By Pablo Ambrossi, CIEE Internship USA 2017 alum
My name is Pablo Ambrossi and I was born and raised in Madrid, Spain. I am a 22-year-old student set to graduate in 2019 at the School of Architecture in Madrid, the ETSAM. Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to continue my father´s legacy and become an architect. When I graduate, I plan to obtain some international experience working abroad before eventually returning to Madrid to work alongside my father.
I wanted to share with you my personal and fortunate experience after getting my J-1 visa stamped at the American embassy in Madrid and fulfilling my longtime dream of going to the United States. Even though it was only for a couple of months, living in the U.S. has taught me how rich and diverse this world is. This has helped me become more open-minded and accepting of other ways of life.
Architecture has always caught my attention because it not only covers basic needs with innovative solutions, but also improves and reflects the quality of life in all societies. This has woken up my interest to visit different countries and enrich my knowledge culturally and professionally. Because I see the U.S. as a cultural and economic leader in this global world, I applied for a two-month internship with Revuelta Architecture International Studio in Miami, Florida. During the internship, I obtained invaluable practical experience in American methods and strategies of architectural design and administration, as well as a familiarity with the American business mentality. During my stay, I encountered another way of managing architecture firms based on a rigorous work-ethic, a flexible work schedule, and continuous employee development. This helped me understand how theoretical ideas are applied to practical situations and how to apply these notions pragmatically to my future career.
I worked in a multicultural environment, as there were people from more than ten countries in the office. There everyone could contribute equally to the development of the different projects in a very open-minded atmosphere. This exchange promoted different ways of thinking, as anyone who wanted to contribute was encouraged to do so and their ideas were always welcome.
In addition to my professional focus, I also took part in daily American culture and lifestyle. I took time to meet locals and visitors who wanted to have fun and enjoy the authentic day and night Miami´s flow. I went to Tampa and Orlando, visited museums, churches, and many other significant pieces of architecture. I also visited the Everglades, Key Biscayne, Miami Beach, among other notable Florida destinations.
I firmly believe that this visa program is an incredible opportunity to international students as well as for U.S. citizens. I believe travelling abroad is a very effective way of gaining cultural enrichment. One of the advantages of this Internship program is that Americans benefit from getting to meet students from different cultures combining it with their daily routine. This gives American citizens a chance to build bridges to link themselves to professional and cultural worldwide interactions in the future.
A few months after I returned home I had the fortune of being selected to participate in the CIEE Alumni event in Madrid. An event organized by CIEE for young people like me who had lived and worked in the USA on an J-1 visa exchange program, so they could share their experiences with each other and representatives of the US Department of State.
When the day came, I prepared a speech and suited up, but when I arrived I realized the event wasn’t what I expected. It was an informal meeting in which we talked face to face with everyone, in a very close and friendly environment. However, they asked me to give my speech and so I did.
Thanks to this event I met great people with whom I share many ideas and dreams. I also had the opportunity to talk with very important personalities that, without any doubt, could be of great help in my professional future.
This exchange program was an incredible and priceless experience that has opened many doors for me. I returned home with an improved English speaking ability and a more open mindset. This has allowed me to grow personally as well as professionally. I hope it will continue helping students all over the world to achieve all their goals, culturally and professionally.