To weigh in on the Visa question, the J-1 Visa gives you 3 months in the states, plus a one month grace period. Basically, during this grace period you cant leave the states, if you want to come back in. For example, during your 3 months, you can hop the border to Canada and Mexico, and get back in fine, but during the grace period, you wont be allowed back in. So that would suck.
"It's the kid inside of us that keeps us all from going crazy..."