My International Internship at Page

Abubakr Ali is an international student trainee intern from Sudan, and he is the son of Hayder Ali, a well-respected architect in Africa. He has joined the Page Washington office for six months under the U.S. Government’s H-3 nonimmigrant visa program. As described on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration services website, this program allows a foreign national to temporarily come to the U.S. as a trainee to receive training in any field of endeavor, other than graduate medical education or training, that is not available in the foreign national’s home country. Abubakr shares his early involvement in the architecture field and his experience as an intern at Page.

The Denver AIA convention offered me my first glimpse into the world of professional architecture in the United States. I was blown away by the depth, size and continuous innovation of the profession. I jumped at the opportunity when my father’s friend and Secretary General of UIA Thomas Vonier, FAIA, envisioned the possibility of an internship in the U.S.

Thomas proposed the idea to Page Senior Principal James Wright, AIA. The required visa was obtained and a date was set for the start of my internship thanks to the continuous effort of James and Page Principal and Director of Human Resources Lisa Rosenfeld. I am extremely lucky to have such a dedicated boss as James. His patience, continuous research and tireless pursuit helped make the opportunity a reality.

I soon discovered his commitment reached far beyond just helping me. It was reflected in every aspect of his work, and it is a quality I also strive to achieve. Commitment is the central aspect of my work, and it enables me to gain the trust of the client. I also believe creativity is important to every architect, and it is especially crucial to me. It helps me deliver results and enjoy the process by finding creative solutions to problems and maintaining an innovative approach for every project.

One of my most memorable experiences was a 10 day workshop and youth jamboree held in Japan. It was my first time working on a group project with complete strangers, and I learned that brainstorming and bouncing ideas off others are huge contributors to the process of design. Working with multiple people reinforced my belief in the importance of collaboration. It is necessary and the basis to every successful project. I’m glad I had the opportunity to learn from my peers in Japan, and I look forward to acquiring more skills during my internship at Page in the U.S.

Page has multiple locations with over 400 employees, and its affiliation with various international projects and clients sparked my interest. I’m trying to at least gain the values that make Page an influential firm, and I hope one day I can learn how to create such a strong, sustainable and effective network of professionals.

I’ve already gained more knowledge in my short time at the Washington D.C. office. Everyone has been so welcoming and very supportive. They’ve helped me solve simple software problems at work and find local places to visit outside of it. So far, my internship has been awesome!

Contributed By

Abubakr Ali