Spirit is excited to offer culinary training opportunities on the beach in Marco Island, Florida! Angel from India has been training at the JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort and recently shared what it is like living in Florida as a BridgeUSA (J-1 visa) Culinary Intern. Visit https://www.spiritexchange.com/travel/intern-and-train-in-the-us/ to learn more or APPLY NOW to train at this Host Company or at one of our other 4 – 5 star hotel partners in the USA!
Why did you decide to join Spirit’s BridgeUSA Culinary Internship Program in the United States?
Because I wanted to know how things work in the U.S. I have worked in India, and I wanted to gain more experience and exposure to the culinary field so I thought the U.S. would be a good place to do a J-1 program.
Tell us about your early experiences as a Culinary Intern in the USA.
In the beginning, I was scared because I was new to the place and I was worried if I will get friends but then everyone was so sweet, especially my housemates. Everyone is from different places, so it was good. Especially my Host Company, there are very helpful. Any problem, like getting a SIM card or a bank account my Host Company is always there to help me do anything. They are always there to help us, so I think it was easy for me to settle in because all of them are so helpful and so sweet to me.
I was surprised about how welcoming people were because I was scared like “Oh my god will they talk to me, will they like me,” but everyone was so welcoming. They were like “Oh hi! How are you?” I didn’t feel out of place, and they made me feel like I was one of them. It was a little different compared to India because the work culture here is different. I thought it was going to be very difficult but no, it was very easy to settle in. I’ve been here like four and a half to five months.
We have these live stations and it’s cool. Like once I had to work with liquid nitrogen and it was amazing. We call it Dragon’s Breath because we freeze popcorn with liquid nitrogen with a mousse dome for the dessert. People love it! When we are doing those kinds of things in front of the guests, they love it and I like doing it because I’m enjoying what I’m doing.
What is your daily life like outside of training?
Outside of training it is fun. I have a lot of friends and whenever we have time off, we go to the beach, we go shopping, go to movies, it’s fun! We never feel alone or lonely because there is always someone you can hang out with.
What is the hardest part of being a Culinary Intern on a J-1 visa?
I don’t think anything was that hard for me. If we are just open minded and get used to the culture and accept everything, I think there’s nothing that’s hard actually.
Did you experience any culture shock?
Maybe a little bit. The work here is different compared to my country. Here, the chefs are very friendly. There’s nothing like “We are the chefs; you are the trainee.” Everyone’s the same. They are so friendly, and they want everyone to love what they’re doing so I think that was different from my culture.
How has it been working with Spirit?
It’s been lovely. It’s good for me. Spirit made things very easy for me I would say. They helped me in many ways and are always guiding me. So, for me it’s a very good experience with Spirit and I am happy that I came here through Spirit and I’m having a very good time working.
I think the best part is that Spirit is always available when you need their help. So many people need their sponsor’s help and don’t get it, but whenever I have a problem and I email Spirit, they are always there to help me out with it. I think that’s the best part because the only people who can help me here mainly is Spirit and they are always available.
What do you wish someone had told you before your program started?
I think the way things work in the U.S. is different from our countries, so maybe if someone would’ve told us for example that going to the doctor here is more complicated compared to India. Those small things.
What advice do you have for someone considering the program?
I would just say they should be open minded and be free. In the beginning you may feel scared, but after you come here people are so sweet and you’ll get used to it and it’s actually a very good experience.
Thank you, Angel, for sharing your experience as a BridgeUSA Culinary Intern in Marco Island, Florida!
Are you interested in a culinary internship at one of Spirit’s cooperating 4 or 5-star hotels in the United States? Visit https://www.spiritexchange.com/travel/intern-and-train-in-the-us/ to learn more and apply!
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