It feels like it was yesterday when I first arrived in California. I remember, finding an internship in Silicon Valley and then obtaining the visa had been a full-time job per se. I had no hesitation though; this had been my dream for so long… When after sending dozens of applications and going through various methods to get noticed I finally got contacted back by Hitachi, my dream started to become a reality. I was able to collect my visa the very day before my plane took off from Paris, which was one week after I obtained the necessary information to book the flight. My work started 2 days after I landed on at the international airport of San Jose with a little jet lag (9 hours).
The first weeks I couldn’t help being amazed by a multitude of things that, for local residents, seemed absolutely normal. I realized the video games about cars that I played when I was a child took their inspiration from these American gigantic road infrastructures. The size of the cars impressed me, too. That’s not even to mention that you see many Tesla cars every day during your commute. Or the fact that even though you’re driving on a 4-lane highway (minimum) it’s so packed that it’s kindly named “the parking lot” by residents. And what about that time when I first saw a Google autonomous car! The only thing that was even more surprising than seeing no hands on the steering wheel was that the driver was in his early twenties.
After driving you logically arrive at work. It’s not exactly the kind of office that you could find in France. The Hitachi facilities were built keeping in mind a Feng Shui spirit. There are many nice trees and rock-made fountains that make you feel relaxed, and we would always have lunch outside for this. You’re in Silicon Valley so you have a nice gym onsite, but I didn’t use it, I preferred to participate in tournaments organized by the company on the outdoor court. Playing volleyball and basketball in California was something to do! There was a nice team spirit and we had a lot of fun. Doing sport at lunch time gives you a sharper mind during the afternoon and makes you more productive. Great fact: people in Silicon Valley are smart. Ideas flow. Business gets done. That’s when you realize you need to focus on your strengths to make a difference!
What with hard work and most weekends spent away visiting California, time flew incredibly fast. I’ve met so many interesting people, many of which became friends. And here I am, my flight back in roughly a week and a half. This experience changed me. I now have a better understanding of the Silicon Valley atmosphere. Elon Musk, Richard Branson, Larry & Sergey, Bill Gates, and other star entrepreneurs have become an integral part of my culture. I would bet everything on IoT for the future when most French people still probably have no idea of what this is. If you want a good career in France you probably go in the finance sector. In Silicon Valley and the US possibilities are endless, encouraged by the numerous success stories of entrepreneurs who had a vision and achieved gathering people who were crazy enough to believe in it. Michael Dell, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and others are all college drop-outs with unique visions!
I’m very grateful to have been given a chance and honored to have proven myself a good fit in this very selective environment. I will now go back to France with memories that will keep me inspired for years. To those I’ve met who are reading this post, thank you for having been part of making this journey rock!