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J-1 Journeys OCT 2013

Vol 2 Issue 6

Exchange Visitors Share Stories Which is right?

Visa Dates vs. DS-2019 All about the

Columbus Day Holiday

of life in the

United States!

O say

! a c i r e m A , e e ates! t s S d I e t i n n ca n the U step i t s r fi y M

opal By Suraj G

and enturous v d a , g nd excitin in to a la n be so p a e t c s t y a e h h W hen t ors in people w uce trem d o t in g n in a k c c re at sho hat we a eirs? Wh t h t w t o o n n k t he which is come to ? What is hen we y r w t n s t u r o a c e our h r home en to eople ali t from ou r p a f p o o t e t c abou ure�! if feren but “Cult avioral d h g e in b h t l o a n ic ents typ answer is all gar m e h s t p , e e ll e k t of you? W ad that the mids only thre in e r h t e h t is e This ven tog nkind wo a m d e n am nations!

l’s story Suraj Gopa d) (continue

To introduce, I’m from an orthodox Hindu family in India. The heritage of India, which can’t be squeezed into a few words, is what keeps the people of India together. Our Indian tradition teaches many things to us which are widely different from the culture in US. As I walk you through my first time experiences in US, you will discover some surprising and shocking facts about India like how I discovered about US.


work in Eaton technologies located in Pune, Maharashtra. After 5 years of service in the esteemed company, I was gifted with the golden opportunity to visit the United States to undergo training on our products. This was a dream come true to me! I was very excited and thrilled to start my travel process and exchange visitor visa was the best option. I applied for J-1 visa from India and once I received my passport with J-1 visa on it, I was almost set to fly! Let me start with cultural delights in USA. I landed in Detroit international airport on 3rd Aug 2013 and that was my port of entry to USA. I was to stay in a hotel in Marshall, MI. The first delight, pleasant to my eyes that I found was the roads and the traffic in US, flowing as smooth as divine waters in heaven! Seldom did I find people on roads unlike Indian roads where you find lot

of people always! Every vehicle strictly followed the road rules which are not so common in India. To my more delight, I heard that pedestrians have the right of way. I wish these were the road rules in India too! Marshall is a beautiful town which I never saw even in Hollywood movies. The houses in Marshall were probably made by the architect of the gods, if I’m right! Roads were neat and tidy and citizens had good sense of cleanliness. Very few roads in Indian cities you will find this way. My greatest amazement was the sunset! It was hard for me to believe that it gets dark after 9 pm. In India, sun would have set by 7 pm. I’m really impressed by the hospitality of my counterparts. They took utmost care of me, ensuring my comfortable training here.

l’s story a p o G j a r u S nued) (conti

do e s n’t n w o t n a c i n Ame r a n i g n i e b c a . Th i s i s i r e Jus t m A n i I s t aye d t a h t n a a v isi t to e e m k a m o t te d me g ave t h e o g a w h a t te m p c i h C ! indy ci t y w e ve r e h d l t u , o o c g I a c h i c h i C gh t s w h i l e d f o l a u e t to t he e f 0 mo s t v i s 0 3 1 n t up to we r ! ge t a s I we o t s i l l i W t S k yde c k a

’s story l a p o G j a r Su nued) (conti

Suraj Gopal and hi

Colleagues took me to their home for lunch and very often a group lunch or dinner was arranged in a famous restaurant in Marshall. It was very surprising and delighting to see the nature of people here as I had heard from my friends that people in America usually don’t entertain foreigners, don’t bother about hospitality, etc. But this experience was totally amazing, dozens of thanks to my counterparts in Marshall! Stepping into a foreign land will obviously lead to facing a few cultural shocks. First, the time zones in US bothered me a lot! When I flew to Omaha from Detroit, I was taken aback to find that my watch is an hour ahead of a lady passenger’s watch sitting

beside me. I couldn’t believe my eyes. She was kind enough to explain me that we are flying to Omaha which is central time while Detroit is Eastern Time being an hour ahead of central time. Although I managed to understand, it was a shock for me.

Second, I observed the US flag being displayed all over the streets of America. I can understand the patriotism but I was even more astonished to find the US flag modeled as slippers and shoes! India has very strict rules governing the use and display of national flag and this is why I was shocked to find US flags being used so casually.

Third, I found that after schooling, children leave their

s US colleagues

home to earn and pay for their college through this earning! Parents don’t assist their sons to pay college fees! Even daughters are not spared! An ice cream parlor waitress told me that she works here to earn money to pay for her education, despite her father being in a high designation in an esteemed company! This culture of US is extremely opposite to Indian tradition. US culture suits America and Indian culture suits India. All cultural opinions are correct in their own place! Concluding my story, the overall experience of my stay in the US was positive and pleasant. I can never forget the people I met, places I travelled and food I ate.

Thank you for sharing your story, Suraj!

I’m a J-1 Law Intern in Washington, DC

I am an intern at a big law firm in Washington, DC. I was quite nervous on my first day and arrived about 15 minutes early, but was welcomed with open arms. Because I arrived at the beginning of August a lot of people were on vacation. That did not prevent the friendly Human Resources lady from introducing me to what felt like 3000 people. It was only after the first week that I had memorized all of the names of the team that I am now part of. The nicest  surprise  upon  arrival  at  the  office  was  that  I  had  been   assigned  my  own  office!  I  could  not  believe  it  and  thought  that   co-­‐workers  were  pulling  a  prank  on  me,  to  welcome  me  to  the   firm,  so  to  speak.  But  no,  it  was  my  office  alright,  and  they  had   already  set  it  up  with  everything  you  need.  From  pens  and   pencils  to  computer  and  telephone  –  I  was  equipped  like  a  pro. Early  on  my  first  day,  I  received  my  first  assignment.  People  in   the  US  do  not  waste  Gme  –  Gme  is  money.  I  was  slowly  but   surely  introduced  in  the  subject  maIer. My  internship  is  in  a   field  of  law  that  I  had  not  yet  had  too  much  contact  with.  This   internship  gives  me  the  opportunity  to  focus  on  an  enGrely  new   subject  for  me.  I  feel  like  I  can  learn  so  much  more  here  about  it   than  I  could  have  ever  learned  in  law  school  back  at  home.  I  am   even  thinking  about  taking  some  classes  about  this  area  of  law   when  I  come  back  and  maybe  even  specializing  in  it.  Who   knows  what  the  future  holds…

Everybody I  have  met  so  far  has  been  extremely  friendly.  I  know   that  Americans  are  generally  easier  to  get  along  with  than   Europeans  when  you  first  meet  them,  but  the  extent  of  the   cordiality  was  surprising.  Okay,  geRng  along  with  people  your  age   and  "lower-­‐level"  employees  is  not  that  astonishing,  but  the   partners,  the  "big  bosses",  everybody  welcomed  me.  I  would  have   never  thought  that  a  firm  this  big  (bear  in  mind  we  have  a  couple   of  hundred  people  working  here)  would  spread  such  a  "family   feeling." People  work  extremely  hard  in  the  US.  Out  of,  say,  an  8  hour  work   day,  they  actually  work  7  hours  and  50  minutes,  as  compared  to   Europeans  who  do  like  to  chat  by  the  coffee  maker  for  about  an   hour  a  day.  Most  of  the  people  bring  their  lunch  from  home  and   eat  it  at  their  desks.  Only  a  few  take  the  opportunity  to  go  up  to   the  roof  deck  and  enjoy  their  lunch  there.  What  a  shame… Overall,  I  am  very  glad  I  decided  to  come  here.  Even  though  it  is   quite  the  procedure  to  obtain  a  J1  visa,  in  the  end  it's  all  worth  it   and  I'm  glad  I  didn’t  drop  out.  That  being  said,  I  hope  you  have  an   experience  comparable  to  mine  –  maybe  even  beIer.  I  hope  you   enjoy  your  stay  and  get  to  know  lots  of  new,  fun  people  and   explore  new  ciGes. -­‐Philipp

What’s the difference between the dates on my visa and my DS-2019? J-1 Visa This is the visa that the Consulate places in your passport. This document gives you permission to seek entry to the United States at any port of entry whether it is by land or air. The dates listed under “Issue Date” and “Expiration Date” are the dates between which you are allowed to seek entry to the U.S. These dates do not need to match the program dates listed on the DS-2019 form, and the dates on the visa do not limit how long you are permitted to stay in the US.

DS-2019 This is the Certificate of Eligibility. This form lets a visa officer at the consulate know that the bearer has been granted visa sponsorship by a designated sponsor, such as the American Immigration Council. This form is required to be presented at the time of entry. The program dates listed in box 3 are the dates between which training or interning can take place. There is a 30-day grace period before and after the dates listed in box 3, during which the holder may visit friends, travel the country, get settled or wrap things up. There may not be any training or interning during these grace periods.

In summary, you can stay in the US for 30 days before and after the grace period listed on your DS-2019. If you changed your program dates, go by the new dates on the amended DS-2019 we sent you in the mail.

Columbus Day

In 1492, Italian explorer Christopher Columbus set sail westward from Spain in search of a westward marine route to Asia. He found America instead. His discovery led to an era of European colonization of the continent. The legacy of Columbus is tainted by the suffering of Native Americans, but he is remembered for starting a new chapter in the history of the continent. So what can you expect on October 14? It’s a federal holiday, so you might have the day off, and if you live in an area with many Italians, you might see a parade!

Sebastian del Piombo’s 1520 portrait of Christopher Columbus

Write about your J-1 Journey!

An Excerpt from Columbus’s Journal in 1492: Tuesday, 25 September. At sunset Martin Alonzo called out with great joy from his vessel that he saw land, and demanded of

the Admiral a reward for his intelligence. The Admiral says,

when he heard him declare this, he fell on his knees and returned

thanks to God, and Martin Alonzo with his crew repeated Gloria

in excelsis Deo, as did the crew of the Admiral. Those on board the Nina ascended the rigging, and all declared they saw land.

Are you keeping a journal of your experiences in the US? What’s the most beautiful place you’ve visited in the US? What do you find most surprising about American culture? Has volunteering helped you to learn more about the community? How have you shared your own culture with Americans? What have you found interesting about US history?

Submit your US travel story to to be published in J-1 Journeys.

Thanks for reading J-1 Journeys! Contact us: 202-507-7500


Columbus Before the Queen, Emanuel Leutze (1816-1868)

J-1 Journeys October 2013  

Read about Columbus Day, DS-2019 forms and life in the US for J-1 exchange visitors!