Leaving for LA tomorrow!

I am finally leaving for Los Angeles tomorrow and am sharing some of my experiences along the way of getting the J1 visa.

After applying for an internship in late April, the day has finally come for me to relocate to California for the next year. The last weeks and months have been a back and forth with the host company and the sponsor, filling out documents and waiting, a lot of waiting.
The waiting part was a little stressful, as my timeline was a little tight. I finished my studies of interior architecture the end of last September and thus was only eligible for the exchange Programm until end of September.

My starting date at the architectural firm Woods + Dangaran is now set for September 19th and I am overly excited about it. However, I am also a little anxious. I spent the last 12 months travelling, surfing and skating through Central and North America, just going with the flow and living in the moment. What will it feel like to have a 9-6 schedule and hold responsibility for more than myself?

I took this break intentionally after completing my degree in interior architecture. The three years of study were fun and fulfilling, but also quite stressful. By taking a break for travelling I was hoping to get some new perspectives, become more independent and develop my personality. Before adding a masters degree to my studies, I am now excited to gain some more practical experience and further develop my taste and skills as an interior designer by completing this internship in Los Angeles.

I am very grateful for the support Architecht-US has provided me with during this process. However, there have also been some challenges along the way. I found the document names and numbers quite confusing, some are very similar, but not the same. Thankfully Sonia was always there to help me and is quick to respond 🙂 There is quite a bit of differing information out there on the internet, for example regarding what documents to bring to the embassy interview. I was worried about missing something and brought more documents than I needed to the interview. So in retrospect, I would say „Just trust Sonia and bring everything that’s shipped to you via FedEx before the appointment.

The interview itself was so quick, I couldn’t believe it. I was so happy to get my visa stamp and immediately booked my flight to LA. I wish I had been more patient, though. The officer at the embassy told me it would take one week for me to get my passport back. As I am writing this blog post, it has been two weeks already and I am waiting for UPS to deliver it today. Fingers crossed, that I can fly to LA tomorrow to start my adventure 😉

Lara Hiller


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