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Photo by Paula Hernández

[REPLAY] The Sky is your limit – From KPF in London to Handel in NYC!

Since Paula Hernandez was 7 years old she has dreamt of being an architect. One that could design their own world, and spend their whole life on a project that is meaningful and makes a positive impact. Hernandez was able to visit Barcelona with her family, and take in the immense scale and beauty of La Sagrada Familia.

Two weeks ago, Paula Hernandez and our CEO Patricia Garcia met for our first installment of the newly revamped Interview Series. They went over her life story and how her career has progressed, and what she has been able to achieve and learn in such a short time.

Paula Hernandez has wanted to be an architect since she first saw La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona when she was 7 years old! At such a young age, Paula was already planning her way to New York City and London. Her father had lived and experienced the American Dream in Boston at a young age as well, and his stories animated her to replicate her father’s footsteps.

Now Paula has had the chance to work with some of the greats at Handel Architects in NYC and KPF in London! She more recently won an H1B lottery spot, and will be extending her career in the USA

The aim of this series is to provide our community with the opportunity to learn and connect with JOB+J1 Visa Program participants that have fought for their dreams and succeeded! 👍 Although Hernandez joined Architect-US more recently, she has a very interesting story to tell.

When she was just out of university, Hernandez could not keep still. She started applying to job opportunities all over the world, but more specifically in New York City and London. She viewed her strong English skills as an asset that could be valuable for for international firms based in USA and UK. After a couple of months she got the chance to interview with Handel Architects and got the job!! She mentioned that they valued her experience Interning at a firm in Amsterdam during her Master’s at ETSAM.

She also mentioned having a cool personality and investing in your hobbies and inspirations as important. For example, she loves Japanese culture, and mentioned SANAA and Kazuyo Sejima as a major inspiration!

Her advice for young professionals just starting off in the industry is to not lose faith in bad times! Always take the opportunity to try new things and go beyond your limits! Keep studying and improving yourself! Think of new ways to help firms adapt to post-covid reality. Hernandez highlights the value of programs such as ERASMUS and any other organization that gives young professionals the chance to gain new valuable skills.

Hernandez was proactive and applied for the H1B before leaving back home. They approved her H1B, and so she was able to get ahead of the curve. She also got a second job via her network! By having strong references and people knew she had a strong work ethic so they offered her a job in London. The reference letter was a key animating factor for KPF to hire her! So make sure your professional network is strong and ever growing.

Learn more about her recommendations for those wanting to work abroad, her perspective on the future of the Architecture industry, and her tips and tricks for getting new opportunities!!

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