Chicago J1 on the verge of failing

Irish students are being warned to act more responsibly on J1 working summer holidays after a well-known advocate of the programme raised concerns about its future following several instances of anti-social behaviour among students in Chicago last year.

Dan O’Donnell, an Irish-American who lives in Chicago, is synonymous in the city for assisting Irish students on J1s during their visits.

However, that assistance could be coming to an end after remarks made by a close personal friend of O’Donnell’s who said: “Questions about the ability to continue offering this privilege to the increasing number of J1 students every year centre around responsibility”

“As an individual, each and every one of you will determine your actions and how you contribute to the perception of the great Irish heritage you individually and collectively represent.”

O’Donnell is asking young Irish college students “as a representative of his own native country” to act more responsibly and to consider their behaviour while in Chicago.

Students are being asked to enjoy themselves in moderation and to respect their accommodation and those living around them. According to O’Donnell, last year Irish students in Chicago “made bad decisions and the entire J1 programme came into question”.

O’Donnell hopes Chicago will not close its doors to Irish students, using San Diego as an example. He urged students not to be “the bad apple” and spoil the summer for many others.

Gill Fitzsimons

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