Pastry chef preparing a fruit cake in the Amangiri Resort kitchen.

I’m Ximena, a former graphic designer.

I decided to make a switch in my professional pathway and make one of my true passions, Pastry, into a sweet way of living.

As a part of school’s Pastry Program we are asked to do an Internship for a minimum of 4 months in Switzerland or another country we choose. In my case, I took the decision of going across the continent to experience hospitality first-hand from one of the most exclusive hospitality and well-being brands on the market: Aman. More specifically, Amangiri. I applied, and I fortunately got the intern position. 

Then, after a brief, bumpy road looking for an exchange sponsor, I was reached by TransUSA Exchange.

TransUSA Exchange made everything run smoothly, so it was easy to begin this new adventure, new experience.

I recommend TransUSA to everybody. They’ll give you the personal treatment you deserve and not the email automatic response many others do.

The Resort

Amangiri is a Southwestern Native American jewel located in the most secluded piece of land between Arizona and Utah. The resort rests in the middle of a rocky, terra cotta landscape you could find in western movies. And it attracts people from all over the world!

At the hotel, I had the opportunity to work with people from Serbia, Samoa, Romania, Bulgaria, Malaysia, The Philippines, England, Mexico, and Navajo tribe descendants. Everyone, whether they were US citizens or not, contributed to maintaining that laid-back, amicable “American hospitality.” This asset was reflected in every department, and the kitchen was no exception.

The Kitchen

The kitchen was the heart of the resort. Even with the speedy rhythm, the heat, the hectic pace, the noise, (etc…) you get to learn how to roll with it. There’s no better training experience than the ones you experience by your own self, and that was the case every day I walked in. New projects, new demands, special orders, pop-up requests, and of course always, always, always staying ahead with prep. That’s how we stayed ready for dinner service.

The experience not only builds you up as a better chef, but also as a better person. You realize there’s no such thing as a one-member win, but a team win. You get to empathize with people’s struggles. You get to be extra, extra organized, efficient, and learn how to be more aware of everything around you.

Always wanting to make our guests feel at home, Ximena attends to the finest details and always goes the extra mile so our guests are made to feel special. She’s also a great team player, always helping where needed, and has genuine concern for her team. Ximena truly embodies the essence of Aman, and we hope she continues to grow her career with her Aman family!

– Alicia R., Head of Human Resources at Aman Resorts.
Stunning spread, designed by Ximena

The Experience

Due to the high profile of the resort, I got the chance to send food to celebrities, heavyweight industries’ CEO’S, and many public characters that never in my life I thought I’ll cook for.

My J-1 experience was truly a life changing one. When you overcome the hardships of being away from home, working as a rookie, and running around like a headless chicken–that’s something that makes you unbelievably stronger. In my case, that meant both physically and mentally. The program not only prepares you for a steady future career, but it prepares you for life in general.

My recommendation is to surround yourself with people, other J-1’s too. Build these support systems you can rely on. Don’t take anything personally, do your job the best you can, ask anytime you’re not sure of something, and don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Nobody’s perfect! Just always keep in mind your position of intern and act accordingly.

The Takeway

Travel whenever you can. Never forget that life is about more than just a job, or school or a special degree. It’s about experiencing places, people, food, little moments that at the end that help you be a better and happier version of yourself. 

I feel very grateful to TransUSA for making it possible. They really make the enrollment paperwork and visa process easier TO understand. I always felt comfortable with the way they guide me through out.

I recommend TransUSA to everybody. They’ll give you the personal treatment you deserve and not the email automatic response many others do.

Think you’ve got what it takes? Send us your resume today!

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