The scene yesterday (above) at 2020 Kettredge Street, Berkeley, California
But the work-visa program that allowed for the exchanges has in recent years become not just a source of aspiration, but also a source of embarrassment for Ireland, marked by a series of high-profile episodes involving drunken partying and the wrecking of apartments in places like San Francisco and Santa Barbara..
The program has been a source of discomfort. James Howard, 24, who went to San Diego in 2011, said it was basically “party central.”
“There were 18 of us sharing a two-bedroom apartment, and the hundreds of Irish students around us were in a similar situation,” Mr. Howard said.
“It was my first time away on my own for any length of time. I’m glad I did it, but once was enough,” he said.
Cahir O’Doherty, the arts and culture editor of The Irish Voice, wrote a column in 2014 expressing distress at “the callous destruction unleashed by these loaded Irish students” of a house rented in the Sunset District of San Francisco.
“If you know the city you’ll know Sunset is one of the more desirable locations in which to buy a home,” he wrote. “So those J-1 students actually caught a big break by being rented to in the first place. Nice payback, guys.”
“They ripped chandeliers from the ceilings, they broke doors and they smashed windows; they even punched holes in the walls,” he wrote. “Then they abandoned the place without a heads-up or a word of apology.”
Classic victim blaming, in fairness.
Previously: ‘All Irish. All Gone’