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    J-1ers go west as traditional spots lose pull

    By Noreen Bowden | August 8, 2007

    California is the big draw this summer for Irish students working in the US summer on J-1 visas, according to journalist Carole Coleman. She reports on RTÉ that there is a growing trend for students to go to the western state, as numbers fall from the traditional favourites of New York, Boston and New Jersey.

    Bernadette Cashman of Irish Outreach San Diego says that 2,500 J-1 students arrived this summer; the group contacted  employers in advance to and provided orientation for hundreds of the students.

    While many are attracted to the sunny weather and the beaches, the city’s proximity to the Mexican border is another big draw: students who are under 21 can buy drink legally in Mexico. High rents and competition from other European students in many of the traditionally Irish areas are serving as additional disincentives.

    In a similar vein, the student-run Daily Californian carries an article on the Irish students spending the summer in Berkeley. Journalist Sonja Sharp quotes an area employer as saying the city has become “In the past three or four years, Berkeley’s just become a Mecca? for Irish students  A 2005 USIT survey showed that 35% of students wound up in California.

    The RTÉ report mentions that some students are having trouble with the wait for their social security numbers. The Emerald Isle Immigration Center’s Padraig Nolan says that some students in the New York area have been forced into debt and even gone home.

    See the news stories:

    Topics: J-1, Latest News, US, Visas | No Comments »

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