My Life-changing Summer Work & Travel Experience
‘I wish I were more courageous, more confident in my own abilities and more self-reliant. I wish I could travel to new places, meet new people and learn about different cultures.’ These words were constantly running through my mind in the summer of 2010. Little did I know that once I embarked on a journey across the Atlantic Ocean, I would make my dreams and wishes a reality.
Being outside of my comfort zone and traveling all by myself (to beautiful Glacier National Park, Montana) were the best ‘teachers’ I ever had. The Work & Travel experience taught me to be more tolerant and accepting of people who are completely different than me, helped me become more responsible and mature and made me a better person in general.
The USA turned out to be so much more than what I knew from movies, TV shows, cartoons, books and what other people told me about it. Some of the things that have made a strong and lasting impression on me from my American experience are the following:
– No matter where you’re from and what color your skin has, you can definitely get along with people who are extremely different than you and coexist peacefully, as long as you are tolerant, practice empathy and are respectful of one another. Romanians, Americans, Ukrainians, Chinese, we all learned to live together under the same roof and although we sometimes had some tensions to overcome, we managed to put aside our differences and work, live and have fun together.
– Americans smile a lot and although sometimes it may seem superficial, most of the time they genuinely feel happy and want you to feel welcome. This also says a lot about who they are as a people and the positive energy they want to spread in the world. I wish more people would realize just how important it is to be nice and would smile more often. I sure do. J
– People are the same wherever you go because good and bad exist in all of us. I was lucky enough to get to know mostly good people who helped me adapt to a new environment and a different culture. So many Americans invited me into their houses, into their lives and showed me what true generosity and hospitality feel like.
BBQs, bonfires, parties, rafting, hiking, dancing nights, trivia nights are just a few examples of the things that made my experience in the US unforgettable. I feel thankful and blessed to call some of the people I met there my friends and I will forever cherish our moments together.
Applying to this cultural exchange program has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life because it shaped the way I am today and enriched my life in ways I didn’t even think possible.
Ionescu Andreea Maria
My first experience with Work and Travel was probably the best thing that could ever happen to me. Being 18 years old and traveling on the rim of the world is not easy for anyone unless you have a strong will and curiosity of discovering the American continent, new places, new cultures and new FRIENDS.
The first thing that you see when entering in The U.S.A is diversity, people who work together, who play together and love each other no matter what race, color, religion, sexuality they are. This is actually the most important thing that I learnt while in America: to love more and judge less.
The very second thing that I did not expect and happened was that I made friends starting with day 1, these friends have actually become my second family. We had great times together, I discovered new cultures, their habits and their cuisine as each week one of us had to make a traditional dinner and invite over the others. And what is the most important, we are still friends after we came back from The U.S.A, this is how I got to visit Ukraine to see the girl I shared my room with.
After months of working, we were able to travel all over the American continent and so I chose New York City. I will never forget the feeling that I got when the pilot said: “Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to The Big Apple”.
I have seen NYC in movies many times, but nothing compares to the feeling of actually being there, gazing at the The Empire State Building, walking on 5th Avenue and feeling like Carry Bradshaw in Sex and The City, wandering on Brooklyn Bridge and getting lost on the streets of Manhattan. I could not find any word to describe how I felt while being there. Everything is above your expectations.
If someone asks me what Work and Travel meant to me, my answer is simple: A freedom lesson held by America, a life lesson that allowed me to make friends, see places and most important discover cultures from more than 20 countries. Long live America!
Nae Ana Maria
It was summer back then; I was 20 and lived my dream.It wasn’t just the American Dream; it was my favourite summer story. I got off from the plane scared and excited, with a bag full of emotions.In four months, USA became my home away from home, where I got out from my comfort zone, I experienced a new culture, I laughed from the bottom of my heart with strangers that turned into friends, I saw the world from 1,353 feet in the air, I experienced the thrill of a helicopter ride and I learned that summer is too short to have regrets. I came back with the bag full of memories, feelings and moments. I expected to like but I love it so I decided to go back last summer, to see again the people with which I made Skype calls too many times, shared too many songs and sent too many postcards. In America I found the summers of my heart: I lived, I travelled, I felt and I can say that these experiences are all about the stories I wrote with the people that I met in the places that I saw.
It’s hard to find words when it’s about my summer in USA. I still remember my reaction when I have arrived in Chicago “Oh my God, is exactly like in the movies!”
My summer experience in USA was above living the “American Dream”. Was about hard working, meeting different types of people from around the world, was about multiculturalism, friends and respect.
As a cultural shock was the fact that I didn’t see it before such patriotism and appurtenance for a country or for the place where someone is living in. It’s just amazing how many different cultures from a small village to big cities are making together America such a great country.
I wish to see everywhere in the world the attitude regarding customer service and the way that families are celebrating each feast in such a fun way.
Do I have regrets? Normally no, but regarding the work and travel program I do regret that fact that I went there just two times.
But I am very happy that I convinced many friends and students to participate and each of them feels like their lives are changed after a work and travel summer.
Stoenica Andrada Corina
A lucky generation
There are experiences in life responsible for how you decide to live the rest of your life.
I will admit, if I wouldn’t have travelled and lived abroad, I would probably be half of the person I am today.
I am happy, proud, confident, open-minded and motivated. I’ve made friends for life with people from all over the world. And as we go on in life, we will always remember all the good times we had together. I had the opportunity to see the United States from the very hot and humid South to the very North with the beautiful Niagara Falls and from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. I found the theme park I worked for so amazing that it inspired me to write my dissertation paper about it.
I didn’t expect people to be so friendly and smiling. This helped me to embrace all that was new and different.
I am part of a lucky generation. We can make a difference and become members of a society where respecting other cultures is a sign of maturity, learning from other cultures is a way to become better people and living experiences outside our comfort zone actually means living.
Thousands of Romanian students have gone to the U.S. in the past 15 years through the Summer Work Travel Program. They made friends, and they visited well-known cities and national parks. Are you one of them? Participate in our FB contest and you can win one of the 5 invitations for two persons to the Embassy’s Independence Day reception to be hosted at the U.S. Embassy on July 4.
- Contestants must be Romanian nationals who have participated in the Summer Work Travel Program.
- The contest commences on June 13, 2017 and closes at 23:59 on June 25, 2017. The person submitting the entry will be considered the contestant and will be the only person eligible to compete for the prize.
- Employees of the U.S. Government and their families will not be eligible to participate in this competition.
How to Enter:
- Write a 200 words-long paragraph in English about what cultural experience in the United States was most different from what you expected on departure.
- E-mail your short essay and a photo that best describes your Summer Work Travel cultural exchange to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Summer Work Travel Facebook Contest” no later than June 25 at midnight. Please name your essay file with your full name. If your entry is received and accepted, you will receive a confirmation e-mail. If you receive no confirmation, call 021-200-3704 for details on re-submission.
- Along with your essay and photo, please send your full name, date of birth, and a valid phone number.
- Once you submit an essay and a photo, it is considered a final submission and you may not modify, edit, or replace it. You may submit ONLY one entry. Participation in this contest is automatically deemed as acceptance of these Official Contest Rules.
- be plagiarized from other texts or the works of other authors;
- be sexually explicit or suggestive, or derogatory of any ethnic, racial, gender, religious, professional or age group or the disabled, or be pornographic;
- promote alcohol, illegal drugs, tobacco, firearms/weapons (or the use of any of the foregoing), any activities that may appear unsafe or dangerous, or any particular political agenda or message;
- defame, misrepresent or contain disparaging remarks about other people or companies;
- contain any prominent use of trademarks, logos or trade dress (such as distinctive packaging or building exteriors/interiors) owned by others as determined by the U.S. Embassy Bucharest, or advertise or promote any brand or product of any kind, or contain any personal identification, such as license plate numbers, personal names, e-mail addresses or street addresses;
- contain prominent copyrighted materials owned by others as determined by the U.S. Embassy Bucharest;
- contain materials embodying the names, likenesses or other indicia identifying any person, living or dead without permission;
- communicate messages or images inconsistent with the positive images and/or goodwill to which the U.S. Embassy Bucharest wishes to associate;
- depict or be in violation of any law or otherwise.
- depict or otherwise identify a minor unless a parent or legal guardian is the entrant.
Selection of Winners
All submitted essays will be analyzed by a panel of judges comprised of U.S. Embassy diplomats.
Terms & Rights
By entering you represent and warrant and agree that:
You have produced and submitted the Entry and all elements of your Entry are original, are not copied from any other work and do not infringe upon the rights of any third party. To the extent any elements were created by a third party (“Third Party Participant”), you own all right, title and interest to said elements which is part of your Entry to enable you to grant the rights granted herein.
You retain ownership of the Entry(ies) you submit, however, by entering you, on behalf of yourself and any Third Party Participants, grant the U.S. Embassy, Bucharest the perpetual, fully-paid, irrevocable, non-exclusive license to publish, reproduce, prepare derivative works of, distribute, display, exhibit, transmit, broadcast, televise, digitize, otherwise use, and permit others to use and perform throughout the world the Entry in any manner, form, or format now or hereinafter created, including on the Internet, and for any purpose, including, but not limited to, advertising or promotion of Contest Entities and Contest all without further consent from or payment to you, including those Entry(ies) which were not selected. By submitting your Entry(ies), you agree that the U.S. Embassy Bucharest has no obligation to post or publish your Entry, that all such postings or publication, if any, will be in the U.S. Embassy, Bucharest’s sole discretion and that the posting or publication of a Entry does not guarantee the Entry will be selected as a winner.
By submitting an Entry, each entrant understands and grants to the U.S. Embassy, Bucharest permission for his/her Entry to be posted on the Embassy’s Facebook, YouTube, and web pages in perpetuity throughout the world for viewing by visitors to the Websites. The U.S. Embassy Bucharest is not responsible for any unauthorized third party use of any Entry. Entries will not be acknowledged and will not be received or held “in confidence” and a submission does not create a confidential relationship or obligation of secrecy between you and the U.S. Embassy, Bucharest or any of its affiliates.
Each Entry must not infringe upon the copyrights, trademarks, rights of privacy, publicity or other intellectual property or other rights of any person or entity. If the Entry contains any material or elements that are not owned by the entrant and/or which are subject to the rights of third parties, the entrant is responsible for obtaining, prior to submission of the Entry, any and all releases and consents necessary to permit the use and exhibition of the Entry by the U.S. Embassy, Bucharest in the manner set forth in these Official Rules. The U.S. Embassy, Bucharest reserves the right to request proof of these permissions in a form acceptable to them from any entrant at any time. By submitting an Entry, entrant warrants and represents that he/she consents to the submission and use of the Entry in the Contest, and to its posting on the US Embassy, Bucharest or other USG web pages.
The U.S. Embassy Bucharest reserves the right to disqualify any Entry for any reason, in its sole and absolute discretion. The U.S. Embassy Bucharest is under no obligation to disclose why an Entry has been disqualified other than the Entry was ineligible under these Official Rules. Furthermore, U.S. Embassy Bucharest reserves the right to not award any prize if, in its sole and absolute discretion, it does not receive a sufficient number of eligible and qualified entries in the entry period.