Saturday 26 May 2018

'It's kind of scary that you have to find a job before you go'

Like father, like daughter: Rose Halpin Duffy with her dad, Peter Duffy. Photo: Martin Maher.
Like father, like daughter: Rose Halpin Duffy with her dad, Peter Duffy. Photo: Martin Maher.
Deirdre Reynolds

Deirdre Reynolds

Trainee primary school teacher Rose Halpin Duffy from Harold's Cross in Dublin is looking forward to the adventure of a lifetime this summer.

Following in her father's footsteps, the 23-year-old student is planning to escape to Boston on J1 with six friends at the end of May - but only if she manages to get a job first.

"It is kind of scary this year that you have to find a job ­before you can go over," ­admitted Rose, who's a third-year student at the College of Education in Rathmines. "It puts quite a lot of pressure on.

"You put a lot of work and effort into this and then if you can't find a job… we don't know what to do if some of us get a job and then others don't. I suppose you have to start being a bit selfish in that way [and] decide if you're still going to go."

Already working part-time in a takeaway in Rathmines, Rose - who's applied for her J1 visa through SAYIT - has tried out for jobs as a waitress and shop assistant Stateside.

But she's disappointed she won't get to try something ­different in the land of ­opportunity due to changes to the programme: "Last year, a lot of my friends were able to go over there and see what kind of jobs there were. Some of them got jobs with LEGO or they worked as lifeguards - jobs that you wouldn't think you could do in Ireland. Now a lot of the jobs they give you are very similar to ones that you get in Ireland. You don't have the advantage of trying something different."

Having spent the summer of 1982 playing football in New York on J1, dad Pat is sure to be able to offer some advice: "I had nothing arranged. I had relatives there so I was going to a relative in the Bronx.

"Being in New York at that time was an interesting experience - [I] got access to a lot of things that maybe otherwise I wouldn't have. It would have been an influential year, let's say, in life terms.

"A lot of children growing up [today], they're brought here, there and everywhere," he continued. "They're not as open to the elements as when I was growing up, and that has it's pluses and minuses. While Rose has travelled a good bit, I feel travelling [on J1] and ­having to deal with the inevitable ­difficulties that will arise is a reasonably good thing."

As a parent however, the performer - who's got a one-man show coming up at Smock Alley Theatre in March - conceded he's happy his only child will have a job and accommodation lined up before jetting the 5,000km away from home: "I think most parents would be."

Despite the obstacles, Rose insisted she wasn't put off going on J1 - and doesn't think other students will be either as the programme celebrates its 50th birthday this year.

"Last year, I travelled around South East Asia for seven weeks and just decided I wanted to be away for the whole summer again," she said. "I think it's a great opportunity just to get away for the summer. It'll be cool to live with my friends in a different country.

"As a student, you won't have the chance to do this again."

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