End of Program Reflection: Summer Work and Travel Winter 2019

We recently said goodbye to our winter 2019 group of Work and Travel participants. We know it’s bittersweet for everyone involved, but we feel grateful to have been a part of everyone’s journey. Our participants’ stories are integral to keeping Exchange Visitor programs alive. Their stories illustrate the impact of Exchange Programs, and we hope sharing them aids in strengthening America’s support for these programs and acts as a catalyst for other future Exchange Visitors to join the program. We hosted an End of Program Contest that 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. Choosing a winner was difficult, as we had so many amazing entries, but in the end, we were all moved by Micaela Destefano’s reflection on her time in the USA. Congratulations, Micaela!


END OF PROGRAM CONTEST WINNER

MICAELA DESTEFANO

This trip has been the most rich, interesting, powerful, mind opening, wonderful thing I’ve ever experienced. It made me realize I can’t stay at one place forever. I have to move, travel, meet new people, ask them about their culture, language, family, etc.

I’ve been in Orlando working as a lifeguard, a job that taught me so many things such as how to act quickly on an emergency and to work as a team among other things that I had to study. I have been working with such amazing people that were who made my trip like a dream.

It’s been 3 months full of training, mistakes, laughs and sharing moments with somebody different, somebody special in that moment, because that’s what is all about, sharing. I know everything has an end, but this one really hurt . I suffered and cried a lot; we really got attached with many of our US friends, and we didn’t know it was that hard to go back to our place. But now we know that, if we don’t meet again, this is people that we will have in our hearts for the rest of our lives, and we will remember each other in our best memories. I’m happy to have lived what I lived, and I know it’s not gonna happen twice. I left my mark, and they left it on me.

Thank you Orlando, magical days for me .


Enjoy submissions from a few of our other outstanding contenders below!

It was my first time in a lot things. My first time in an airplane, my first time going to another country, my first time living with friends and my first time and more staff. I really enjoyed the time I spend there because I learned so much, how to live alone, save money, cook, buy the necessary things for the house, keep good relations with coworkers and rommies and more! It was always my dream to know another country, make friends there and learn about their culture and I could thanks to this program! The best part is that I was with my friends and together could visit amazing places like the beaches, butterfly, downtown, aquarium, also Miami! I really mean when I say it was like a dream came true. I am opened my mind to new and different things I’ve never seen before. And now, more than ever, I want to travel and know new places. That’s why the cultural exchange is so important, to change your mind and become a better version of yourself. My favorite part was the weather because I love the sun, also I enjoyed the thunderstorm because it was something new for me, the people were so kind with us too. And that’s a fact we can realize. It was a pleasure for me to participate in this program and I hope to do it again. Thank you!  I love the photos because I think they are able to capture moments in the right way, that’s why I wanted to send more than a hundred, but there’s a limit in gmail. Same way I hope that with these photos you all can feel what they want to say, happiness and joy.  - Guilianno Mang / Key West, Florida

It was my first time in a lot things. My first time in an airplane, my first time going to another country, my first time living with friends and my first time and more staff. I really enjoyed the time I spend there because I learned so much, how to live alone, save money, cook, buy the necessary things for the house, keep good relations with coworkers and rommies and more! It was always my dream to know another country, make friends there and learn about their culture and I could thanks to this program! The best part is that I was with my friends and together could visit amazing places like the beaches, butterfly, downtown, aquarium, also Miami! I really mean when I say it was like a dream came true. I am opened my mind to new and different things I’ve never seen before. And now, more than ever, I want to travel and know new places. That’s why the cultural exchange is so important, to change your mind and become a better version of yourself. My favorite part was the weather because I love the sun, also I enjoyed the thunderstorm because it was something new for me, the people were so kind with us too. And that’s a fact we can realize. It was a pleasure for me to participate in this program and I hope to do it again. Thank you!

I love the photos because I think they are able to capture moments in the right way, that’s why I wanted to send more than a hundred, but there’s a limit in gmail. Same way I hope that with these photos you all can feel what they want to say, happiness and joy.

- Guilianno Mang / Key West, Florida

My experience in the United States was the best experience in my entire life. I learned a lot talking to my coworkers because they came from different countries and I really enjoyed listening to them talk about different lives. It was an experience that made me grow as a person because I had to do it on my own. All the custumers were always so kind to me that it was a pleasure to meet new people every day. About the other Argentines, I only have good things to say about them. Nothing would have been the same without them. They meant a lot to me. At the end of the program I went to Boston and New York with two of my friends that I met in Orlando and it was amazing getting to visit others cities while i was staying in the usa.  - Candela Vergini / Orlando, Florida

My experience in the United States was the best experience in my entire life. I learned a lot talking to my coworkers because they came from different countries and I really enjoyed listening to them talk about different lives. It was an experience that made me grow as a person because I had to do it on my own. All the custumers were always so kind to me that it was a pleasure to meet new people every day.
About the other Argentines, I only have good things to say about them. Nothing would have been the same without them. They meant a lot to me.
At the end of the program I went to Boston and New York with two of my friends that I met in Orlando and it was amazing getting to visit others cities while i was staying in the usa.

- Candela Vergini / Orlando, Florida

When I arrive I was a little distrustful. I still didn't understand at all when somebody speak me in english so I try to paid attention. As the days pass, I understood English a little better. So, at the end of the program, I realized that I understood every word that someone spoke to me. I really have to admit that this experience made me better. I learned to deal with all kinds of people. It made me mature with aspects that I would never have noticed here, in my country. I could understand how Americans think, some want to do business, others want to work in order to pay for their studies, etc. I feel that I win, I do not mean money, more than what I invested in this trip and experience. I have come satisfied, since I visited places I only dreamed of visiting like Disney, thanks WWCE for this opportunity.  - Marcelo Rivera Laos / Orlando, Florida

When I arrive I was a little distrustful. I still didn't understand at all when somebody speak me in english so I try to paid attention. As the days pass, I understood English a little better. So, at the end of the program, I realized that I understood every word that someone spoke to me. I really have to admit that this experience made me better. I learned to deal with all kinds of people. It made me mature with aspects that I would never have noticed here, in my country. I could understand how Americans think, some want to do business, others want to work in order to pay for their studies, etc. I feel that I win, I do not mean money, more than what I invested in this trip and experience. I have come satisfied, since I visited places I only dreamed of visiting like Disney, thanks WWCE for this opportunity.

- Marcelo Rivera Laos / Orlando, Florida

It was 3 months of a unique experience that I would like to be able that everyone in Brazil could have the same opportunity. I believe my view of the world has changed a lot. It was 3 months teaching children, showing one of the biggest parts of Brazil, Football. Each day was a different experience, trying to be the example for one of these children. I just have to thank you for everything that happened on this trip, and I could not only live American life. I managed to visit more than 5 different states in the country, without words to describe everything that happened to me.  - Klalbert Lima / Medford, Massachusetts

It was 3 months of a unique experience that I would like to be able that everyone in Brazil could have the same opportunity. I believe my view of the world has changed a lot. It was 3 months teaching children, showing one of the biggest parts of Brazil, Football. Each day was a different experience, trying to be the example for one of these children. I just have to thank you for everything that happened on this trip, and I could not only live American life. I managed to visit more than 5 different states in the country, without words to describe everything that happened to me.

- Klalbert Lima / Medford, Massachusetts

Traveling to the United States during my holidays these months was one of the most beautiful experiences where I spent the first time important dates like Christmas and New Year with people who were friendly and warm. I liked the stay and sharing with people from another culture some traditions of my culture as well as I knew and enjoyed their music, their food, their traditional celebrations like Mardi Gras until I got infected by their fondness for football and I help improve my English level. The program is important because it helps you to grow personally in the time I was in the USA. I had the opportunity to be more independent and responsible, allowed me to travel to other states and have fun.  - Leady Llacza / Lake Charles, Louisiana

Traveling to the United States during my holidays these months was one of the most beautiful experiences where I spent the first time important dates like Christmas and New Year with people who were friendly and warm. I liked the stay and sharing with people from another culture some traditions of my culture as well as I knew and enjoyed their music, their food, their traditional celebrations like Mardi Gras until I got infected by their fondness for football and I help improve my English level. The program is important because it helps you to grow personally in the time I was in the USA. I had the opportunity to be more independent and responsible, allowed me to travel to other states and have fun.

- Leady Llacza / Lake Charles, Louisiana

Why do I think cultural exchange is important? That sums up and simplifies into a couple words; Everything Changes. Why? Because you get to know about different cultures, and that makes someone open their minds. Not lying! For real! You get to know people with different ideas, way of thinking, religion (or atheists), sexuality, and as you keep on getting more and more knowledge and information from them and the new country that surrounds you, you start to perceive life in a different way, in a better way, so all of that starts to shape a better you, a more tolerant person; you kind of accept that not everyone is like you and that some of their believes are different, and what is good for them might be bad for you (and backwards) but that is because of their culture and traditions, so you start to wonder; what is wrong? what is not wrong? Nothing! It is all a matter of perception and where you were born and raised to.  - Daniela Munoz / Reno, Nevada

Why do I think cultural exchange is important? That sums up and simplifies into a couple words; Everything Changes. Why? Because you get to know about different cultures, and that makes someone open their minds. Not lying! For real! You get to know people with different ideas, way of thinking, religion (or atheists), sexuality, and as you keep on getting more and more knowledge and information from them and the new country that surrounds you, you start to perceive life in a different way, in a better way, so all of that starts to shape a better you, a more tolerant person; you kind of accept that not everyone is like you and that some of their believes are different, and what is good for them might be bad for you (and backwards) but that is because of their culture and traditions, so you start to wonder; what is wrong? what is not wrong? Nothing! It is all a matter of perception and where you were born and raised to.

- Daniela Munoz / Reno, Nevada

What was the best aspect from the time spent in the USA? Personally, I found quite difficult to find an only answer for that, as the whole experience is so great and extraordinary that is made of many many things.  Starting at the experience of living abroad without the family and in a different country with another language and culture. From this point of view, it is impossible not to highlight learning how to manage with your own money and responsabilities as work, food, times and timetable, and many others. Then, there is where people growth it self by getting it’s own risks and solving their problems by themself. Learning how to organice your self and taking responsabilities is some of the most important things I had learned from a cultural exchange.  Secondly, the relation with managers and coworkers (as roommates too) make people to growth in the personality in an incredible way, as they have to be polite, respectfull and responsable, either in situations not good at all. Being calm, think twice and acting in the correct way are some examples of personal growth, them are get in practice every single day in life, but the cultural exchange.  Lastly but not least. Improving another lanaguage is incredible when it is done in a native english country.  In conclusion, all of those aspects, where taken by myself as a teaching and where I am so happy to be.  - Luciano Wolkomirski / Key West, Florida

What was the best aspect from the time spent in the USA? Personally, I found quite difficult to find an only answer for that, as the whole experience is so great and extraordinary that is made of many many things.
Starting at the experience of living abroad without the family and in a different country with another language and culture. From this point of view, it is impossible not to highlight learning how to manage with your own money and responsabilities as work, food, times and timetable, and many others. Then, there is where people growth it self by getting it’s own risks and solving their problems by themself. Learning how to organice your self and taking responsabilities is some of the most important things I had learned from a cultural exchange.
Secondly, the relation with managers and coworkers (as roommates too) make people to growth in the personality in an incredible way, as they have to be polite, respectfull and responsable, either in situations not good at all. Being calm, think twice and acting in the correct way are some examples of personal growth, them are get in practice every single day in life, but the cultural exchange.
Lastly but not least. Improving another lanaguage is incredible when it is done in a native english country.
In conclusion, all of those aspects, where taken by myself as a teaching and where I am so happy to be.

- Luciano Wolkomirski / Key West, Florida

This program gave me a big experience about knowing other people not only from the US. I knew people from Puerto Rico too, and I made a wonderful friendship until today. They were always friendly with me and take care about everything that I need. This program gave me the chance to make my dream come true. It was to go to Disney parks which was an enjoyable experience. I met my favourite character which is Tinkerbell 🙈 it was a perfect moment that I will remember the rest of my life. I’ll definitely go back there because I want to repeat this experience as many times that I can. I recommend this program because it will give you some tools to learn how to live by yourself and how to be independent.  - Diana Ruiz / Orlando, Florida

This program gave me a big experience about knowing other people not only from the US. I knew people from Puerto Rico too, and I made a wonderful friendship until today. They were always friendly with me and take care about everything that I need. This program gave me the chance to make my dream come true. It was to go to Disney parks which was an enjoyable experience. I met my favourite character which is Tinkerbell 🙈 it was a perfect moment that I will remember the rest of my life. I’ll definitely go back there because I want to repeat this experience as many times that I can. I recommend this program because it will give you some tools to learn how to live by yourself and how to be independent.

- Diana Ruiz / Orlando, Florida

I have to say, every time I watch my photos I travel over the time and remember every feeling I had during this trip. As you know, life not always goes as we plan, and like it or not, there were days I felt I couldn't do it. The sunset in Key West, that beautiful masterpiece, made all my fears go away. It was a time for my, to meditate. In the other hand I can't forgot what I'm living right now. In the city that never sleeps (New York) I got to see a new and whole different life style, really fast life style. But also I watched a breathless sunset on the top of the amaizing Empire State Bulding, the Brookling bridge and a endless list of places I have no words to describe. On the last part, the inevitable Disney World's parks, the day I get to write this is the day after I watched the Happily Ever After show. I cryed like I little kid with a really big smile in my face. There I realized a lot of my dreams have made come true! Now I can't tell how gratefull I am. Every one that is doubting about doing this experience, don't. I promise, you won't regret it if you do it.  - Maria Silvina Marinoff Manfredi / Key West, Florida

I have to say, every time I watch my photos I travel over the time and remember every feeling I had during this trip. As you know, life not always goes as we plan, and like it or not, there were days I felt I couldn't do it. The sunset in Key West, that beautiful masterpiece, made all my fears go away. It was a time for my, to meditate. In the other hand I can't forgot what I'm living right now. In the city that never sleeps (New York) I got to see a new and whole different life style, really fast life style. But also I watched a breathless sunset on the top of the amaizing Empire State Bulding, the Brookling bridge and a endless list of places I have no words to describe. On the last part, the inevitable Disney World's parks, the day I get to write this is the day after I watched the Happily Ever After show. I cryed like I little kid with a really big smile in my face. There I realized a lot of my dreams have made come true! Now I can't tell how gratefull I am. Every one that is doubting about doing this experience, don't. I promise, you won't regret it if you do it.

- Maria Silvina Marinoff Manfredi / Key West, Florida

This trip has been one of the best experiences I ever had, I got to go to a lot of places, eat different kinds of food, meet different cultures, but what impacted me the most where the people at work, who tought me so many things, not only things related to the especific work I was doing, but also to be a better coworker, to care about others, to have fun even at work, I felt secure and loved, I will always take them wherever I go. The other pictures shows the the people who I've been living with, we've been through so many things together in such a short time, and each of them showed me something different, they tought me to enjoy life, even in hard times, to be happy, but most important they show me love, I know now I have sisters in the Us, Peru, Paraguay and Puerto Rico.  - Analia Cuellar / Orlando, Florida

This trip has been one of the best experiences I ever had, I got to go to a lot of places, eat different kinds of food, meet different cultures, but what impacted me the most where the people at work, who tought me so many things, not only things related to the especific work I was doing, but also to be a better coworker, to care about others, to have fun even at work, I felt secure and loved, I will always take them wherever I go. The other pictures shows the the people who I've been living with, we've been through so many things together in such a short time, and each of them showed me something different, they tought me to enjoy life, even in hard times, to be happy, but most important they show me love, I know now I have sisters in the Us, Peru, Paraguay and Puerto Rico.

- Analia Cuellar / Orlando, Florida

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