By Katie Mcnamee


Every year, around 10,000 Irish travel to America on a temporary visa known as the J-1.

The State Department data revealed that Ireland consistently receives the fifth highest number of J-1 visas, behind larger countries such as Germany and Brazil.

Our inimitable sense of community has lead to word-of-mouth raving reviews and so you find yourself heading off with a large group of friends.

It’s been described as a once in a lifetime epic summer adventure that proves incredibly difficult to resist when you’re dodging puddles on the way to college.

As you daydream about the moment you finally catch aerial glimpses of an iconic city skyline, a semester passes you by and then another.

The summer of your dreams is looming along with another (not so dreamy) season, exams.

As you’re ensuring your basic preparation for the summer under control, you’ve most likely stumbled across the ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ of the J-1 website. Top of the list is every J-1 goers worst nightmare, repeating exams.

Under the ‘Repeating Exams’ section of the USIT website is the answer: “Every year there are a number of people who need to repeat an exam or two. Having to return to Ireland for your repeats does not mean the end of your J-1; we can help change your flight schedule. There may be a fee for any changes made.”

If you’re on edge about a certain exam and the possibility of failing is quite likely, check with your insurance policy as it might cover this eventuality. This means any additional fees paid could be reimbursed to you.

A crucial point to remember is that the cover must be taken out before you sit your end of semester exams. You are not covered for failure if you know the results of any of your exams before you depart Ireland.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade put together a useful guide that includes some essential guidelines for J1 students to follow before they go and during their stay.

Insurance is a key factor that pops up quite frequently and it’s crucial to ensure you have taken out the correct one. “Healthcare in the USA is very expensive. If your insurance doesn’t pay up, you can incur massive bills” said The Department.

“While the Irish Embassies and Consulates in the USA will do what they can to assist you if you fall ill or are injured, they cannot cover your medical expenses” they continued.

Before you embark on a trip of lifetime and some seriously exciting prospects, get the basics under control.

Categories: Features

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