The beginning of my adventure in Chicago – First Blog Post

My name is Miriam and I was born and raised in Germany. Growing up with an English mother I always felt a connection to anglophone countries and their culture. I strongly felt like one day I would like to experience living in another country for a period of time.

After I finished my Master’s degree in Interior Architecture I thought that it was the right time before I settled to live my dream of working abroad for a while. I applied to many jobs in the US but was not successful. Unfortunately, I had to find out how hard it was to receive a job offer from a firm if you are not American and graduated recently. So I started working in Germany and gathered experience on a big Interior Project with international clients which I loved. When this project was finished I thought to myself I will give it one last try and started searching for information on the internet on how to gather work experience in the USA as a European. This was when I stumbled across the “Architect US Career Training Program“.

Sonia Sanchez from the program got in touch with me immediately and this is where the journey began.

I found an Architecture Studio in Chicago on the internet and received a Skype interview with them. I was more successful this time around because I said that I was part of the Architect US Career training Program which would take care of all the paperwork and that they wouldn’t need to sponsor me. I was so happy when I found out that they want to hire me under these conditions and started the Visa process. In total it took about 5 weeks from receiving the job offer to getting the J-1 Visa.

I must admit it was not always easy during the process and there were times when I was afraid that it would not work. But with the help of the program and always knowing what the next steps were made it relatively easy to follow. I felt confident when going to the Embassy interview as I knew that I was well prepared through Architect US and CENET and that nothing could be missing. They made sure that we thought of everything in order for me to receive the J-1 Visa. The interview at the embassy in Berlin went very fast and they asked just two questions about what I was doing in the USA and if I have been to China in the past months. Luckily I haven’t been to China (phew…!) and I got the approval! 😀

Currently, I am waiting for my Visa to arrive with my Passport which should be here on Monday. Friday I will be flying already which is a little tight but my company wanted me as soon as possible.

So excited to start this journey and experience which I have always dreamt of. I think I will learn a lot and get to know myself once I’m out of my comfort zone. I will also experience another social and working culture that is quite different from Germany and will experience things I prefer at home and vice versa.

My goal is to come back home as a stronger and more experienced individual and be more attractive to future employers in Germany or Europe and successfully apply what I have learned.

Let this journey begin and be something I will always thankfully and proudly look back at

Miriam Mouchtar

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