End of Program Reflection: Summer Work and Travel Spring 2019

As our spring season cultural exchange program ended, we asked our participant to share photos of their time abroad and write a mini-essay explaining what they learned and gained from the program and why they feel cultural exchange is important. Our participants’ perspectives encourage the next generation of cultural exchange participants and their stories play a key role in ensuring the longevity of cultural exchanges!


Congratulations to our winner:

Janina Moreira

Everything is about friends, good memories and delicious food!!!
I have no words to describe how incredible was my experience as a J1 in the US.
I made the decision to embark on this trip to feel a little more independent and start to use myself to create an impact on the people I know, and I did it! I’m a very different person now. The fact of working and earning my own money to be able to "survive" in another country where I don’t have my family was a very daring decision and a lot of help to prepare me for the future. The American culture is wonderful and very diverse in all the possible ways, knowing it helped me open my mind more and now I see the world differently, and that is something very positive.
I think the part that most touched me of all my exchange was meeting new people who became lifelong friends. Starting by the incredible girls who lived with me, and my co-workers, that with the passing of days, they were gaining my confidence and helped me to improve my English so I could start conversations that I could not do before, and that made me feel very good. And not to mention the food!!! The buffets, the pizzas, the McDonald's itself! Everything was so wonderful that just remembering it makes me want to return at this moment (If I tell you a secret, I could tell you that the walks to work were the ones that did not let me get fat, without it I do not know what would become of me now).
Anyway, everything that covered my stay in Orlando was crazy. I can say that I am in love with that city and that if in the future I have the opportunity to repeat the experience, I would do it without any doubt!
The WWCE made my stay the best of all, the organization and the concern for all the students is admirable.
Melancholy invades me every time I remember my life in the United States. That wasn’t  3 months of my life, it was a whole life made in 3 months.  Thanks a lot. Life will not reach me to thank them for everything you did for me.


Thank you to all our participants who entered!

Living this kind of experiences is something everyone should try, at least one time in their life. Not only because you get to know different places, travel around or get to that place you always wanted to go, but because you have the opportunity to know people from all around the world, learn about their culture, improve yourself and also go through things you’ll never do if you stay in your comfort zone. It’s not only an escape from your daily life, but an opportunity to do things you never thought you’ll do! I really enjoyed my experience here, even all those difficult times where I had to do imposibles to go through. I was able to learn a little from every experience and now I fell I’m more prepared to face anything. If someone asks me if I’ll do all this journey again, with all the up and downs, it’ll be a definitely yes from me. I still have a lot to live and a lot to learn, a lot of people to know and infinitely places to visit! I am thankful for this opportunity, but most than all, I’m thankful for the people and the friends I made in this Work and Travel, because every one of them are long living friends, you get to bond with everyone and I love that! The culture is amazing and everything is a adventure, since the most simple thing like using a bus and getting lost in the city, going to the top of a mountain in a crazy hiking, taking a two hour trip to get anywhere and innumerable things that I could bring on! Everything is an adventure. I won’t change anything of this journey I had to live!  - Gustavo Serrano / Valencia, CA

Living this kind of experiences is something everyone should try, at least one time in their life. Not only because you get to know different places, travel around or get to that place you always wanted to go, but because you have the opportunity to know people from all around the world, learn about their culture, improve yourself and also go through things you’ll never do if you stay in your comfort zone.
It’s not only an escape from your daily life, but an opportunity to do things you never thought you’ll do! I really enjoyed my experience here, even all those difficult times where I had to do imposibles to go through. I was able to learn a little from every experience and now I fell I’m more prepared to face anything.
If someone asks me if I’ll do all this journey again, with all the up and downs, it’ll be a definitely yes from me. I still have a lot to live and a lot to learn, a lot of people to know and infinitely places to visit!
I am thankful for this opportunity, but most than all, I’m thankful for the people and the friends I made in this Work and Travel, because every one of them are long living friends, you get to bond with everyone and I love that!
The culture is amazing and everything is a adventure, since the most simple thing like using a bus and getting lost in the city, going to the top of a mountain in a crazy hiking, taking a two hour trip to get anywhere and innumerable things that I could bring on! Everything is an adventure.
I won’t change anything of this journey I had to live!

- Gustavo Serrano / Valencia, CA

As an EV I really increased my English speaking and knowledge and It was not only for working at six flags, It was because the family I stayed with was incredible. Janice, my hostess, is an amazing woman. She showed us some places and we went to Las Vegas!  In my first week I spend the nights walking around and It was wonderful cause we experimented a lot of activities like eating tacos in downtown in a really cold night, that was crazy. We also walked over the Hollywood boulevard and that was my best night ever because I found all my favorite artists stars and I decided LA as my destination for the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. Then when we started at Six Flags, I really liked we could spend time in the park after our training and I really love pizza, thanks for that! I enjoyed being a photographer, especially for my coworkers, it was a great working atmosphere. We also visited the Poppy reservation and Vasquez Rocks; both were amazing spots for photos and relax. We had fun in Las Vegas and Seven Magic Mountains, and I had the opportunity to attend to the Avengers Endgame Premiere that I was waiting for the whole program. When the final days were arriving our hostess decided to take us to everywhere at every time we could so we made a lot of good memories with her and all around our city, so I think I should go back next year and definitely to LA again.  Jeffrey Prado / Valencia, CA

As an EV I really increased my English speaking and knowledge and It was not only for working at six flags, It was because the family I stayed with was incredible. Janice, my hostess, is an amazing woman. She showed us some places and we went to Las Vegas!
In my first week I spend the nights walking around and It was wonderful cause we experimented a lot of activities like eating tacos in downtown in a really cold night, that was crazy. We also walked over the Hollywood boulevard and that was my best night ever because I found all my favorite artists stars and I decided LA as my destination for the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.
Then when we started at Six Flags, I really liked we could spend time in the park after our training and I really love pizza, thanks for that!
I enjoyed being a photographer, especially for my coworkers, it was a great working atmosphere.
We also visited the Poppy reservation and Vasquez Rocks; both were amazing spots for photos and relax. We had fun in Las Vegas and Seven Magic Mountains, and I had the opportunity to attend to the Avengers Endgame Premiere that I was waiting for the whole program.
When the final days were arriving our hostess decided to take us to everywhere at every time we could so we made a lot of good memories with her and all around our city, so I think I should go back next year and definitely to LA again.

Jeffrey Prado / Valencia, CA

So the most incredible thing was to work in six flags, make some new friends, talk in english, interactive with guests and learn a lot of english. The city is incredible, you can do a lot of things like going out, museums, know the beach, and the food is good too.  - Romina Pulley / Valencia, CA

So the most incredible thing was to work in six flags, make some new friends, talk in english, interactive with guests and learn a lot of english. The city is incredible, you can do a lot of things like going out, museums, know the beach, and the food is good too.

- Romina Pulley / Valencia, CA

I made many friends and everyday I learned from each one. I love Mexican food especially burritos and enchiladas. At the beginning I don't like spicy food but now I miss it. This program helped me grow as a person and it make me to have a broader vision of the life. California is a beautiful state with wonderful things and the culture is wide due to there are a lot of foreigners. One of the most exciting cultural activities were going to Santa Monica and eating in Bubba Gump, it was so delicious. I went to Hollywood, Las Vegas, El Monte, Venice beach, Malibu, San Pedro, Santa Clarita and some museums where I learned more about their culture. The weather is so strange because sometimes it's very cold and other times is very hot but the hood thing is that the heat is dry, the people don't sweat. The work was great because workers had free access to all rides, the food in Six Flags is so good in special chicken quesadillas but I really love funnel cake. My favorite rides are Crazynity, twisted Colossus, X2 and the best Tatsu. Everyday I learned more about Six Flags team. I lived in Santa Clarita with a wonderful family, they helped me a lot. Sometimes they gave me food and a couple of times they invited me to eat outside. I had all the amenities. They became one more family. My English improved a lot and some friends from work learned Spanish thanks to me.  - Maria Jose Garcia Coloma / Valencia, CA

I made many friends and everyday I learned from each one. I love Mexican food especially burritos and enchiladas. At the beginning I don't like spicy food but now I miss it. This program helped me grow as a person and it make me to have a broader vision of the life. California is a beautiful state with wonderful things and the culture is wide due to there are a lot of foreigners. One of the most exciting cultural activities were going to Santa Monica and eating in Bubba Gump, it was so delicious. I went to Hollywood, Las Vegas, El Monte, Venice beach, Malibu, San Pedro, Santa Clarita and some museums where I learned more about their culture. The weather is so strange because sometimes it's very cold and other times is very hot but the hood thing is that the heat is dry, the people don't sweat. The work was great because workers had free access to all rides, the food in Six Flags is so good in special chicken quesadillas but I really love funnel cake. My favorite rides are Crazynity, twisted Colossus, X2 and the best Tatsu. Everyday I learned more about Six Flags team. I lived in Santa Clarita with a wonderful family, they helped me a lot. Sometimes they gave me food and a couple of times they invited me to eat outside. I had all the amenities. They became one more family. My English improved a lot and some friends from work learned Spanish thanks to me.

- Maria Jose Garcia Coloma / Valencia, CA

My time there was so amazing. I learned a lot of. I think that people in USA work really hard. There i learned to be more independent cook, take the bus, wash all by myself. I met nice people there one is Larry He is so nice, he brought me and my friends to Disneyland. We spent a nice time there. Disneyland is incredible a lot colors, they have amazing shows with all the characters that i love The second one is my boyfriend. Its a little weird because i never thinking known him, He is from Philippines and I from Ecuador. We are from so different countries but we spent a wonderfull time together even i learned his languaje actually i forget haha but i remember samalat that is thank you. I taught him Spanish he is better than me, he learn so fast. We still together. I have more good things there like bads. Its not bad but the weather there is so cold and in my country is always hot so that was a little bad. When I was there I really missed Ecuadorian food, now Im eating a lot Ecuadorian food hahaa I really like to go again there.  - Katherine Flores Cadena / Valencia, CA

My time there was so amazing. I learned a lot of. I think that people in USA work really hard.
There i learned to be more independent cook, take the bus, wash all by myself.
I met nice people there one is Larry He is so nice, he brought me and my friends to Disneyland. We spent a nice time there. Disneyland is incredible a lot colors, they have amazing shows with all the characters that i love
The second one is my boyfriend. Its a little weird because i never thinking known him, He is from Philippines and I from Ecuador. We are from so different countries but we spent a wonderfull time together even i learned his languaje actually i forget haha but i remember samalat that is thank you. I taught him Spanish he is better than me, he learn so fast. We still together.
I have more good things there like bads. Its not bad but the weather there is so cold and in my country is always hot so that was a little bad. When I was there I really missed Ecuadorian food, now Im eating a lot Ecuadorian food hahaa
I really like to go again there.

- Katherine Flores Cadena / Valencia, CA

Well when I arrived I just loved the city, I learned how to be independent and how to save money to buy food and clothes, I think cultural exchange is important because it provides an opportunity to explore other cultures, traditions, customs, beliefs, societies, languages and much more. Hence, such opportunities make you view the world with a different lens. This provides alternative perspectives! I met new friends that of course I’m gonna miss and learn about them cause they’re so different comparing to Ecuador people. Diversity is beautiful. It is the pre-requisite of unity. Unity, instead of uniformity, creates tolerance, acceptance and flexibility. To attain unity, it is necessary to appreciate diversity. Cultural exchanges help us do just that. When one experiences other cultures, view the world with another lens, accept the “other”, one understands the very essence of diversity which is the first step towards attaining unity.  - Emily Viteri / Valencia, CA

Well when I arrived I just loved the city, I learned how to be independent and how to save money to buy food and clothes, I think cultural exchange is important because it provides an opportunity to explore other cultures, traditions, customs, beliefs, societies, languages and much more. Hence, such opportunities make you view the world with a different lens. This provides alternative perspectives! I met new friends that of course I’m gonna miss and learn about them cause they’re so different comparing to Ecuador people. Diversity is beautiful. It is the pre-requisite of unity. Unity, instead of uniformity, creates tolerance, acceptance and flexibility. To attain unity, it is necessary to appreciate diversity. Cultural exchanges help us do just that. When one experiences other cultures, view the world with another lens, accept the “other”, one understands the very essence of diversity which is the first step towards attaining unity.

- Emily Viteri / Valencia, CA

For me this has been the best experience of my life, in this time I learned to be more independent, to value the daily effort. During work I made many friends, for me it was fun to go to work. I also went out for a walk with my friends, went to BJ'S, to eat spicy wings, to the beach, to Hollywood and Santa Monica. I made such good friends that they cried when I had to say goodbye and they said they expect me next year at Six Flags Magic Mountain. Cultural exchanges are the perfect experience to be able to strengthen one's skills, to make many friends and share a bit of your culture with people who sometimes do not know your country but then want to know it thanks to you. Thanks for everything and I hope to return next year to Six Flags Magic Mountain.  - Bryan Rosado / Valencia, CA

For me this has been the best experience of my life, in this time I learned to be more independent, to value the daily effort. During work I made many friends, for me it was fun to go to work. I also went out for a walk with my friends, went to BJ'S, to eat spicy wings, to the beach, to Hollywood and Santa Monica. I made such good friends that they cried when I had to say goodbye and they said they expect me next year at Six Flags Magic Mountain. Cultural exchanges are the perfect experience to be able to strengthen one's skills, to make many friends and share a bit of your culture with people who sometimes do not know your country but then want to know it thanks to you. Thanks for everything and I hope to return next year to Six Flags Magic Mountain.

- Bryan Rosado / Valencia, CA

Work and travel Spring 2019 program has been one of the best experiences of my life. I was able to get to know the United States, work in the Galaxy Bowl Restaurant of Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort, enjoy Universal's parks (Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, Volcano Bay), visit Sea World and Busch Gardens Tampa, visit Clear Water Beach and Miami Beach, meet people from different countries (they are very nice), share my culture, improve my English and above all, grow as a person. Thanks WWCE for this great experience and opportunity.  - Zoila Andrade / Orlando, FL

Work and travel Spring 2019 program has been one of the best experiences of my life. I was able to get to know the United States, work in the Galaxy Bowl Restaurant of Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort, enjoy Universal's parks (Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, Volcano Bay), visit Sea World and Busch Gardens Tampa, visit Clear Water Beach and Miami Beach, meet people from different countries (they are very nice), share my culture, improve my English and above all, grow as a person.
Thanks WWCE for this great experience and opportunity.

- Zoila Andrade / Orlando, FL

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