Isabel Shestopal, Norway
New York, Brooklyn
New Media design studio, Volvox Labs
1 year internship
Where do you do your internship and what do you do?
I am currently working as an intern at Volvox Labs. My role is as a social media / website intern, but being in the office I get to work on a lot of different things, big and small. Now that the first part of my internship is coming to an end, I am continuing at Volvox Labs for another nine months transitioning into a Project Manager and Client Contact.
How did you find your internship and why did you choose this internship?
During my time at school I was introduced to technology. After working many years with print and digital design it was so fun to see how you can utilize technology to make physical things. We received a list of studios and agencies from our program facilitator and Volvox Labs was on that list. I mostly applied because I liked their work, not considering that I would have to move to the states.
I feel very lucky that I get to try a completely different working environment. Our office is also the workshop, so there is always banging and lasering going on. That makes for a fun and “living” workspace. My biggest learning is that one failure is more worth than a whole rule book. I have failed a couple of times and it has really made me aware of what I did wrong and how to prevent it in the future.
What advice can you give to others looking for internships?
I think my best advice is to apply many places. I saw a lot of people spending time on thinking about all “what if’s” and procrastinating application. Save yourself some time and headache by just applying. Then, if you receive an offer, you can think about what is the best decision. Most people go through a lot of no’s or don’t even get any answers from the places they apply.
Applying a lot of places at once does not mean you shouldn’t be thorough with you application though. Personalize each application and really try to tell them why you applied to exactly them and what your expectations are.
How did you experience the whole J-1 visa process, any tips?
The J-1 paper work can be super confusing, but my sponsor The North-West Passage, Ted Stubner, has held my hand the whole way. The process was almost completely pain free. The waiting time between applications and answers is of course nerve wracking, but there is nothing to be done except to be patient. Get the visa process started as soon as possible. The quicker you do all the tasks you are given, the quicker your sponsor can discover what is missing and help you move forward in an acceptable speed.
What was the time frame for applying J-1 visa?
From contacting my sponsor till I got the visa from the american embassy took about five weeks. I didn’t know how long it would take, so I planned my departure to be about seven weeks after I started my application. So I actually had a pretty good margin, but the time span is dependent on so many factors it is hard to say what is standard.
Read more about Isabel's Internship top tips for everyday life OR her internship working experience.