources Department. He says it is “brilliant”. He shared he could not have asked for a better place to work or better people to work with. The latter was especially important to him, considering he basically came to the States alone and these are the people he spends eight hours a day with. The first month or so at his internship he spent training and learning to schedule. Now he is beginning to invoice and take people around. He was worried that as an intern, he would waste the year- but Eoin has found that he is working as an actual employee, and learning by being thrown into the deep end.

He says it is hard to understand if you live in the States, but experience at an American company is invaluable in Ireland. Eoin is still figuring out what he would like to do for his career.  But he studied business at university, so he can apply his studies and experience in the States to a myriad of professional opportunities. He says the experience in the States is massive, so he can do anything.

Looking at his year ahead, Eoin wants to travel as much as he can. He says compared to the folks on the J-1 Summer visa, the year that the J-1 graduate visa allots allows for more travel. He sees his friends who are in the States only for three months trying to squish a lot into that short period, whereas Eoin can take his time, work, play GAA, and travel. He hopes to visit Chicago, New York, and the west coast.

To anyone considering the J-1 Graduate visa, Eoin would say “just do it.” He says even if you are unsure or worried, you have to do it. Even if someone just does the summer J-1, everyone should try to do something like this. The experience is unlike any other. He would also tell future J-1 to organize themselves, plan ahead, and get in contact with the team at Rian.

Eoin has already recommended the Rian J-1 program to friends. He described the support by Rian J-1 as invaluable. He shared the team replies to emails within an hour, and because we have team members in the states and in Ireland, it feels like 24 hour service. As Eoin put it, “it can feel stressful to not know what you are doing, and to have someone with expertise on the visa respond quickly to set you straight is massive.”

For Eoin, the best part of his first couple of months in the States has been the weather, meeting new people, and playing football. People at home have been asking how he likes it. He says he’s loving everything about it so far- the culture, especially how people are always trying to build and develop. He could not think of a bad thing to say! He also loved when his mom came to Boston to visit, so he could show her the city too.

We wish Eoin the best of luck during his remaining time in the States. To keep up with him and check out photos from his time in Boston, check out the Rian J-1 Instagram at @rianj_1!