TRAVEL ADVICE FOR STUDENTS
Whether you are going away for a few weeks or for the whole Summer don’t let your trip be affected by illness. For all travellers (regardless of destination) here are some useful tips and recommendations so you can make the best out of your time abroad. If you want more tips or information then look at the Department of Foreign Affairs website. Don’t forget to be safe and have fun! Head along to our Working & Travelling Abroad Fair on Wednesday 28th of January 2015 in Áras na Mac Léinn for more suggestions on how to have a great summer!
BEFORE YOU LEAVE
Before you head off, there are lots of things you need to do.
- Read up on the countries you plan to visit, this gives you a taste of what you are about to experience.
- Get a good rucksack and bring essentials with you. Clothes, sun cream, condoms and sunglasses.
- Make photocopies of your passport, tickets and insurance: keep one set of copies in your luggage separate from the originals and keep a set at home. If you do lose the originals then at least you’ll have those.
Before making an travel plans always check your passport expiry date.Don’t wait until the last minute to apply for your passport. Some countries now insist that your passport be valid for at least 6 months after the start of your visit, so check the expiry date carefully. Make sure you have the correct visa if you are travelling to a country that requires one.
If you are having trouble with your passport then you contact one of the following:
Ph: 01 671 1633
LoCall : 1890 426 888
Fax: 01 671 1092
Northern Ireland LoCall : 0845 8504 321
Ph: 021 494 4700
LoCall: 1890 426 900
Fax: 021 427 5770
Recorded Information Line
24 Hour Recorded Information Line Ph: 00 353 1 679 7600 or LoCall : 1890 426 800
Out of hours emergency telephone number : 00 353 1 478 0822
This year more than any other J-1 students need to be prepared for traveling to the USA. The economic climate is improving but jobs are still difficult to find and accommodation costs continue to be high. Students who take the time to be prepared are far more likely to have a successful and enjoyable summer experience.
BEFORE YOU LEAVE IRELAND
- Bring/have access to sufficient money to cover your expenses. A minimum of $2,500 -$3,500 is recommended depending on where you are traveling to. The cost of living is higher in large cities.
- Have access to backup/emergency funds as it may take longer to find a job this year.
- If you have local contacts in the USA use them to help you to find accommodation and jobs. The job market is tough in most areas so personal contacts are more important than ever.
- Research local conditions, unemployment rates, seasonal job opportunities before you arrive
- Prepare a US style resume (1 page in length) and bring references from Irish employers.
- Make copies all your important documents – DS 2019, passport, J1 visa and your flight tickets. Leave one copy at home and take one copy with you but pack it separately from your originals.
- Contact the Irish Center in the area to get local information.
A list of Irish Centers in the US can be found at https://www.ciic-usa.org/whoweare_findcenter.html
- If possible secure a job before you travel.
- Make a list of emergency contacts for your destination city in case you run into problems.
- Read the materials from your sponsoring agency and/or contact Crosscare Migrant Project in Dublin www.migrantproject.ie to make sure that you are fully prepared before you travel.
- For information on departing and reentering the US with useful tips on documentation and procedures go to
Check out IrishCentral’s tips : Top ten tips for Irish J1 students coming to the U.S. for the summer
WHEN YOU ARRIVE IN THE USA
- Contact your Program Sponsor to activate your SEVIS record as soon as you arrive in the US. You can use a temporary address and update it as necessary when you move.
- Wait for at least two days after you register with SEVIS before you apply for your Social Security Card. It can take 4-6 weeks before you get your card, but will take longer if you have not registered with SEVIS. You will have difficulty securing a job if you do not have a Social Security Card so make sure to get the application in as soon as possible.
- Make contact with any friends, family, organization or Irish Center contacts that you have locally to help you with securing jobs and accommodation.
- Begin looking for accommodation and jobs as soon as you can, it often becomes more difficult to get both as more foreign students arrive.
- Always carry official identification with you in addition to making back-up copies to keep at home
- Be aware that most apartments in the US come unfurnished unless listed otherwise.
- In most areas you will be required to pay first and last month’s rent, and a security deposit up front
- Before you sign any lease make sure that you are dealing with a legitimate Real Estate Agent and that have read and understood the lease. Seek advice from local Irish Centers who have experience with local laws and conditions.
- Local contacts, friends and family to help you secure a job especially in a tight labor market
- Travel to areas that are looking for large numbers of seasonal workers.
- Irish Centers often have job boards and some even organize summer job fairs.
- Bring a US style resume, and dress appropriately when you go for a job interview.
- Follow up with a thank you letter or email to the person who interviewed you.
- Apply for a range of jobs and take the first job that you are offered you can always change later.
- Many employers require routine alcohol and drug screening before hiring.
- If you travel out of the USA bring the appropriate documentation – you will not be re-admitted to the USA without it.
Contact your sponsoring organization for more information
- The US State Department continues to issue travel alerts for those intending to go to Mexico. While many people safely visit Mexico each year it is important to know that violence there has increased significantly. Most of the violence is near the US border, including in Tijuana. Reports of shoot out’s in the streets among Mexican drug cartels are a regular occurrence. It is imperative that travelers understand the risks of travel to Mexico, so please read the latest warnings/alerts from the State Department at:
- Public disorder offences are often penalized more severely in the US so keep party noise levels to acceptable levels.
- Drug offences may result in deportation and a permanent bar from re-entering the United States.
- In most states drinking alcohol in public is an offense that may result in an overnight in jail and a court date. Failure to appear for a court date can result in an arrest warrant and will cause problems for future visits to the United States
Please take the time to prepare for your trip.
Research job and accommodation prospects before you travel and bring/have access to sufficient funds to keep you going until you find a job. Keep the emergency number for your sponsoring agency handy at all times. Be aware of and observe the laws and have enjoyable summer in the USA.
- Irish Consulates in the US: https://www.dfa.ie/home/index.aspx?id=5535
- Irish Centers in the US: https://www.ciic-usa.org/whoweare_findcenter.html
- Crosscare Migrant Project: https://www.migrantproject.ie/
- Irish Embassy Mexico: Emergency Message Phone System: +52 55 5520 5803
- Irish Consulates in Canada: https://www.dfa.ie/home/index.aspx?id=5454
If you take any medication, then make sure you have enough for the whole trip and bring a copy of the prescription.
Take special care over arranging your vaccinations. Give yourself plenty of time to get fully vaccinated. Contact your G.P or call into the Health Unit for more information on what vaccinations you need.
- Vaccinations take time. Consult your doctor or nurse as soon as possible ideally 8 weeks before departure. Late bookings can leave insufficient time for vaccinations to become fully effective.
- Tetanus and diphtheria vaccination is important. For countries where these diseases are still common you should to receive boosters every 10 years and everyone should have completed their normal British childhood schedule.
- There is an increasing risk of tuberculosis for those visiting many of the high-risk areas and mixing with the local population. Remember protection from BCG vaccination is only achieved after about 4-6 weeks. Boosters are not normally required.
- Meningococcal type ACWY vaccine is advised for those visiting risk areas in sub-Saharan Africa who will be mixing closely withthe local population, as might be the case in your situation.
- Hepatitis A and typhoid vaccines are important for those who are not able to be careful about their food and water hygiene in risk areas, asis often the case with the more adventurous traveller.
- Japanese B encephalitis is spread by mosquitoes and is sometimes advised for those spending longer periods in risk, especially rural areas, as is often the case with the more adventurous traveller.
- Influenza vaccine can be considered for those who might get a more severe illness such as those with existing chest problems. Remember the ‘flu’ season in the Southern Hemisphere is from April to November.
- Rabies vaccination can be important if you are going to be more than a day or two from good medical facilities that may well be the case in your situation.
- Yellow fever is a mosquito borne disease and occurs most commonly in jungle areas. It is therefore more likely in travellers going to remote areas. A yellow fever vaccination certificate is necessary for crossing borders in many parts of Africa and South America.
Culture shock can be very real. The term describes the stress that many travellers experience when arriving in countries where pretty much everything can be very different to everything they are used to. Homesickness can be a big problem when spending large chunks of time away from home. Some travellers go abroad to avoid unresolved problems and this can make things worse. Time differences between continents might increase isolation when it’s difficult to contact friends back home.
Food and Drink
Only eat food that has been cooked all the way through or fruits and vegetables that have been washed and peeled. Remember: boil it, cook it, peel it or don’t eat it.Only drink water or other drinks from sources you trust. In some countries tap water (which may also be used for ice) is not recommended for consumption and bottled or boiled water is recommended.