JOE talks to Irish student Anthony Williams about his 'J1 Summer' app
It's a great idea...
As Irish as GAA, Fr Ted and an unhealthy interest in the weather, heading off on a J1 Visa to the US is a rite of passage for thousands of students every year. From San Fran to Boston, bars, restaurants and water parks across the US are staffed by students from Ireland, who spend three months living in a foreign city, having the craic and maybe, just maybe, saving up a few dollars for the upcoming academic year.
But getting your hands on the precious J1 is a difficult process and what to do and where to go when you land is an even bigger task. Anthony Williams, who is currently doing a Masters in Electronic Commerce in DCU, was asked to create an app for a college project. While a lot of his classmates put together apps on their favourite football teams, or the upcoming World Cup, Andrew drew on his experience in the US last summer for inspiration and made a J1 app, called 'J1 Summer'.
“From finding a provider that suits you best, be it USIT, SAYIT and Go 4 Less, to what sorts of jobs are available when you arrive, there was just of stuff I didn’t know until I had gone through the whole process.” The app aims to make all that a little less daunting.
Anthony spent last summer in Boston, while his girlfriend was in San Francisco and he cites the situation in the Californian city last summer as a perfect example of what he is talking about.
“Last year, the America’s Cup was on in San Francisco and they ended up employing most of the Irish over there on J1s, but nobody knew it was on until we were over there,” Anthony tells us. “You learn so much once you get there so the idea is to get that information before you arrive.”
The app is being added to all the time but building that up, and keeping it updated, is a very big task, and with college getting in the way, Anthony admits it could be a “full-time job”. Originally just designed to meet his project criteria, Andrew would ideally like to make much more of it when he finishes college this summer. Others did the same in his course last year, so the plan is to try and follow suit.
The app was created on Windows using their app builder and as it was for a college project with a deadline, there is lots more stuff to add to it. Andrew also hopes to be able to get an Apple and Android version built down the line, when he gets the time.
With over 10,000 students taking up J1s in 2012, the market is there so if and when Andrew gets the freedom, and maybe a few quid, to upscale his app, it could be a very nice little earner indeed.
In the meantime, if you have a Windows phone, and are thinking of heading off to the US this summer, you really should give it a look right here.