This article was published on ArchDaily on January 11, 2017 and we will tell you how to work in the USA.
As a young architect, there are crucial moments and decisions that begin to define your professional career. What type of architecture do I relate to? Who or what inspires me to create and design? Where do I form my architectural references and context? Should I stay or should I look for a professional experience abroad? At this point, most of us have dreamed of living and working in New York, Chicago, San Francisco… but we often have no clue where to start and immigration bureaucracy seems so obscure, expensive and complicated that we easily get discouraged and give up on our American Dream.
“After many tries of looking for a career opportunity in the U.S., I can affirm that the easiest and fastest way to get a job and live your American Dream is through Architect-US”. Esteban Becerril, Trainee at SOM
The most common way Internationals make it to the States is through enrollment in a graduate or post-graduate school. However, not everyone can afford the academic track and thus University doesn’t seem to be a realistic way forward either. In addition to this, the global issues affecting the architectural profession and the proliferation of a new model of networked international practice, lead us to think the industry is in real need of platforms that encourage global dialogues and promote cross-pollination while breaking down the immigration barriers.
“You can’t be a global practitioner without transfusion experiences between different cultures. Architect-US is great because it simplifies the process.” Kenneth Drucker, Design Principal, HOK New York.
Aiming to reduce these hurdles, Architect-US Career Training Program –the First Exchange Program specialized in international Architects and Engineers interested in working in the United States– facilitates the liaison between rising global architectural talents and U.S. based firms, sponsoring the J-1 Visa of participants as part of the U.S. Government’s Exchange J-1 Visitor Program. In 2016, Architect-US placed and sponsored the J-1 Visa of participants from 11 different nationalities -Argentina, France, England, Spain, Brazil, Canada, China…- making the American Dream of over 50 participants come true.
“I remember last year I was kind of lost and desperate to find a good job. And then I heard about Architect-US and I decided to apply for their Job + J-1 Visa Program. They arranged me interviews with several firms and in a few months I was starting at HOK, living my American Dream in the city that never sleeps!” Claudia Conde, Intern at HOK
The goal of Architect-US’s outreach is to change the culture of opportunities, advocating for talent and excellence, while reinforcing the value of personal determination and sacrifice. In other words, Architect-US is conceived as a win-win Program: participants get the opportunity to live a unique professional experience and to gain entry into one of the most competitive markets of the world, by covering their J-1 visa expenses; on the other hand, US firms get access to international talent at zero cost by offering participants waged internships or training. Architect-US Program is a virtually free service to employers -they pay no program, visa or placement fees- while connecting and strengthening ties with young professionals eager to learn from American techniques and methodologies, who hail from Europe, South America, Asia, Canada, and Australia. It frees the hosts from visa costs and paperwork and facilitates a speedy bureaucratic process (4-6 weeks).
“I had tried many times with other visas but when I started the J-1 visa process with Architect-US, I always had their team by my side, reassuring me. Now I can go on with my life in a happy and fulfilling way, knowing that I won’t have to worry about a visa for a long, long time!” Sibilla Morsiani, Trainee at Restoration Hardware.
In this sense the Program provides the J-1 Visa sponsorship to top-notch architecture students and young professionals, aged 18-35, for them to have the opportunity of pursuing an internship or professional training for up to 18 months in the U.S.; accepting only paid positions that will ensure anyone can afford to participate regardless of their economic means. Some of the most prestigious U.S. based companies – such as SOM, OMA, HOK, Grimshaw, IBI Group and FR-EE among others- already trust Architect-US Professional Career Training Program, has brought a variety of cross-cultural benefits to their workplace and standing up for diversity inclusion.
“One interesting focus of the Architect-US Program is that it helps firms find the right people, both students and professionals.” Gustavo Rodríguez, FXFowle Design Principal.
Beyond an educational training service, Architect-US Career Training Program promotes opportunities to provide international young professionals with the chance of having a first approach to the American Building Industry while raising public awareness of the benefits of hosting international talent. In 2016, Architect-US hosted an International Competition for the Design and Construction of the program’s booth at the American Institute of Architects 2016 National Convention, held between May 19-21st in Philadelphia, PA. The competition counted with an international panel of industry leaders including Nuno Ravara (Herzog&de Meuron Associate), Ivan Shunkov (President of Harvard Architectural & Urban Society Alumni), Alex Alaimo (AIA National Associates Committee Director at Large), Salvador Pérez Arroyo (Honorary Professor of the Bartlett School of Architecture UCL), Blanca Lleó (Vice Dean of Madrid Polytechnic School of Architecture External and International Relations) y Patricia Gª Chimeno (Architect-US CEO and U.S. Director of Operations). Out of the 60 entries, three awards were given based on the self-supporting structural solution, material usage optimization, design ingenuity and ease of assembly. The 1st prize was won by Rebecca Lou Zhenyuan -a young talented architect working at Arup Hong Kong at the time- who not only saw her first design built in the most prestigious U.S. Architecture event of the year but also found her dream job at Kieran Timberlake, where she is currently pursuing the Architect-US J-1 Training Program.
“The endorsement of Architect-US means everything in the selection process with the host company, transmitting responsibility and feasibility. Definitely, what makes the difference”. Lorena Galvao, Intern at IBI Group
Internationals, Architects & Engineers, interested in participating in the Architect-US Program should register at their website www.architect-us.com. Furthermore, Architect-US The Blog serves as a forum for the exchange of international architects experiences, ideas and resources, addressing global challenges and bringing those in the architecture community closer together. More information about the outreach is available on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.