There are only remaining a few weeks for me to finish my trainee program in New York and go back to Spain, as my J1 Visa is about to end. So I’m writing this post as a review for this year and a half that I’ve been living and working in this incredible city. And I can tell it’s been the most exciting experience in my life so far. It’s the time for me to leave New York at least for now. But I think this kind of changes are necessary for our profession nowadays, especially when we are young. We have to explore different experiences, different places and meet different people to increase our knowledge and give back the best we can to the rest of the world, as architects and as human beings.
Professionally speaking, my trainee program in New York has meant a totally new experience where I’ve learned things I could never have learned in an architecture school.
First months of work were hard and it took me several months to get adapted to the demanding rhythm. Working extra hours and some weekends to reach deadlines was tough, but eventually, it wasn’t that dramatic scene with perspective. I’ve learned not to have fear putting my own limits, taking care of myself and being able to communicate if things got difficult. And sometimes it was necessary to work a lot, but it was part of the positive experience. And I can tell that I have been treated in my office as a family member. I have honestly felt like in my own home. Among many others, Theresa M. Genovese AIA LEED AP, Principal at Cetra Ruddy Architecture, has been my mentor since the first day at the office and she has introduced me the basics of what I needed to know as an architect in New York City. After eighteen months you don’t get to deeply know everything in the profession but it is a solid overall experience that I keep in my backpack.
Personally speaking, New York has been a never-ending nurturing city for me.
A lot of everything is everywhere here. I’ve lived in Bushwick, Brooklyn, a former industrial neighborhood that is now a place where you can breathe artistic inspiration in every corner. I’ve been lucky having found amazing roommates during my time here and I’ve had a really fun time during my trainee program in New York. I have met very special and interesting people from everywhere and from different professions. Some of them have become really good friends that I hope will be friends even though the distance. Talking about feelings and friends, sometimes this city can be hard (the well-known roller coaster emotion), but I think you can feel like that anywhere and anytime. The only thing is that in New York your feelings are especially intense for some reason. Maybe it’s because you feel like in a movie all the time. Also, art, culture and music atmosphere in this city are something that I’m really going to miss because I doubt there is another city in the world with the same vibrant activity. Besides New York City I have had the opportunity to visit many other cities in the United States, like Boston, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Miami, San Francisco, Los Angeles, etc. And I still have one more trip left before flying back to Madrid: New Orleans, the city where jazz was born.
Architect-US has helped me spending this unique experience and I only can be thankful, especially to Patricia García, for her patience and for helping me when I needed it. Staying in the United States after my J1 Visa ends is one of my options, but even if this is the country of opportunities, paradoxically getting a work visa or having the freedom to work in any company is not that easy and is also expensive. But anyway, there are always options to find an opportunity. In my case, it’s time for me to change and keep discovering new experiences in other places and I know anywhere I go is going to be a positive experience. I am pretty sure I’ll come back to this city sooner or later!
Thank you for reading my feelings about my trainee program in New York. And remember what Sinatra used to sing: “You always make it there (NYC), you make it anywhere”