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my first days as j1 Visa
Cynthia del Rio

From culture shock to acceptance and everything in between…my first days as J1 Visa

20 hours of traveling, 8008 miles away from home, and I was finally in the States, that’s how my first days as j1 visa starts. I remember walking out of the airport with more luggage than I could handle, waiting for my host to show up. After a few minutes of waiting, I saw a lady in a car holding a placard with my name on it. She got out of the car with the warmest smile on her face and a sense of security gushed through me. All you need is a positive attitude and a warm smile to feel at home in a foreign land. And that’s how my 100 days of adventure began.

My first day at work more exciting than I could fathom. My boss and my colleagues gave me a warm welcome and took me out for a lunch, later that afternoon. I feel being surrounded by these buoyant people helped me a great deal to cope up emotionally.

Theoretically, you could be prepared with everything you need to know about culture shock and coping up with it but practically, it is altogether a different feeling. It does get a bit overwhelming at times knowing that you’re all by yourself in a foreign land without any emotional support. I was lucky to have my sponsor, Architect-US and all these people support me through it. After a while, a feeling of comfort and familiarity sinks in and one day you just feel that you’ve been this place since forever. That’s when you know, you have accepted and imbibed the new culture.

From roaming about in the city as a tourist to sitting down at the dinner table and holding hands to pray, I did it all. Being in Orange County, I have been exposed to diversity at its best, both culturally and architecturally. The architecture is as warm and as inviting as the people. San Juan Capistrano boasts of its heterogeneous mix of architecture and ethnicities. Amidst the beautiful Spanish Missions, adobe construction and post-modern buildings lie the charm of this city. I strongly recommend a visit to this city to anyone who needs a break from the hustle and bustle and into the peace.

To sum it up, my first days as j1 Visa and my first month has been a roller-coaster ride of emotions and experiences but I wouldn’t trade this for anything else in the world. You know it’s worthwhile when you’re sitting by the beach, watching the sunset and feeling nothing but gratitude.

Gunjan Sharma

Intern at D33 Design and Planning IncSan Juan Capistrano

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