June 2019 Most Valuable Participant: Korina Bildan

Congratulations, Korina! WWCE selected you because of your kind personality. We have received great feedback about you from both our housing coordinators and your employer. You have been an impactful community member by donating to many charities in Louisville this year. We’re lucky to have you on our program!

Name: Korina Bildan

Position: Banquet Attendant, Food and Beverage Department

Location: The Brown Hotel / Louisville, KY

Why did you choose to come on a Cultural Exchange Training program? How are you hoping to apply this program once you’ve returned home? I decided to participate in the Cultural Exchange Program because I've always loved traveling. There is just something about getting to see different places, to meet people, to experience different cultures and traditions, etc., that is so satisfying and fulfilling on my part. The Program gave me all of those plus I was able to get training and experience on the industry I would love to have a career in. The program gave me a real preview of what the industry is about, how it works, all its positives and negatives, and that is, for me, the start of a journey to the career path I would love to pursue.

What is one of the biggest culture difference from the US and your home country? There is a few, but one that comes to mind is; Work Practice, to be specific among others, Filipinos embrace overtime, its such a big thing back home and a "positive" thing too! For us it simply means you're giving extra time to do your job or tasks and its seen as something good, accepted. American culture has a different view on overtime, "if you do overtime it means you were unable to do the job/tasks within the alloted time", is the common reason I hear during casual conversations about the difference. It isn't necessarily a negative thing, but there is definitely a difference on the perspective of the mentioned topic.

How did this program help you gain independence? The program allowed me to be independent completely. I came here knowing no one, and basically going into a culture that growing up, I was not accustomed to or exposed to. It was a little difficult at first, honestly, but my employer, my sponsors, all the people who were with me from the very beginning and specially the friends I gained here, have helped me to adapt and enjoy my stay in the country. And that is all because the Program allowed us to have that opportunity.

How does the hospitality industry in the US differ from your home country? Hospitality in the US, to describe it in one word is, Professional. Filipino's is too, but hospitality back home is a little warmer, like you're visiting a family member's home, like getting welcomed by your grandma and grandpa after not seeing them for awhile. Its homey. US hospitality follows standards and professionalism from page 1 to the very last page of the hospitality book. There is the assurance of everything going as planned, or at least as close to it as possible. Its a good thing, really, because you are getting exactly what you paid for. Filipino hospitality also has policies and standards that are followed, but its more like something we read about and put to mind, but the service itself is more personal and just a little bit more from the heart 😂

What has been the most memorable aspect of your program? The most memorable aspect of the whole program are the people I met and now consider friends. The experiences and trainings I got are important and memorable too. But my friends here will always be the reminder to me of how much I adore and love traveling.

K.Leigh Furzer