Queen’s graduate Owen Smith is working at Moët Hennessy in NYC for one year as part of the US-NI Mentorship Programme.
If you’ve got a bad case of wanderlust, you might be thinking about a gap year or studying at a university further afield instead of Queen’s. But did you know that Queen’s offers a host of opportunities to travel both during and after your degree. Our global opportunities include internships and study abroad programmes in Europe, Australia, Canada, China, India, New Zealand and the USA.
Case in point: The US-NI Mentorship Programme, which offers recent graduates from Northern Ireland the chance to work with leading corporations in the USA for a one-year placement.
All you need to apply for the programme is a 2:1 Honours in a relevant subject (Business, Finance, Mathematics, Science, Information Systems/ Computer Science etc).
It’s a life-changing experience not just for the skills and experience you’ll come home with, but for the opportunity to live and work in another culture. Take Owen Smith, who graduated from Queen’s in 2017 with a Masters in Marketing. Thanks to the programme, he’s now living in the Big Apple and working for the Dom Pérignon brand team at Moët Hennessy USA in Manhattan. Beats hostel-hopping and waiting tables in Cape Cod on a gap year, huh?
Here, Own tells us what he loves most about his new NYC home.
1.There is an endless supply of things to do in the city
Photo @ Nicolai Berntsen/Unsplash
I mean, even researching the best things to do in New York is an overwhelming experience in itself. It has some of the best museums, bars, restaurants and nightclubs in the world. Take the High Line, for example. It’s an oasis of calm nestled right above a busy, swarming, frenetic avenue (that I work on). Then there’s Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Central Park that covers 843 acres! MoMa, the Nitehawk Cinema, Prospect Park, the American Museum of Natural History, Chelsea Market, Dough Doughnuts! I mean – just starting to contemplate everything that’s out there is a little dizzying so let’s move on.
Photo @ Zac Ong/Unsplash
The NYC nightlife is incredible. Whether it’s fresh cocktails at Rooftop 93, a short-lived stint with the wannabes at Tao or live music at the Bowery Ballroom – there is something for everyone. New York is definitely a nightlife capital, much like Paris and Berlin which come alive at night. The East Village and Williamsburg have serious cocktails and cool craft beers, but the best bar is undisputedly The Dead Rabbit, nestled in FiDi. In a red brick landmark, Belfast bar royalty Jack McGarry and Sean Muldoon have created a wonderfully rough-and-ready 19th century tavern. LOVE.
3.The city pace
Photo @ Eepeng Cheong/Unsplash
Sarah Jessica Parker, Ethan Hawke and Matthew Broderick not only live in the city, they also go about their daily lives in public here. New Yorkers don’t have time to fawn over celebrities, or indeed anything or anyone, because they’re always in such a mad rush. Everyone in the city is working and moving at a breathless speed, so it’s move it or lose it! I find it amusing to stop randomly in the middle of the sidewalk occasionally just to incur the wrath of everyone around me.
4.The food and drink
Photo @Jay Wennington/Unsplash
For those of you who follow my blog (whatowendid), you’ll know that I’m in food and drinks heaven right now. I’m trying lots of things I can’t pronounce, and am taking full advantage of discounts, apps and other food and drinks-related deals. I see people in my office eating the same thing for lunch every day – this baffles me. It’s a given that you have to explore all of New York’s neighbourhoods if you want to taste the full cross-section of what’s on offer. But don’t be fooled into thinking that the best pizza is in Little Italy. It’s not! (In my opinion it’s in Oregano Restaurant in Williamsburg).
Photo @ Matt Nelson/Unsplash
New York is a dog city; there’s no doubt about it. Poodles and Yorkies seem to be the dominant breeds here, and I’ve heard some ridiculous names so far (Bentley and Valentino – so West Village!!) I’ve also seen plenty of pugs, French bulldogs and Labradoodles. I mean – I’m not sure how I feel about large dogs living in apartments. I think it’s quite sad, but that’s surely because I grew up in Ireland where most dogs have lots and lots of space to do dog things. I suppose if they’re being walked at least twice a day, it’s not so sinful to keep them cooped up in apartments. That said, this city has done nothing but confirm that I need a dog imminently to fill a huge void in my life – namely a French bulldog named Hugo who has existed thus far solely in my imagination.
There’s no denying that I’m currently living in one of the greatest cities in the entire world. My advice? Go there. Live it. Try it. You only get one shot!
Read more about Owen’s NYC experience
Banner image Zach Miles/Unsplash