Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Fighting (and Partying) Irish

A few weeks after moving into my IV apartment, I noticed a group Irish students. Not your typical my-ancestors-came-during-the-potato-famine Irish-American students; no, these are your fresh-off-the-plane-with-my- J1-student-visa Irish students. But they fit right into the IV scene-- partying hard, if not harder than the notorious SB students.

Apparently almost all Irish students obtain J1 visas, which allow college students to get temporary Social Security numbers and visitor visas to live and work in the US for four months, many choosing sunny SB.

And in typical American tradition, we blame the immigrants for bringing in problems. This article included testimonials: "One friend blamed missing iPods on the random Irish people who showed up to a house party. Another friend claimed he knew someone who was raped by an Irish person last summer, and yet another friend scoffs every time her Irish neighbors walk by. . . . In 2005, a group of Irish students completely destroyed an apartment and left behind thousands of dollars worth of damage costs." My own personal story: the Irish thew my roommate's phone into the pool.

But it's not just the Americans who are concerned. Today I came home and found a letter from the Consulate of Ireland. It was notice to all the Irish students living in my building to shape up. Over 65 Irish students had been arrested or cited, which garners negative press attention in the US and in Ireland. It advised students to follow up on citations or there will be warrants for arrest, which will hinder any abilities to come back to the US in the future.

I guess the land of freedom has a different meaning for these students. Who can blame them though (for the partying at least, not the actual crime); IV does not exactly have the reputation nof being a quiet and studious college town, what makes people think that people who chose to cross the pond to live here would be any different. As much as some SB kids scoff at the Irish- I am sure they are not that much different than how many SB kids were when they left home for the first time, or even still are.

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