The Next Adventure

Hello everyone, this is my first post on Architect-US as I get ready for my big move to the US. Last year in February I set off from London on a much anticipated, long term backpacking trip taking in the US, Central America and South America. I spent 3 months in the US travelling in a self-converted van before flying to Mexico City and continuing overland all the way to Ushuaia, Argentina.

With the trip coming to an end in December 2022, I needed to plan my next moves and work out where to begin 2023. It has always been a personal goal of mine to gain experience living and working in America. Despite never visiting, New York is the place that I idealised the most and my heart was set on getting work there. In late September I began the process of applying for suitable jobs advertised in New York City.

As my start date was still some months away, I didn’t begin the process with much hope. However, after applying for around 10 open positions, I was offered two interviews in quick succession. Living out of my backpack and moving between remote locations every 2-3 days made organising and conducting an interview a slightly more difficult process, especially with inconsistent and sometimes non-existent Wi-Fi in many locations.

Luckily I was arriving into La Paz, Bolivia later in the week and was able to arrange my first interview to coincide with a stay in an upscale hostel with a designated co-working space. Following La Paz I spent 3 days in the Uyuni salt flats and Atacama desert.  This meant my next interview needed to wait until I crossed the border into Chile.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to access the same level of amenities in San Pedro, Chile. With no Wi-Fi in the hostel and unable to find a café, bar or restaurant that offered Wi-Fi, I was unsure if I would even be able to do the interview at all. But on the morning of the interview I was lucky enough to find a fancy hotel that allowed me to have the interview in their closed restaurant.

Both interviews were brief but positive and I was left feeling hopeful about my prospects. In the coming days I was offered both positions and left with a difficult dilemma. Despite being offered less compensation, I chose the company that I felt the work would be most fulfilling and aligned with my career goals. In the end I feel that I have more to gain from my experience than just money. As long as I still have enough to enjoy myself!

Two and a half months later and back in the UK, I am ready to begin a new adventure in New York City. Once I had my job offer, Architect-US helped me through the visa application process. Despite still travelling in South America, they made everything simple and were always on hand to answer questions. I was required to return home and carry out my in person interview at the US embassy in London. Having not seen them for nearly a year, I used the opportunity to surprise my family at home for the Christmas holidays.

I am now due to travel to the US next week and currently hunting for living arrangements in Brooklyn. I am excited to explore a new city, meet new people and begin a new role at an exciting company. But with my passport ready to be picked up in London, the whole thing won’t feel real until I have the visa in my hands.

James Coe

I am an RIBA accredited Architect with five years’ post-graduate experience working on projects in a range of sectors and budgets. My most recent experience involved working on small-scale, high-end residential projects in London, England. I have a real passion for architecture with a social and environmental conscience and I am particularly interested in public engagement in architecture and its role in the design process.

Along with architecture, my biggest passion is to travel and quite often these two things can go hand in hand. I recently completed a long term overland trip from Mexico City to Patagonia. Further travels have included 3 months in the USA travelling in a self-converted van. Following graduation I was able to spend 12 months overseas; working in Australia for 8 months and travelling in Asia, New Zealand and Australia. I have also had the opportunity to work and travel in the Borneo rainforest in Malaysia and travel across Europe during university summers. I am an avid sports fan, following most sports and trying my hand at a few, including soccer, tennis, badminton and squash.


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