“If we are to preserve culture, we must continue to create it.” – Johan Huizinga
I am a proud global participant of the J1 Visa program and just hearing the possibility of the said visa to be abolished breaks my little heart to pieces. Last August 2015, Donald Trump declared that if he were to be elected as president of the United States, he would eliminate the J1-visa. And now that he is the current President, it feels like he is keeping his word for it. Oh. boy.
First and foremost, what is a J1-visa? Second, how integral is it to foreign visitors and the US?
“A J-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa issued by the US to exchange visitors participating in programs that promote cultural exchange, especially to obtain medical or business training within the US. All applicants are required to be sponsored either by a university, private sector or government program just to be eligible to this said visa.”
As a former participant, I strongly believe that the training and experience I had with my host company has not just molded me as a better employee but this experience have opened my eyes in terms of my own capability with my field of expertise. It has crafted me as a better individual and boosted my confidence on being a culinarian. But the most humbling experience of my whole internship was the connections I made with the people, a better understanding of the culture and how people live their everyday lives outside of your home country.
The President sees this program as a scheme for foreign visitors to obtain jobs within the country. He thinks that this program is an appeasing gesture by companies to find cheap labor from foreign visitors and he wants to replace it with jobs for young people within the US cities. He is not aware though that most of the people who works for him in his hotels are J-1 visa holders. So I wonder what made him want to abolish the program if he himself is utilizing said interns. I wonder if the said visa will indeed be abolished, would young americans even want to work for him?
Being in the US, I am very much aware that the people just want a change especially in the political aspect. I don’t find it shameful because it’s the American people’s right to voice out and support their presidential candidates. What bothers me though is how some people are persuaded by a candidate like him despite everything he has done and said to women, immigrants, the hispanic community, the LGBT community, and the list goes on.
Anyhow, all I know is that this program has ever since strengthen the connection between people of different cultures and countries and it’s a shame if this will forever be banished. I am showing my support in this program by sharing my experiences on my global exchange through this portfolio and hopefully everyone and my fellow J-1 participants who are presently in the US or former participants would support the existence of the program. I know in your hearts that your own exchange program experiences were irreplaceable. Why not let other young people witness what we have gone through for it was one of the bad-ass rides we ever had.
#SaveJ1 #StrengthenTies #InternationalConnections