Joakim Ceder, Sweden
Chemistry, Idaho National Laboratory
Joakim had the possibility to complete a summer research internship in Idaho that is related to his studies back home in Sweden. During the summer, Joakim gained a lot of valuable experience and got the chance to work as a co-author on a research paper. Find out the journey that took Joakim to Idaho National Chemistry laboratory for the summer.
I had been looking forward to be able to do this trip for 2 years already. I wanted a worthwhile summer activity that was related to my field of study and if I could do that in the U.S. all the better!
Where did you first hear about the possibility to do an internship in the U.S. on a J1 Visa?
The chemistry chapter at my college has a student run organization called CHUST - which stands for Chemical U.S. Travel - that provide summer research internship opportunities for its members. Third year and up students are eligible to apply, so as soon as I could I did.
The place where I'm doing my internship, Idaho National Laboratory, recommended I had my visa process handled by a company called CIEE and one of the representatives in Sweden is The North-West Passage. The CEO of The North-West Passage answered my emails and the questions I had about the process thoroughly and professionally so the choice was easy.
What were your expectations for the U.S. internship?
To get hands on experience in a national laboratory and make personal contacts in the industry I plan to work. To meet like minded people and make new friends.
What was different?
Security procedures were more severe than I imagined. My first two weeks were spent in training just to get the qualifications before I could actually do any work.
Distances are greater than they appear on the map. Cities aren't really designed for you to walk anywhere and I lacked a car during most of my stay, which was a problem for simple stuff like grocery shopping.
Luckily I found a great place to stay that's close to where I work, and everyone is really nice and offers to drive me if need to go someplace. I got to go on a weeklong trip with the research group to work on a particle accelerator and could contribute more than I expected and will be a co-author on a research paper I helped develop.
Why would you recommend doing a J-1 visa internship in the U.S.?
It is such an opportunity to get a real life view of what it's like to live and work here. You push your comfort zone and grow with it.