While COVID-19 may have affected many things this year, our participants on the J-1 Internship Program have learned how to make the most of their time in the USA. We recently reached out to Kavya G., a J-1 Intern from India who has been in the USA since 2019. Due to the pandemic, Kavya had to transition to a new Host Company in 2020 and is currently receiving culinary training in West Virginia.
According to her supervisor,
“She is always motivated and positive.
She is a hell of a good cook.
She helps out anyone, without even asking.
She generally cares about people.
A true Rockstar in our kitchen.”
Kavya shared her experience living in the U.S. during the pandemic and explained what it’s been like at her Host Company over the past year. She also talked about her transition from Milwaukee to West Virginia and what it’s like to live in a rural area. Following are some highlights from our interview:
Describe your experience of living in the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It has been really fun! Earlier in the program I was not talking to anyone as much, but I found myself talking and interacting with everyone during the pandemic, since we had so much time to get to know each other’s culture, food, etc. We would go hiking together and a lot of other things.
What was the adjustment to your new Host Company like?
I would say it was a blessing for me from Spirit. It was the best opportunity given to me.
I’m in love with West Virginia, and the people here are really friendly and polite. They always care for you, and it’s really good.
Do you feel supported by your Host Company? What safety measures did your Host Company take for resort staff and guests?
They support me in learning. It just depends on your interest. If you just show some interest, they will definitely help you in growing. I was an intern, but I still got an opportunity to cook for the 49ers football team for one week. My executive chef gave me this opportunity, and I fell in love with my work all over again.
For the guests, they have to check their temperature before they enter into the hotel. And for staff, they check your temperature before you enter the hotel, they provide you with a good mask every day, and they ensure you’re sanitizing your hands for thirty to forty times a day. Our executive chef is very particular about sanitizing your stations, sanitizing your things, and ensuring the quality of work in the restaurant.
What is your favorite thing to cook?
Hainanese chicken! One of my chefs was having a practice show for it, and he taught us how to do it. I really love it, and the food just tastes amazing.
What new skills have you learned during your training?
I would say time management, knife skills, character building, how to concentrate on things when you get more orders, how to communicate, and definitely leadership skills.
Tell us about your placement in Milwaukee: Did you enjoy the placement? Living in Milwaukee?
I really enjoyed it, since it was my first time in the U.S. The people there were really good, and they taught me many things at work.
I also love snow, and it was snowing when I arrived. It was a surprise for me!
Tell us about your placement in West Virginia: Are you enjoying your placement?
This is a totally different experience from Milwaukee. Milwaukee is a big city, and this is a rural area. But I would definitely say it is a good experience for me to explore.
What kinds of cultural activities have you been able to participate in around West Virginia?
We have been to the aquarium in Virginia, we went to Virginia Beach, and we went hiking at places like Grandview. We have had meals with our friends and have made plans with our colleagues to do more stuff like this.
How do you like living in a rural area?
It was difficult for me since you just have one bus, so you end up wasting your whole day just to buy groceries. Then later on, we found it was fun to walk with our friends. We can talk about what happened in the week. I love it!
Do you feel Spirit supported you through the COVID-19 pandemic? What type of support did you receive?
Spirit supported us a lot! They always motivated us in a good way saying to take safety measures, stay calm, take care of your health, and that their first priority is our safety. And they always send emails to make sure you are safe. That was a great help for us.
Why would you recommend Spirit as a sponsor?
I would recommend Spirit because of my own experience that I got through my internship and the safety measures you have given us. I appreciate the motivation and the way you ask for our skills in the Monthly Check-In.