Around the World in 450 Days

Filed in Exchange Visitor Reflections by on October 25, 2016 0 Comments


Bastien Chirat has been “extremely passionate about aeronautics” since long before he learned about the J-1 visa or exchange visitor programs. As a committed student at the French Civil Aviation University, he is pursuing a degree in engineering at a highly specialized university where he is gaining technical skills and learning applied econometrics and marketing within the industry. Finding the opportunity to apply his education in an internship setting abroad took deliberate planning!

Drawing on his enthusiasm and spirit of adventure, Bastien shares key aspects of his experience preparing for a series of global internships:

After I graduate, I would like to work for a large aviation company and focus on their international and political affairs. For this reason, I decided one year ago to begin a 15-month ‘world tour’ of the main stakeholders in civil aviation in three different regions of the world.

The main objectives of my adventure include:

  1. Understand the challenges an industry as competitive as aviation will face in the coming years.
  2. Understand the geopolitical and economic specificity of each market.
  3. Introduce myself to different work environments, cultures and languages.
  4. Gain perspective on my career and make the best professional choices possible.

j1-joureys-around-the-world-in-450-daysFor my first international experience, I am staying five months in the United States, as it is the most mature market in the aviation field worldwide. In October of 2015, I began looking for a small but dynamic American company to intern for.

As a French national and student at the unique L’Ecole Nationale de l’Aviation Civile (ENAC), I faced many difficulties trying to convince the companies I contacted of my qualifications and professional plan.

After several weeks, I decided to use the professional network provided by my school. I searched for former ENAC students who currently work in the United States and found several. I quickly focused on one particular opportunity: Jetcraft.  Based in Minneapolis, Jetcraft is the global leader in jet brokerage—not to mention the CEO is also French and studied at my school!

I took the opportunity to contact him and ask for an internship of five months at his company. It was a great opportunity for me because business aviation is highly competitive, it well represents the international context, and it is a field I did not study previously. After several weeks of negotiation he offered me an internship.

j1-journeys-bastian-ganeshI have been in Minneapolis since the beginning of June. During the first two months, I learned a lot about the industry including the specifics of each regional market and the technical characteristics of each aircraft.  Since August, I have been learning about the financial side of the business.  Indeed, I have been able to help the company devise the most accurate price for a specific aircraft and have assisted in building a mathematical pricing model.

After my stay in the United States, I will go on to Santiago, Chile for the second internship at the Santiago International Airport. I hope to learn even more about both technical and economic issues in aviation. For my final experience, I have chosen to go to South-East Asia, as it is the most dynamic and competitive market today. I still have to determine which company I will intern for, but I am eager to put all the experiences together at the end of my 15 month learning adventure.

My stay in the United States has helped me to understand the American way of thinking and doing business. I believe now I will be able to work with a variety of North American companies. I have no regrets about this fantastic experience and really wish everyone had the opportunity to experience such an adventure.