This year is Spirit’s 20th anniversary as a designated BridgeUSA J-1 visa sponsor. To celebrate, Spirit will be 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 Ina G. from the Philippines, who shared her story about her 2017 J-1 Intern experience in the USA. Ina used the culinary expertise she gained in the US to open her own Korean restaurant in the Philippines. Here’s what she had to say:
My J-1 Intern Experience in the USA
During my internship through Spirit, I had developed a sense of responsibility and understanding on how to deal with different people, personality, race, and different outlooks in life.
One I admire the most, is that during my internship, I learn on how to deal with reality. No, it’s not that easy to live away from our families, but that great feeling where you get to make lifelong choices is probably the most fulfilling experience ever.
You only have yourself, you pay rent, manage your expenses, you made choices to which you think you can’t before.
How Did This Experience Shape My Future?
It molded me to where I am now. I now have a small unique Korean food stall in my city and will be opening 2 branches soon.
So, thank you Spirit, for you truly did inspire me and I can finally say that I found my “spirit” back as who I am now.
Thank you, Ina!
We think it’s fantastic that you took what you learned in the U.S. about the hospitality industry back home and used it to open your own business. Thanks for sharing with us!
If you are a Spirit Alumni with an inspiring story to tell, please consider sharing your experience with us. Learn more about the “Spirit Alumni: Where Are They Now?” contest.
Ina was a participant on Spirit’s J-1 Intern Program. On this program, participants learn basic skills at an American Host Company while experiencing U.S. culture firsthand. Learn more about how to intern in the USA like Ina and have your own exchange experience.