5th of August, 2019, is International Exchange Day! Previously J1 Day (J1 is a type of visa, interns must get to be able to work in the US), International Exchange Day established in 2014, is a nationwide celebration of the power of international exchange.

Every year Arts et Métiers young students are coming to the US as J1 interns. They help companies achieve their project goals while gaining professional experience and improving technical skills. Every J1 journey is a special one, full of new discoveries, beautiful moments and memorable events!

As a non-profit, AFAM is advocating for more J1 engineering internships to be offered by American companies as they are truly a life changing experience and at the same time a great way for a company to have a diverse team.

If you want to know about our Shasta internship program, do not hesitate to have a look at our website:

- if you are a company and looking for engineering interns

- if you are an Art et Métiers alumnus/alumna and want to help

- if you are an Art et Métiers student

Celebrate Exchange Day with us and discover our collection of small stories from our former J1 interns!

Quentin, 2009, Tate, Georgia (26 miles from Atlanta)

When I was J1 intern, I worked hard in marble quarry to install quality measurement and kanban workflow. But on the other hand I enjoyed American fun : barbecue and baseball!

On the pictures (courtesy of Quentin): Quentin in 2009 at work in Tate, Basball game Dodgers (LA) vs Braves (Atlanta)

Raphaël, 2011, Houston, Texas

Premier jour à Houston dans le Texas, ville ultime du "public transportation", comprenez : "la voiture individuelle... Originaire de Paris, je venais tout juste d'arriver en tant que stagiaire dans une grande entreprise pétrolière. C'était mon premier jour et évidemment, il fallait s'alimenter ! Je décide donc de prendre mon courage à deux mains pour affronter cette ville où les routes s'empilent les unes au-dessus des autres dans les airs. Me voici donc à l'air libre marchant tranquillement sur le bord de la route. Un premier 4x4 s'arrête et me demande si je ne suis pas perdu... Étrange... Un second s'arrête et me demande si ma voiture est en panne! C'est là que j'ai réalisé que marcher dans Houston est plutôt inhabituel (notamment la zone où j'étais car ne vous méprenez pas il y a bien des zones plus piétonnes) et que le F150 (pick-up largement répandu) est le moyen officiel pour aller faire ces courses!

Deuxième jour je décide d'aller explorer le jardin public où paraît-il les alligators se promènent librement... Après en avoir aperçu un à une trentaine de mètres et m'être bien fait peur j'ai compris que c'était vrai! Cette ville allait être décidément pleine de surprises !


Photo credit: Photo via Texas A&M alumna Makenzie Noland's Facebook page

While riding in Houston's Brazos Bend State Park, a few cyclists were surprised by an alligator. Photo credit: www.bicycling.com

Gauthier, 2018, Rincon, Georgia (20 miles from Savannah, 240 from Atlanta and 110 miles from Charleston)

When I was a J1 intern, I experienced the American way of life from baseball and football game to a shooting range training session.

Photo credit: Savannah WTOC11 television website, picture taken during the event "Ladies. Guns. Ammo"

Martin, 2018, San Francisco, CA

When I was a J1 intern, I worked as an optical engineer with amazing engineers at Uber ATG. They taught me a lot and it led me to build myself a Newtonian telescope 🔭 !!

Photo credit: courtesy of Martin

Uber ATG's new office in SF

Photo credit: www.architecturaldigest.com

Florian, 2019, Northon Shores, Michigan (100 miles from Detroit, MI)

When I was a J1 Intern, I was working in a little town where finding a place to live was not easy. That is why I spent my first nights in the cheapest motel I could find and experienced there the best American motel cliches. At 10 pm, I entered the room, overheated in the Michigan early spring, flaked paint on the wall, dirty carpet on the floor, spots everywhere in the bathroom and mostly, a strong smell of old cigarettes saturating the air.
After a few nights there, my boss offered me to stay at his house until I find a place. I was really surprised by this act of kindness, I accepted and the whole family welcomed me so nicely : hunters, they made me taste venison they cooked, S'mores and other American dishes, they advised me for bank, phone, car and helped me in a lot in different ways, with rides, meeting people... I still don't believe how kind they were to me.
I left their place after two weeks when I bought a car, before finding a house. In Muskegon you can't go anywhere without a car, thus I became more independent and was able to find a better place to live than a motel. I spent an other week with an AirBnB host and then I finally find a house with a roommate.
I was really amazed by how welcoming and helpful Americans are. Everyone at work advised me in any way and that helped me a lot for my installation. The big fear of leaving home in France was reduced a lot after those first weeks surrounded by incredible people.
On the pictures: Bayleys Beach Retreat at Norton Shores and the city of Muskegon
Photo credit: lakem.com and rapidgrowthmedia.com
Thank you to all our alumni who shared these stories! Hopefully, more companies will offer J1 internship opportunities to French engineering students! Happy Exchange Day!