J-1 Experiences: Julia Kuchenmeister

Julia’s interest in Human Resources drew her back to Los Angeles!

Rian’s J-1 visa program made it possible for Julia to return to California, and to enter a new phase of her professional and personal life in Los Angeles. 

Julia had the opportunity to attend the University of California (UC) Santa Barbara, where she completed a study abroad experience while working towards her Bachelors in Sociology. Her learning journey took her back to Ireland, where she completed her Bachelor’s Degree and a Masters in Human Resources from University College Dublin (UCD). Julia’s current internship at Vytology Wellness supports her learnings and HR expertise from her time at UCD.

Julia shared that Rian’s J-1 visa provided an excellent opportunity for her to improve her people and cultural skills. She applied for a J-1 visa last year while working at home with the hopes of using the training opportunity to gain more professional experience. Through her internship, Julia is hoping to gain more experience as an HR professional in an American company. 

Julia is having a tremendous experience at Vytology Wellness. She enjoys working in person and meeting her colleagues, who have a variety of skills and backgrounds. In particular, she relishes learning from her supervisor, whom she stated “has  extensive knowledge in the people and culture field.” Julia had so many good things to say about her internship experience at Vytology Wellness, including going in every day, even though it is not required, thanks to wonderful colleagues, a new office and wonderful view. 

Julia loves Los Angeles. She especially enjoys the sunny weather. She likes to spend her weekends with her friends. One of these friends is someone she met during her study abroad at UC Santa Barbara- he has introduced her to plenty of other friends. Julia also shared that she has fantastic housemates, whose social circle adds to her community of  amazing people. Julia has also met and stayed connected with two J-1 participants also on Rian’s program.

Julia intends to travel as much as she can in the upcoming year. She has a plan to visit San Diego with her friends. One of her friends is a DJ and she has had the opportunity to attend and support him at his shows.  She expressed her excitement about an upcoming visit of her family and plans to travel with them to see some locations, such as Las Vegas, Joshua Tree, San Francisco, and the Grand Canyon.

Julia shared she enjoys the bustle of Los Angeles. However, Julia did share that it is a city centered around cars, and she does not have one. She is lucky that her friends have cars and have been willing to help her get around the city, if needed. She is fortunate in that she can take the bus to work and back from her house. She advised people not to be afraid to travel and to enjoy themselves wherever they go in America, regardless of if Los Angeles has a lower Irish population than New York City or Boston.

To prospective J-1s Julia suggests using the Los Angeles Facebook housing group to find roommates. She also provides advice to people who have J-1 visas. “Be open to anything and be flexible. Don’t close yourself off to experiences”.

Though Julia is not rushing to return to Dublin by any means, she has been keeping in contact with her colleagues and friends at home in  Dublin. Her hope is to take her learnings from Vytology Wellness with her back to Dublin, where she aspires to further her career as a Human Resource professional.