J-1 experience provided her with the building blocks to her future

Alyssa Franks at her internship with Beacon Pointe Wealth Advisors.


Alyssa Franks is a J-1 who spent her year in Boston interning at Beacon Pointe Wealth Advisors. She came to the states to get a better idea of her career’s direction, and also meet people who could give her guidance on that journey. The J-1 visa guaranteed her both travel and work experience – two things she was interested in. Additionally, she has family in Boston, and stayed with them. 

She didn’t realize until coming to Boston how much history the city holds and its deep connection with Irish roots. To stave off homesickness, she wanted a city that had this link to home, while also allowing her to get closer to her uncle and cousins. 

This total experience shattered her expectations, even though she had feared homesickness and culture shock, today she has absolutely no regrets. 

For her internship, Alyssa worked full-time in the offices at Beacon Pointe Wealth Advisors. On her first day there, she was taken aback by how kind and welcoming people were, and by their willingness to help her. She had this sense of ease after meeting everyone. She said people were happy to answer any questions she had. In conversations at lunches, she was always asked what exactly she wanted to learn, and in client meetings, she was exposed to a world of new things. 

This experience helped to give her with a roadmap toward what she wanted to do with her career. She found that she likes the investment side of finance, with its client engagement professionally and personally, and now knows that she wants to explore a career in investment banking.

As to the social side of J-1 life in Boston, Alyssa learned that Boston wasn’t the daunting city she thought it was. She made many new Irish friends and expanded her knowledge of the history and culture of Boston. She loved doing touristy things and realizing that a lot of the people she surrounded herself with had interests similar to her own – traveling, work, and having a fun time. 

Highlights from her year include: Watching the fireworks on the 4th of July, traveling to Martha’s Vineyard, and seeing her first baseball game at Fenway. Alyssa also found the support from the team at Rian to be very helpful during her year overseas, as they always responded quickly and made her feel supported before her embassy appointment. It was great to know, she said, that if she had any questions at all she had a group of people to ask for answers. 

As to advice she has to give, she says this: Anyone contemplating whether or not to do the J-1 experience should just do it. Even though she didn’t travel to the US with many friends and was afraid of not fitting in, she never had a bad day in the states. She met so many new people, discovered a new sense of independence, moved well out of her comfort zone, and built up her social confidence. By making the effort to open herself up to new experiences, she learned that she was capable of being far more outgoing than she previously thought she was. 

Overall, Alyssa had an amazing time. We wish her all the best and cannot wait to see where her life takes her! 

Connect with us on social media to see more of Alyssa’s pictures from her time in Boston! @rianj_1 on Instagram and Rian J-1 on Facebook.