J-1 Experiences: Aoife O’Donohue

J-1 Experiences: Aoife O’Donohue

J-1 Intern Builds her Career in New York City

Aiofe O’Donohue, a current J-1, has found her time living in New York City to be an incredibly beneficial experience. In New York City, she has found a perfect mix of good business experience alongside an enriching social life. Her most recent update – she switched jobs and has straightened out her career path while still gaining relevant experience. 

Looking back, Aoife said the process of obtaining her visa “couldn’t have been easier.” She contacted Rian with only 6 weeks left to secure her visa, before being outside of her year of eligibility. She said that, “Rian was fantastic in helping me get organized and get to my embassy interview in the quickest time possible.” Luckily, with Rian’s help, Aoife was able to obtain her visa to travel to the United States! When she arrived in the States, she struggled a bit with the transition, saying that it was a big adjustment. However, within 2-3 months she settled into her routine and started making her time worthwhile. 

Aoife didn’t arrive in the US with a job, but a contact in Ireland helped her obtain one only a week into the visa experience. She started networking with people who might have known someone in the United States immediately upon arrival, and one of these connections led to her securing a job. She was very grateful for this opportunity, but found that the work didn’t spark anything within her. As such, she found a new position at a company she had wanted to work for since graduating. 

Although switching jobs was a difficult process, she was able to lean on the team at Rian to help her through the transition. Rian was able to walk the employer through the process of what it’s like to employ a J-1 visa holder. Her job opportunities have allowed her to work in global markets in one of the largest financial markets in the world. In New York City, she works alongside some of the best foreign exchange professionals in the world. The company has an office in Dublin, and she’s hoping she’ll have the opportunity to transfer. 

Aoife also has a healthy work life balance in the city. She loves the social scene and energy of the city. She said that the social life, “can be whatever you want it to be.” She said New York City has clubs, and Irish bars on every corner. There are also plenty of wholesome things to do and see, such as going to see a Halloween Dog Parade in Tompkins Square park. She wants to see Boston, but overall noted that “there is so much to do in New York that I almost feel like I don’t need to leave!”

Aoife shared a piece of advice that other J-1s frequently share with us. She wants future J-1s to step out of their comfort zones to get the most out of their experience. Applying for the visa is a big step, but she believes that it’s the best way to immerse yourself in the culture. 

Aoife is an ambassador for the Rian J-1 program. To follow along with her J-1 year and check out her photos, visit @rianj_1 on Instagram.