July 1, 2020
As a third-year student in Computer Technologies at Ulster University, Rebekah Richmond took full advantage of the opportunities provided to her on her J-1 visa, completing a software engineering internship in Greater Boston. Growing up in a small village in Co. Fermanagh, Rebekah always knew she wanted to visit Boston. Rian Immigrant Center sourced a great software engineering internship and after sending it to Ulster University, Rebekah jumped at the opportunity.
With the support of the Center and encouragement of her university, Rebekah’s dream came true: she got the internship at Insight Enterprises in Watertown. Being part of a great team, learning something new every day, and gaining invaluable work experience has, in Rebekah’s words, “definitely made me more determined and reassured me in my chosen career path for the future.”
Rebekah settled quickly and happily into life in Boston, partaking in all the experiences and enjoying the many sights the city has to offer. “I always felt right at home,” she said.” In addition to visiting museums and local historical icons such as the Freedom Trail and Boston Tea party ship, she also became a self-proclaimed Boston Bruins fan. A highlight of her time in Boston was her extensive travel throughout New England, including many fun weekends with her friends on Cape Cod. Rebekah made time for a weekend in New York City, and even ventured all the way to Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic.
Her advice to potential J-1s is to take full advantage of the chance. Travel as much as you can, and “grab this opportunity with both hands.” She added, “I never thought I would be brave enough to move from small town in Northern Ireland to the city of Boston but I can tell you, it was the best decision I ever made.”
Unfortunately, Rebekah had to return home two months earlier than anticipated due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite her disappointment at having to cut short her stay in the US, she truly made the most out of her time here in Boston, and encourages other J-1s to do the same when the opportunities arise. She expressed her gratitude to the Rian Immigrant Center for providing “support and encouragement from the first time I walked into the office in downtown Boston… it’s like being part of a big family who are there for you every step of the way.”