By Joaquin Hidalgo, Career Advancement Program Intern

While interning in Chicago, Joaquin had the opportunity to take improv classes at the famous Second City Theater. After months of taking classes, Joaquin performed on the Second City stage with his fellow classmates. Joaquin shared his memories from his final performance.

I’m standing in a long and narrow hallway… it’s dark here… I can hear people talking beyond the wall and I could see them through the curtain, but I don’t want to. In fact, I do, but I can’t. I’m doing my best not to despair. It’s only minutes now… or seconds… but the music is still playing. All is fine.

Suddenly the lights go off… it’s even darker this time, we all have each other’s backs… the music grows louder and suddenly the lights are on again… It’s Maurie’s time… he knows what he has to do. And then he goes beyond the wall to face his destiny, our destiny. We are all in this together, and that is probably the magic about it.

And so, lost in my thoughts I hear the key, I hear “nameless” and I know… it’s time to run, to go do what we’ve all been dying to do… to face that new adventure, the last one like this for some time.

The lights blind me… how long was I in that dark hallway… maybe I wish my family was here, but no time for that… oh, are those Will and Megan looking my way? Did Derek and Christine also come? I’m not alone, they also have my back.

The audience is eager to see us perform; it’s our friends (mostly not mine) and families (for sure not mine). We are ready… we’ve been preparing at Second City for close to one year to be able to do this, to do something we all learned to love – to improvise – something that will hopefully make someone happier, if even for an instant.

And so, without further ado… it’s time to turn off this side of the brain and enjoy. The first game starts, and with it my first scene of my final show. The first game finishes… many laughs shared, but there’s more to go. And so comes the second game, and the third, and the fourth and finally our closing game. And now we are singing and fooling around, we are playing, like kids, but we are not kids. This is actually really fun.
Somehow the show went by… somehow we are trying to bow to the audience… somehow it’s Blake there now thanking our teacher/coach, thanking our friends and families, thanking Jeff on the piano… and that’s it.

Now I’m sitting at Terminal 1 in O’Hare Airport waiting for a plane that will take me home. I wanted to share what my year was like and I couldn’t find a better way to express it than with what I felt during my last performance at Second City. This year was a roller coaster of emotions, while going to Second City every Saturday from 1-4 was a constant.

What started as a game, as a “ha, would I be able to do improv in a foreign language”, became something much bigger, something that I hope to continue doing throughout my entire life. Without realizing it, the strangers I met turned into my friends.

This year I learned a lot of things, and grew a lot as a person, as an engineer and hopefully as a comic.

As a final note I’d like to thank CCI Greenheart for all the help provided, ever since the mere idea of traveling to the U.S. started. I’d like to say that without a doubt this story will always be with me mainly because I chose to follow a crazy dream, which left me with new knowledge and lots of new friends.

If you got to this point in the text, thank you so much for reading.

-Joaquin Hidalgo

Interested in interning or training in the United States? Learn more about the J-1 Intern/Trainee visa and the Career Advancement Program by visiting our page.