My name is Alexandru and I will soon start an internship at a startup in the US thanks to the help provided by Architect-US!
To tell you a little bit about me, I’m 23 years old, I was born in Romania, I’ve been living in Spain for 15 years now, and I’ve been in love with computers for as long as I can remember.
As someone studying and working in the field of Computer Science, I’ve always heard about how San Francisco is the epicenter of all innovation, progress and novelty. The city is home to uncountable startups, as well as enormous companies that once were small startups too. Billions of dollars are in constant movement between creators armed with dreams of changing the world and investors with the will to make those dreams a reality.
And of course, I always dreamt of being a part of those dreams myself! As a creative, hands-on and extremely curious person, getting to live in San Francisco while undergoing training at a local startup is an incredible opportunity, not only professionally, but also culturally.
I just recently graduated university, so as soon as I heard about the existence of exchange programs, I immediately started contacting all sorts of tech companies that had offices in San Francisco. This wasn’t a particularly short process (it took me around 3 months to find a company willing to participate in the program), but it was successful in the end. During my search, and while I was already in touch with several companies, I stumbled upon Architect-US while researching J1 visa requirements and documentation. Since many companies wouldn’t accept having a J1 intern because of all the paperwork they had to do around it, using Architect-US’ services for the process seemed like a perfect solution, so I started to introduce the idea to the companies I was interviewing with. And it worked!
I found a company that was not only willing to pay for the whole visa process, but was also willing to cover the additional fees for expediting. Since my personal situation was a bit complicated at the moment, this was extremely helpful. As soon as the process started, both parts involved began submitting all the paperwork required by Architect-US. That made for a couple of fairly stressful weeks, but responding to all requests with promptness is definitely recommendable, in order to make the process as quick as possible.
All the myth built around San Francisco’s culture comes at a price: the area is in the middle of a housing crisis, and the cost of living has been rocketed through the sky. For this reason, it was necessary to ensure that the host company would offer a reasonable stipend that would allow to front living costs. As a company coexisting daily in that environment, they were very understanding with this.
Once all paperwork was submitted, the company had to undergo a site visit to be approved for hosting J1 interns. This was an unexpected detour that added another week to the process, but it depended purely on the company’s conditions (number of employees, income, etc).
After this, it was time to schedule my appointment at the Embassy of the US in Madrid. I live in Barcelona, so I had to fly there for an urgency appointment, since the first available date was posterior to the starting date of my internship.
The duration of the interview was around one minute, and the main question I was asked is “so you’re doing an internship; what does that mean?” so make sure to know all the implications of this program before the interview! After answering, I was told that my visa got approved and that I would get my passport back in a few days.
I am now ready to start my internship in the US, and I am more excited than I’ve ever been! Follow along in the next months if you’d like to hear more about my adventure in San Francisco 🙂