American Hotel Academy

    7th Annual Host Company Conference by ITN Sheds Light on J-1 Visa Process in Miami, Florida

    Date: October 4th, 2023 
    Location: Miami, Florida 
    Organizer: International Trainee Network (ITN) 

    The 7th Annual Host Company Conference, organized by the International Trainee Network (ITN) & Odyssey International Exchange, brought together a diverse group of people involved in the complex process of obtaining J-1 visa. Held on October 4th in the vibrant city of Miami, Florida, this event was a valuable opportunity for students and professionals alike to gain insights into the BridgeUSA J-1 Visa Exchange Program. AHA representatives were among the attendees and confirmed the deeper understanding of the J-1 visa process through the opportunity to learn from each other, the networking, the discussion of new trends and regulations for the BridgeUSA J-1 Visa process. 


    A Confluence of Experience

    ITN and Odyssey International Exchange, both cultural exchange organizations based in Los Angeles, California, have over two decades of experience in facilitating the BridgeUSA J-1 Visa Exchange Program. Their combined expertise was on full display during the conference, where participants had the chance to hear firsthand accounts from current J-1 visa participants. 

    One speaker at the event was Andri Ioan Ionescu, a proud AHA graduate, who shared his unique experience from the past five months spent in Miami, Florida. His heartfelt and honest speech left a lasting impression on the audience, emphasizing the transformative power of cultural exchange programs. 

    Expert Insights 

    The conference boasted a lineup of distinguished guest speakers, each offering their valuable insights into the J-1 visa process and related topics. 

    • Mark Overmann, Executive Director of Alliance for Cultural Exchange, delved into the intersection of politics and the BridgeUSA program, shedding light on the broader implications of cultural exchange. 
    • Matt Martin, Senior Director and Talent Acquisition at Marcus Hotels and Resorts, shared best practices for the J-1 visa, helping host companies optimize their recruitment strategies. 
    • Jennifer Estrella, Partner and Head of Miami Fragomen, explored alternative visa types, broadening the horizons of attendees when it comes to immigration options. 
    • Rafael Goitia Mercado, Program Analyst at the Office of Private Sector Exchange Program Administrator, and Amy Kenney, Program Analyst at the Office of Private Sector Exchange Designation, provided invaluable insights into the workings of the U.S. Department of State. 

    Interactive Sessions 

    The conference was more than just a series of speeches, it fostered engagement and interaction among participants. A Panel Discussion and a Q&A session allowed attendees to pose their burning questions and engage in meaningful dialogue with experts in the field. This interactive aspect of the event facilitated a deeper understanding of the J-1 visa process and provided a platform for networking and collaboration among all participants. 

    Finally, the 7th Annual Host Company Conference organized by ITN in Miami, Florida, was a resounding success. It served as an invaluable resource for the people involved in the J-1 visa process, from students seeking enriching cultural experiences to host companies eager to navigate the complexities of international recruitment. With the collective wisdom and experience shared at the conference, the future of the BridgeUSA J-1 Visa Exchange Program looks even brighter, promising continued cultural exchange and international cooperation for years to come. 

    Article written by the AHA Marketing department. ❤️

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