This year is Spirit’s 20th anniversary as a designated BridgeUSA J-1 visa sponsor. To celebrate, Spirit is sharing inspiring alumni stories submitted to our “Spirit Alumni: Where Are They Now?” contest, demonstrating first-hand how our participant exchange experiences contribute to a “spirit” of international understanding in the world. This story was submitted by Batbayar M. from Mongolia, who shared his story about his J-1 Work & Travel experience in the USA. Batbayar made a lot of international friends and currently works as a Product Development Manager. Here’s what he had to say:
My Work & Travel Experience in the USA
My name is Batbayar. If you can’t remember that, you can call me Bat like Batman haha. I was a participant in the Work and Travel program 2021 who is a Mongolian. When I was a student I always thought about this program. Every year I tried to participate in it. In the end, I got it. So I am writing this text.
Before I had gone to the USA I was very excited and a little bit nervous. Because my dream came true, that is why I was very excited. However, I have never been to a different country by myself. I did not know if I would like it, that is why I was a little bit nervous. When I arrived at the Los Angeles airport, it was a huge city and super hot. I was melting haha. I will never forget that one sandwich was 14 dollars. In my mind, I converted to Mongolian currency then thought, “Wow, what an expense.” But it was yummy.
I used to work KOA Campground and live in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin. It was a clean, safe, and small town. Oh, I really miss this city. No stress, no traffic jams. There is a lot of things different from here. Examples are food, culture, tax system, and lifestyle. In my country, we usually eat the meat of sheep. But there were only chicken, pork, and beef. It was the biggest challenge for me.
I made a lot of international friends. Maybe that is the nicest thing of that summer. I met people who were from Mexico, Dominican Republic, Russia, Thailand, Ecuador, Bulgaria, and Jamaica. I always hung out with my friends after work. We used to play golf, bowling, go to the water park, and ride rollercoasters. In the night, we chill. I really enjoyed that lifestyle.
At the end of the program, I traveled to Chicago and New York. Oh, that was awesome. There was nothing you couldn’t do. Big city, tall buildings, oceans, boat tours, a lot of attractions, and big stores.
What Am I Doing Now?
Now I work at NBFI as a product development manager in my country. I learned a lot of things from that summer. How to manage your salary, how to be independent, and how to make foods with different food ingredients. Also, I could improve my English skills. In the end, I am glad Spirit was here for us. Thanks for giving us a lot of opportunities.
Thank you, Batbayar!
We think it’s awesome that you learned so many new skills, and we wish you luck in your career!