Kathryn Thomas: The J1 is a rite of passage - My brother (22) is in California right now
Kathryn Thomas has paid tribute to the six Irish students who have tragically lost their lives in Berkeley, California.
The TV presenter also revealed that her younger brother is currently in California on his own J1.
"Travelling in the USA on a J1 visa is a right of passage for so many Irish students," the Carlow native wrote in her column for The Irish Daily Star.
"I know because I did it myself and right now my 22-year-old brother Stephen is doing exactly that," she said.
Stephen is not in Berkeley, but in another area of the Western state.
"In Berkeley, that dream turned into a nightmare for the families and friends of those tragic young people killed and maimed in the balcony collapse."
"There they were, partying at a 21st birthday bash, how could they ever imaging that their lives were in danger," Kathryn questioned.
"It seems too trivial to call it an awful accident...or a cruel twist of fate."
Kathryn, who has a keen passion for travel, said that her own J1 was one of the best experiences of her life.
"You expect to come home with great memories, new ambitions and a bit more knowledge about yourself and the world. You most certainly do not expect to come home in a coffin. May the six victims rest in peace."