Working in the USA sounds for most of us non-Americans almost impossible. I decided to try anyway and started searching for possibilities. I found out that the best or easiest way to gather some working experience in the USA is the Exchange Visitor Program or J1 visa. It gives students and young professionals a chance to experience the American culture for a period of three to eighteen months. The only catch is that you of course need to find an employer and need the help of a so-called sponsor organization. These organizations are licensed by the US Government to issue the documents that you need for your visa application – the form DS-2019.
I found my internship on my own, but I must say that it is a strenuous process. Be prepared for an application process that could last for several months. Some of the offices might answer in few days, some of them take several weeks or months. Since this process was taking more time than I was expecting and the deadline when I was planning to start my internship was approaching I started to look for some help.
Among all the big organizations I finally found the one that I liked. Architect-US is a small organization offering Career Training Program especially for architects. I contacted them to get their opinion about my search for an internship. Even though I hadn’t yet applied for their program I got an immediate answer with a lot of very helpful tips and advises.
When I finally got an internship in the office I was interested in, I turned to Architect-US to start with the application process. Since the architecture firm where I am doing my internship is small a site visit was required. Architect-US took over the whole communication with the host company and organization. Everything went smoothly and within a month I had everything I needed for my visa application.
If you are searching for an internship in architecture, I would definitely recommend you to go for Architect-US. The director Patricia is an architect herself, with working experience in the USA. The Architect-US has build up a network of renowned architecture firms and can help you to find your desired internship easier. The fact that they are still small is positive, because they will be able to dedicate you and your host more time. Architect-US was always more than helpful, quick responding on all my questions, providing all the information and helped me to obtain my visa and start my internship in the US.
I hope I helped at least a bit to encourage you. Just go for it! 🙂