'There were parties all the time...'
My J1 adventure: Lisa Cannon
Published 17/01/2016 | 02:30
The TV3 Xposé presenter went to San Francisco in 1997 while doing drama and theatre studies at Trinity.
'I went on my JI aged 19 with my friends from school, Maeve and Joanna, and we had an absolute ball. We were so excited about it and were planning what we'd do for months beforehand. We were lucky because a friend's brother, Niall, lived over there, and he offered to put us up for the first couple of weeks.
"I was also very fortunate because I worked part-time in Planet Hollywood, and was able to get a transfer to SF for the summer. Maeve got a job there, too, and Joanna got a job in a bar practically the minute we arrived. We all slept in the same bed, made dinner and did the housework for Niall to say thanks. It ended up that we couldn't find anywhere decent to live, and as he was away a lot, he offered to let us stay for the rest of the summer, which was brilliant.
"We all agreed beforehand with our boyfriends that we would take a 'break' while we were there. Everyone loved the little Irish girls, and there were constant parties and we had so much fun that when mine wanted to come over for a holiday, I had to send him a 'Dear John' letter. I dated this lovely American guy for a short while, and he paid for me to get those tiny braids that were in vogue in my hair. I was pale and freckly with dreadlock-type braids - I looked ridiculous.
"There were parties all of the time, and at the end of the summer, we went to Vegas and LA and San Diego and had an amazing time. I hadn't got enough money to pay for the trip so I took an extra job at a bakery for a few weeks, which wasn't a good idea as I put on weight. I don't think my mother recognised me when I got off the plane coming home!"