Meet Past J-1 Program Success Story: Veronica Miller

by | Internships, STUDENTS & GRADS, Work Visa Programs

Welcome to Fast Track by Hosco’s human highlights series, where real stories from the global hospitality industry come to life. In this spotlight, we introduce Veronica Miller, whose journey as a J-1 program participant epitomizes the spirit of international internships and the freedom of mobility.

For more information about Fast Track, head over to the program’s homepage to find out everything you need to know to take the first steps towards your once in a lifetime training experience abroad.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background in the hospitality industry?

My name is Veronica Miller, and I was a J1 exchange student in 2012. The first half of my internship was with Four Seasons Palm Beach in Florida. I was a busser/hostess back then. The other half of the internship was with The Colony Hotel in Maine, I was a hostess/busser first then I was picked to train as one of the servers. Since then, I trained as an F&B server.

What motivated you to pursue an internship/traineeship in the United States?

My plan was originally to do my internship in Germany as my mom was working there. It didn't work out as Lufthansa was full. It was a blessing that our College (De La Salle Lipa) was actually doing its very first international internship in the US, so I tried to apply and got accepted.

How did you first learn about the J-1 Visa program and why did it appeal to you?

One of our Professors actually explained it to us, and I got so excited about it. Who doesn't want to have an internship abroad? 

What steps did you take to apply for the J-1 Visa?

ITN was with us all the way through. They prepared everything, we just have to do the interview in the Embassy, tickets reservation, etc. It was actually life changing. I learned a lot about my job and met wonderful people from all over the world.

Can you describe the application and selection process for the J-1 Visa program?

The employers and ITN send someone to your university to interview the students. If you get accepted, that's when ITN comes in. They will help you with everything that's needed to be prepared & signed. Your job is to nail your interview at the Embassy. The rest follows.

How did you prepare for your move to the United States, both professionally and personally?

You must have that courage as you are going to live alone. But you'll learn as you experience it, especially from the people you meet along the way! Honestly, I was a little nervous, but I told myself just follow the rules and do your best, always.

Were there any significant differences from your home country?

There's quite a few differences in the hospitality industry in the US. There's a lot of benefits when you train in a hotel in the US, plus your salary is paid hourly + tips. 

Can you share a particularly memorable experience from your time in the U.S.?

The best part is the people I met that became like a family. They actually teach you a lot about life. Making those connections was the best & most memorable experience. Until now, we still have contact with each other. Also, just learning how the industry is. You learn & you survive.

And the biggest challenge you encountered while living in the States?

Not being able to drive. Some places just aren’t walkable, so that was pretty hard. Although, I learned how to ride a bike like a normal person thanks to my best friend abroad.

How did you overcome these challenges?

I didn't think about it that much, I just learn new things when I can. That's how you grow. If you need to learn how to ride a bike, be open with it. Not all people have learned things when they were younger, so no shame in it. 

Did the experience impact your personal growth?

Definitely! I learned how to be independent in my own way. Also, I learned that we all are different, not everyone will accept you as you but be brave and cherish the ones who do. 

How has participating in the J-1 Visa program influenced your professional trajectory in the hospitality industry?

It was my bridge. After my internship in Maine, they actually petitioned me to work with them with a working visa. It changed my life.

How can someone best prepare to make the most out of their J-1 experience?

Just go with the flow, have fun, and try to learn about the culture.

Can you offer any tips for adjusting to life in the U.S.?

You need to learn the basics, especially the chores. You need to do your own laundry, clean the house/apartment, wash the dishes, and do your groceries.

Always be accepting, not everyone has beliefs like you. Also, be respectful, every person is different in their own way.

If you had the chance to do it all over again, would you do anything differently?

No. I'm here where I am because of the experiences I conquered during my internship.

Want to add international experience to your CV early in your career like Veronica? Fast Track makes it easy to find exclusive training placements abroad and obtain the visa you need to get there. Visit the Fast Track homepage today to apply for your dream internship overseas!



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