When Michael Jonstrup came to the United States from a dairy farm in Vraa, Denmark, he knew he truly wanted to fulfill his experience during his eight months of training on the J-1 visa program. Jonstrup had a goal to embrace all aspects of the American culture and to see as much of the country as he could. “I really had no hesitations and wasn’t nervous about coming to the United States; this was an adventure for me. I want to travel and see as much as I can while I am here in the United States.”
Since arriving in the United States, Jonstrup has already traveled to see the bright lights of New York City, the Badlands of western North Dakota, Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, and the waters of Florida. Jonstrup hopes to return to Mount Rushmore with his family when they visit from Denmark in September. Yet Jonstrup’s list of places to travel is still quite large. “I may have to come back another time to see more of the United States.” Even before returning home in December, Jonstrup hopes to see a show in Las Vegas and walk the beaches in California. “I was even lucky enough to watch the fireworks on the Fourth of July in New York City and be barricaded on a road by a herd of buffalo traveling through Montana. I have also made many friends with the local trainees and we went on a 2400 mile road trip together.”
Jonstrup ventured to Minnesota last April to learn new farming techniques on a crops farm that produces corn, wheat, sugar beets, and soybeans. One of the many new skills Jonstrup has gained while training on the Minnesota farm is driving a combine for wheat harvest. “Although I started driving a tractor at the age of six, this was the first time in my life driving a combine,” said Jonstrup. “Working on a crops farm is very different from my dairy farm in Denmark and it has been a great experience for me since we do not use the same equipment back home, such as combines.”
Growing up on a dairy farm, Michael learned the value of hard work at a very young age. “My father would always joke with me saying, ‘you have to work for your food’ and I am so glad that he did,” Jonstrup chuckled. “He instilled a sense of dedication and a strong work ethic in me that is irreplaceable.”
When first arriving in the United States, Jonstrup shared how he was very worried about his English, but within a few short months his language skills have already drastically improved.
Back in Denmark, a friend of Jonstrup’s told him about CAEP and the life-changing experience he had training in the United States. “My friend told me CAEP was very helpful with all the paperwork and he was right! They (CAEP) have always been there for me. Working with CAEP has been a good experience and I am very happy I came to the United States. I will definitely recommend the program to my friends when I return home to Denmark.”