Why I love the J-1 Program

Why I love the J-1 Program

Author: Wananan from Thailand, Administrative Trainee in New York

Wananan on bridge

The J-1 Program has helped me find the purpose of my life. I graduated as a business major at Khon Kaen University, Thailand and I thought that working for a big company was the only way to be successful. I thought that success in business was the most important thing in my life. When I came to the US and started my internship at the New Work Open Center, I was expecting to learn how to run an adult education business. But what I got out of it was something totally different. I learned about myself.

I come from the countryside of Thailand, where everything is totally laid back and almost everybody in the village knows each other. It is a very simple lifestyle with a lot of traditions and rules. For example girls are not supposed to go out at night or hang out with friends at a party. In the beginning of my time here, I was thrown into the complexity of NYC. Many people said to me “Here’s New York for you” after I told them about the city I come from. In NYC, I had to learn how to read the subway map, bus schedule, walk with people who are (always) in a hurry, deal with the unstable climate, a wide range of accents when people speak English and crazy people on the subway. Before coming here, I felt really nervous about living in New York. Now I feel like I am a New Yorker.

Wananan at the Brooklyn Public Library

My internship is at the Open Center, a non-profit organization that provides holistic educational programs and cultural events. They have many different types of classes, such as classes to develop your intuition, classes on herbal medicine, yoga and meditation classes, non-violent communication classes, and the one that has changed my deep beliefs about life, Positive Psychology.

As an intern, I am allowed to take classes at the Open Center for free. I have taken a few of them each month and I really enjoyed them. Taking classes helps me to gain more knowledge and grow my spirit. The Positive Psychology class gave me many important tools; it taught me how to be happy and successful not only in business, but in relationships with people. The class makes me feel empowered and reminds me that the world is always beautiful; it’s all up to how I want to see if.

Wananan at NY Open Center

The biggest lesson I learned from Positive Psychology was about “Fixed Mind-set and Growth Mind-set.” The Fixed Mind-set is when we avoid challenges, give up easily, ignore useful negative feedback and feel threatened by the success of others. I realized that I had done all of those and I wanted to change how I think and see things because it will be more useful. Therefore, I learned that to have a Growth Mind-set, I should embrace challenges, be curious, see effort as the path to mastery, learn from criticism and find inspiration in the success of others. It helps keep me grounded with who I really am and honor what I am good at. I believe that these tolls can help me grow.

Consequently, I want to let you know that I am very happy and proud of myself that I am participating in the J-1 Program and giving myself an extraordinary chance to grow. I have been meeting a lot of wonderful people in New York City. It is amazing once your heart is opened, you can see more ways to enjoy life and succeed. I originally expected to get business skills and a certificate out of this program. What I got was much more. I used to be worried about what I “should” do. Now I care about finding what I love to do.