J-1 Experiences: Luke Fox

J-1 Experiences: Luke Fox

Rian J-1 Embraces Cultural Exchange in Austin!

Luke Fox, Rian J-1, is finishing up the latter half of his J-1 visa in Austin, Texas. As a Technological University of Dublin graduate with a degree in Business Studies, Luke moved to Austin in search of professional and cultural exchange opportunities.

Luke did an Erasmus, an EU study abroad program, in Berlin in 2021. That’s when he discovered he really enjoyed living abroad. As a kid, Luke loved American sports, he constantly watched the NBA and the NFL. So over a year ago when he and his three friends decided to move abroad again- he knew the United States was the right choice. Austin was the perfect destination for Luke to experience American culture. 

Luke began his internship a bit over a month into his visa. He found an internship at AGE of Central Texas. Everyday he supports the organization’s mission to help older adults and their caregivers as a Development Associate. His role is to assist with fundraising, events, and donations. Luke also researches philanthropic opportunities and grants. He found that his coworkers were nice and welcoming to him. 

For Luke, the highpoint of the visa so far has been living in Austin. His first impression was that he loves the weather. The sun and the heat has enabled him to experience the abundance of outdoor fun Austin has to offer. He’s loved taking advantage of all of the swimming spots, like the outdoor springs. He also has enjoyed the outdoor beer gardens and Austin City Limits during last October. 

He’s found that everyone in Austin is friendly too. Because it’s a growing city, he noticed that people have recently moved there. All of the new implants have meant that people are open to make new friends, which is perfect for any J-1 exchange visitor as they build their social circle! He’s also met folks through the Irish community. He says he’s run into other Irish lads out socially and he has friends who play Gaelic football. Luke says there are not a huge amount of Irish people in Austin but the numbers are growing.

When Luke spoke to our team, he did have some pointers for J-1s headed to Austin to keep in mind. The first is that Austin is an expensive city. He’s found it more expensive than Dublin, so if you’re traveling there, remember to save up! Also, he said that everyone in Austin drives. He does take the bus to work. Outside of work, however, he and his friends take Ubers to get around. 

Out of all the experiences Luke has had so far, he reflected on three that are his favorites. His first was a University of Texas football game last fall. As a fan of American football, this was a highlight for him and he had a super fun time. He looks forward to the fall when the games start up again. His second favorite memory was the Dermot Kennedy concert. It was great to catch an Irish singer in the United States. Third, Luke loved South by Southwest when it took over the city in March. 

As Luke looks ahead, he plans to pivot from the role he has currently. He’s not sure what to expect for his next chapter but he does feel like living abroad in Canada or Europe is in the cards for him. He would like to find a role in marketing. He’s been thinking of pursuing a music marketing career to blend his love for music and his university education. 

Luke describes his J-1 year as a positive experience, one that has been advantageous which he’ll take with him forever. He’d tell other university graduates to do it because it is fantastic. During their J-1 year they should be open to opportunities and meeting new people!