Meet the Team

Louise O'Reilly

Louise oreilly profile 881e749f5addea0e254add96618f31162e724bfec0adfaec8f435f7e950e1cb7

In the summer of 2013, after finishing college, I went to Chicago on a J1 and signed up with Hop The Pond. Hop The Pond set me up with a waitressing job at a cool Irish pub which I loved! I also worked at volleyball on the beach, renting jet skis and at the famous ‘Hopper’s Hangout’. After the best summer of my life, I now work as a marketing coordinator for the company, doing promotions at colleges and preparing to return next summer with all the new Hoppers.

Great jobs, parties and trips were obviously amazing parts of my J1, but the best aspect of being with Hop The Pond was the fellow Hoppers that I met. Being a Hopper was like being part of a little community and I can’t wait to come back to Chicago as a coordinator this summer.

Ian Bailey

Ian bailey profile 24c070b6ce91b68d2190f1b69e136de5dbac5090f7a72ffb745d5d5b601628fd

I was born and raised in Dublin and studied science in DCU. I travelled to Chicago in 2011 and in 2013 both on J1 Visas. The first year I struggled to find employment and had to leave early, however in 2013 I signed up with Hop The Pond and had the best summer I could have ever imagined. Hop The Pond allowed me to see what Chicago and America really had to offer. For example because of Hop the Pond I was able to travel across the country, spending two great weeks in LA and finishing my travels off by blowing any money I had left in Las Vegas. So why Chicago?

Well I was looking for a place that had the best of both the East and West coast of America. Chicago is unique in that aspect. One minute you can be shopping on the magnificent mile, the next you can be lying on the beach looking at the amazing views Chicago has to offer. I also love sports and Chicago will not let you down here. From American football to basketball, hockey, baseball and football, Chicago has it all. If you’re looking for the best summer of your life, choose Chicago and Hop the Pond. I promise it won’t let you down.

Kevin Harford

Kevin harford profile 802cee2d2a4af3c516645e508f0b9d6bb85c303f127cba71219420c2a596d791

I’m from Santry, in North Dublin, and I’m in the final year of my Business Studies degree in Dublin City University. In 2013, I travelled to the magnificent Chicago for a J1. Prior to my trip, I decided to sign up with Hop The Pond for a guaranteed job. Little did I know, Hop The Pond would be the central pillar in the most amazing summer of my life! Throughout my three months in what I still maintain is the best city in the world, I met some of the best people ever, saw some of the best places ever, and did some of the most amazing things. I’m a sports-lover, and through Hop the Pond, I was afforded the chance to play in a Chicago soccer league, meeting new friends and having a great time.

I’m also a huge fan of a few drinks and a good dance (not that I’m any good at it!). The Hoppers Hangout was the absolute place to be on a Sunday night in Chicago! I really can’t stress enough how unbelievable my summer in Chicago was, and I’m really happy I’ve been given the chance to help others discover the diamond that is Chicago. Please get in touch if you’ve got ANY questions or are wondering anything at all about Hop the Pond. Look forward to hearing from you.

Chris Farrell

Chris farrell profile 9bfd5c0e46430f244506662fdd542dfbbff2bd334efc9100c34e6de0d0532edf

What's up?! I’m from Dublin and in May 2013 I completed a four year degree in D.I.T where I studied Bsc Culinary Entrepreneurship. I’m very lucky to have had the opportunity to work in some unbelievable establishments such as Raymond Blanc's two Michelin star restaurants in London. Currently I am working as a marketing coordinator for Hop The Pond. I will be making the big move to Chicago for one year in 2014 on a graduate visa, where I will be working for Hop The Pond.

During my college years I was lucky enough to go on two J1's in Chicago. My first J1 experience was back in 2011, and it didn’t turn out as I had hoped. I tirelessly searched for a job before my trip, and after landing in Chicago with nothing, I spent weeks looking for a job and making phone calls looking for accommodation. It was a very stressful experience because I didn't have a job or accommodation organized before I went over. However, last summer was a totally different situation. I was made aware of Hop The Pond by a friend, and when I found out it offered guaranteed jobs I signed up straight away. It made my life so much easier, and Hop The Pond even managed to get me the best summer job, working for Chicago Sports and Social Club refereeing soccer and working on beach volleyball. If you are thinking of going on a J1, think no further than Chicago as it has everything...believe me!

Mick O'Dwyer

Mick odwyer profile 581c4f301f55a72ff430f48fb743449c1f57bab16382458ee161013a843eca29

I’m 22 years old and I’m from Dublin, Ireland. I studied Marketing in Dublin City University and just graduated in May 2013. College life gives you the perfect opportunity to travel and I certainly didn’t waste it. In my four years I was lucky enough to enjoy two J1’s; San Francisco in 2009 and Chicago in 2013. I also managed to squeeze in visits to Las Vegas, New York, Boston, Barcelona, Valencia, Majorca, Budapest, Edinburgh, Cyprus, Manchester and London. I genuinely believe that spending on travel is one of the only things in the world that actually makes you richer.

Last year I was just like you, travelling to Chicago and deciding how to go about my organizing my J1. I chose Hop The Pond because it took away the stress and uncertainty, allowing me to focus on final year exams and assignments.

This year I’m excited to be back as part of the team. It’s a great service that I’m delighted to put my name to. Having experienced two J1’s, once with and once without Hop The Pond, I can really understand the difference that this service makes. The peace of mind that comes with job security as soon as you land is a great way to stop your parents worrying about (annoying) you!

Marty Reiter

Marty reiter profile ec18a5960a6793fe12b4f122c75aeb90a85cf0d7678b8d2fd1beb1a351fc363f

I am from the Chicagoland area and in 2011 decided to leave my job to pursue my lifelong dream... To travel the world. I ended up purchasing a ticket, traveled for 9 months, toured 20 counties and met loads of wonderful people. I experienced the highs and lows of traveling: from being in a foreign country not knowing anyone, what to do, where to go or even to get from the airport to hostel. Typically, when I would meet someone and mention that I was from Chicago they would know Al Capone/Michael Jordan but couldn’t find the city on a map. With those experiences fresh in my mind, I want to show off Chicago as the amazing city that it is as well as give “Hoppers” the peace of mind, knowing that they are taken care of.

Mark Reiter

Mark reiter profile 4db123d7e9944ca8a438a4073a0e3ee0baf38ba7e2a8944b1cf29df04a3eabf5

I was born and raised in Chicagoland area and studied nearby as well. I had long desired to travel the world and experience different cultures. In 2008, I traveled through Australia and New Zealand for 5 months. Throughout my travels, I struggled to find employment and the logistics of each new city presented their own challenges for me. I had always felt that if I had known of a company or even a person that knew all of the current social events, I would have felt more fulfilled. This drove part of the inception for the company and now I am extremely excited for you to “HopthePond” and experience all that Chicago has to offer.

Kevin Egan

Kevin egan profile 5e5feff43c0345542d6b98a1a122103d5d85d93d622e732d153d51026f8bf053

Hey guys! I was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland and went to college there as well. I studied Journalism and Communications and went on to work for RTE Sport for 5 years. Currently I’m the TV commentator / presenter for the Chicago Fire, Chicago’s professional soccer team in MLS, as well as working with a FOX Sports company called BTN.

So why start Hop The Pond? Put simply, there’s a need for what we do. You shouldn’t have to visit a city and have to spend 3 or 4 weeks searching for a job, or aimlessly looking for accommodation, events and nights out with your age group. I’ve seen it as a J1 student and as a resident over the past few years, and I’m delighted that our company is making the Chicago experience a better one. I’m genuinely so excited for those of you that sign up to be Hoppers, because I know what’s in store for you!