Interview s americkým konzulom Mattom (part 1)

Smutné správy na úvod - toto bude posledná "Work and Travel visa season" pána konzula Matthew Piersona. Preto sme sa ho rozhodli vyspovedať a položiť mu aj niekoľko otázok na telo. Ako to dopadlo?

Pán konzul Matthew Pierson je na Slovensku od roku 2017 a za tieto 3 roky mu prešlo "rukami" niekoľko tisíc Work and Travel študentov zo Slovenska. Bohužiaľ, počas leta 2020 sa končí jeho funkčné obdobie na Slovensku a teda študenti, ktorí cestujú počas najbližšieho leta do USA, budú jeho poslední "visa applicants" zo Slovenska. 

Chceli by sme sa Mattovi ešte raz poďakovať za všetko, čo robí pre študentov zo Slovenska a za jeho propagáciu programu Work and Travel USA. Sledovať Matt-a a jeho prácu môžete aj na Instagrame (klikni TU).

Otázky a odpovede prinášame v pôvodnom znení v anglickom jazyku. Na otázky pán konzul odpovedal koncom roka 2019 a toto je prvá časť interview (druhú časť interview uverejníme koncom marca 2020). 

Work and Travel USA program

Why should students from Slovakia participate in Work and Travel USA program?

Everyone wants to travel, but the main problem in the way is that we don’t have the money to do it.  Summer Work and Travel USA is the perfect solution for that!  You get to go to a country you’ve probably never been to before, but have always heard about. You practice your English, which will be a skill you use for the rest of your life.  You make great friends from around the world.  Get work experience that you can use on your CV, and ... You get paid money to do all these things.  Really, why wouldn’t you want to do this?  Do you think you will look back in 10 – 15 years when you are working at a desk all day and think “wow! I sure do regret that amazing summer I had in America and having all that fun.  That was a waste of my time!”

If you will be student from Slovakia, which job for Work and Travel USA will you choose?

I would love to work at one of the jobs near one of the national parks or in the resorts in the north of the U.S. In America, we don’t have castles and palaces, so our national landmarks are our stunning scenery and it would be pretty amazing to get to walk outside every day and be on a gorgeous lake or look up at the majestic Rocky Mountains. Plus people from all over the world come to see the national parks, so I would get to meet people from all over the place.

Which cities/places should student visit in USA? 

My favorite part of America is the Fresh Coast (Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin) because of its rugged beauty, pristine lakes, super nice people, and amazing nature.  But I think that the cities on the West Coast are also hard to beat.  Seattle is the perfect combination of technology and nature.  San Francisco is a global hub of ingenuity.  America is just so big that you will probably have to go back for a few summers in a row so you can explore everything you want.

Then again, some of my other colleagues from the embassy would argue that Texas is the best part of America. Especially South Texas near the Gulf Coast.  A lot of people don’t realize that there are some beautiful mountains out west with Pine Forests and alpine meadows overlooking the desert. And of course, the food is fantastic, you can get great Mexican food anywhere and Central Texas barbecue is the best. It’s really hard to beat.  

New WAT USA regulation and visa interviews in Slovakia

Do you expect any changes to WAT USA regulation or do you think, if there will be any change, it will come after 2020 presidential election?

I don’t have a crystal ball — I can’t speculate about any changes of that nature.  It is such an amazing program though and everyone wins from it, so really the only change I want to see is more students taking advantage of such a great opportunity.

Many students are asking about „3x and no more“ rule. Do you think, this will ever happend?
I’m not aware of any “3x and no more” rule.  There are no “unofficial” rules for participation in the program, the published regulations guide visa decisions.

What is your most bizzare visa interview story in Slovakia?

Ha!  Sorry, I am not allowed to talk about individual visa cases, but there have been some really good ones.  All I am going to say is - wow do you Slovaks love Bryndza! :D 

What is your most positive visa interview story in Slovakia?

I can’t talk about specific ones, but I can tell you that I really do love talking to all the WAT students. I particularly like talking to the students, that have been before and that are going back another time and hearing from them about their experiences; what they liked and didn’t like. 

What is your most disappointed visa interview story in Slovakia?

Again, not able to talk about these specifically.  However, I never like having to deny someone their visa request, but sometimes people don’t meet the requirements and I have to.

How many students from Slovakia were traveling to USA through WAT USA program? Is this number increasing or decreasing during the last 2-3 years? Why?

Since I have been here about 2,600 students from Slovakia go to America every summer. It used to be more, but Slovaks have so many options for travel and work within the EU. I can understand the urge to stay closer to home, but I still think that everyone should choose at least one summer in America since such a great program exists!

How many students are travelling to USA from Slovakia via H2B visas and how many through Intership program?

I don’t have the exact numbers, but I would say 50 or less a year.

How many people did win green card lottery from Slovakia last year? How are the interviews with them?

I don’t have the exact number of lottery winners, but I LOVE to interview them.  These are people that truly embrace what America stands for as the “Land of Opportunity.” The winners usually don’t know anyone in America, they may not speak any English, they may have come from a part of Slovakia that isn’t as developed, but I am honored to think that they all want to go to America to try to better their lives and be part of the grand experiment that is our nation.  How lucky am I to be a small part of that journey.

Prečo sa Matt rozhodol stať sa konzulom? Ako si vyberá svoje ďalšie miesto práce ako konzul? Ktoré slovenské jedlo mu chutí najviac? Ktoré je jeho najobľúbenejšie miesto na Slovensku? Toto všetko a ešte viac sme sa Matt-a pýtali v druhej časti nášho interview, ktorú uverejníme koncom marca 2020 #staytuned