January 24, 2022

Jonas Knittel Shares His Wonderful Exchange Visitor Experience

Jonas Knittel seems to make friends wherever he goes.

Jonas applied for his program during a time when the US had restricted J-1 applicants and other non-essential travelers from the Schengen Area, which includes his native Germany, due to COVID-19 concerns.  Citizens of countries impacted by this restriction could only obtain their visas and enter the US from outside of countries that were included in the travel ban.  Not to be deterred, Jonas made lemonade out of a situation that most others saw only as a
 lemon - he took his interview appointment with the US Embassy in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, and spent his required two-week travel quarantine (plus an additional few days due to delays at the Embassy) making the best of his situation, enjoying himself and making friends.  He even went to visit the friends he made during this trip later on in Houston, Texas, and has plans to travel with them in February to Miami, Florida.

Friends have made his life in Tennessee much more colorful than he expected.  "It was nice to see how friendly and open-minded people are down here in Tennessee! In Europe people most likely just care about themselves and people they already know, so it's way harder to get in contact with new people in Europe," Jonas said.  His new American friends have kept his calendar busy - "[During my free time] I'm most likely with my friends, I went to an NFL Game as you can see in one of the pictures. I've been to an NHL Game too, which was real fun! On Sundays we are most of the time at the parents house [of] a friend to watch the NFL Games."

Jonas has also taken part in the more traditional parts of American culture, enjoying holidays with family of his friends.  He even experienced the American
young adult rite of passage of being forced to sit at the kids table!  "My friend Corbin and I were the youngest around so we had to sit at a separate table as there was no space left at the main table. Our other friend made the picture and added that caption."  

Jonas also took part in the newer American tradition of 'Friendsgiving' - "We met at a friend's house in Murfreesboro, everybody brought some drinks and food. We had a great dinner and played some board games afterwards. After that we all enjoyed the UFC fight night which was on the same day!"

Jonas has also been having a great experience in his training program with Franke USA Holdings, Inc. in Smyrna, Tennessee.  "All my coworkers showed me and taught me everything listed on the [training placement plan], and after that I took over responsibility for all webshop orders and e-mail orders. I had the chance to see our production plant in Fayetteville too, which was so nice to see!"  

With four months remaining on his training program, Jonas is sure to continue to have a life-changing experience in the US with his friends, colleagues, and the families that have welcomed him into their lives.  We are so proud to be the sponsor of this successful exchange, connecting Americans with a wonderful exchange visitor like Jonas!

Posted by Melissa Zwick on January 24, 2022 at 8:35 AM in Participant Permalink
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