Patrick Taurel, Legal Fellow and the American Immigration Council, provides an in-depth look...
The Green and White World of Egoitz Iturrixa Zubiri
The Exchange Visitor Program is proud to announce Egoitz Iturrixa Zubiri as May's Exchange Visitor of the Month. Each month, we select an exchange visitor who has made an effort to get involved in his/her community and explore American Culture.
Egoitz, 23 of Hernani, Spain, is a J-1 Exchange Visitor in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He trains at Gamesa Wind US LLC, a company specializing in sustainable energy technologies, mainly wind power. Like most exchange visitors, Egoitz's was excited about the idea of training in the U.S. prior to his arrival. When he arrived in the US, however, things were a bit different than he expected.
"It's been a great experience so far," Egoitz said, "and I feel really lucky because not everyone has the chance to experience something like this. I had certain expectations in my mind, but things were a lot different than I expected when I got here-different in a good way."
J1 Exchange Visitors must strikes a balance between their professional lives and social lives. While learning and training are central the exchange program, exploring the local culture and sharing ideas with coworkers and friends are equally important. Egoitz, however, can't have one without the other-his love of the outdoors is dependent on utilizing sustainable sources of energy.
"Not only is environmental sustainability going to be a big market in the future," Egoitz said, "it's also vitally important to take care of the environment. We're going to run out resources one day and we have to figure out how to sustain ourselves without destroying the environment. Wind Energy is one of the most popular energy alternatives, aside from solar energy."
When Egoitz is not making the earth greener, he can be found on sking the slopes with friends and colleagues in the Pocono Mountains in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
"My skiing was great. Even though the Poconos are not the best as far as mountains go, I still had a really great time. I'm not a very good skier, but I did my best. I went with some work mates."
Egoitz also likes to travel around the US to pick up the local flavor and learn more about what makes each US city different. He's been to New Orleans, Chicago and Boston so far.
"Before I got here, I thought all the states in the US were the same. Through my travel experiences, I've noticed that every city is very different. I find Americans to be very friendly and they thoroughly seem to enjoy meeting new people."
Egoitz recommends getting involved in your local communities and exploring as much American culture as possible. According to Egoitz, meeting new people and hanging out with them as much as possible makes for a more enjoyable J-1 experience.
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