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I’m a lucky girl

July 25, 2014

By: Yu Yang (Alina), Work and Travel Summer 2014 Ambassador Scholar

Yu Yang (American name, Alina) is a Work and Travel participant from China, working at Big Mountain Deli & Creperey in Lake Placid, NY. In her first blog post, she shares how she enjoys her time working in the Adirondack Mountains.

I am a 20-year-old girl from China, participating in CCI Greenheart’s Work and Travel program. I have lived in Lake Placid, NY for almost 3 months. It is an amazing place with awesome scenery and friendly and warm-hearted people. My workplace is Big Mountain Deli & Creperey located at 2475 Main Street, Lake Placid, NY. I enjoy working here because it is a good workplace and my colleagues and employers are so kind. They encourage me and cheer me up even though I make mistakes.

I think my workplace is amazing! We sell 46 different types of delicious sandwiches, more than 20 kinds of crepes, 4 different smoothies which are very popular and 8 kinds of tasty salads. There are also various beverages and drinks.

My schedule changes every week and I do different tasks according to the schedule. It’s really interesting to learn new things! I am assigned making sandwiches or crepes. Sometimes I do the preparation work like slicing the meat, making sweet or savory batter for crepes, and washing dishes.

At the beginning, it was a challenge for me to remember so many different ingredients including the meats, cheeses, sauces, dressings, vegetables and other things. But making sandwiches, crepes, smoothies, and salads is fun! Doing the dishes for a long time is tiring, but my friends and I will take turns doing the dishes. What powerful teamwork!

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We need to clean and change all of the containers every day to keep the ingredients fresh after we close. We use plastic wrap to keep the ingredients in the refrigerator fresh.Before we leave, everyone does “spring cleaning” which includes wiping the tables, cleaning the floor, and refilling anything that is running out.

I think I’m a lucky girl to get the chance to work here. I enjoy working with my colleagues. The local people are as beautiful as the scenery!

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Watch Alina’s video below as she describes her work experience in more detail!

It is full of burgers!

July 23, 2014

By: Lulu Kong, Work and Travel Summer 2014 Ambassador Scholar

Lulu Kong is a Work and Travel participant from China, working at White Castle in Whitehall, PA. In her third blog post, she shares how she enjoys her time working at America’s oldest fast food chain.

I am a team member at White Castle as part of CCI Greenheart’s Summer Work and Travel Program. It is not far from where I live, so I can walk to work. I really enjoy working at White Castle because it is a great place. Plus, it is full of burgers!

 

 

At first, working here made me a little uncomfortable. It gets really busy when a lot of customers come at the same time. We were so busy, I couldn’t follow the fast pace! I dropped this, dropped that, I had dropped so many things!  But I never give up, I just keep on fighting! Luckily, I have a lot of nice workmates and managers. They were patient and taught me everything. Now, I am getting better and better at my job! I even have a wonderful testimonial from my supervisor in my video below.

I am also happy that I have learned how to make American food by working in White Castle. I make  meals for myself when I take breaks. I really love the French fries and bacon burgers! But I don’t like pickles, onions, or cheese so I just make it plain and then add bacon. I have my own style of burgers!

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One of my supervisors, Scott, is very nice and welcoming. All of us participants are glad to work with him. He is not very strict and makes us feel comfortable. He is always eager to learn more about Chinese culture from us. He even said he wants to travel to China one day! I say, “Welcome to China! We are waiting for you in China!”

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The lobby of White Castle it is very clean and bright. I like the lights because they are special. I hope to open a White Castle in China one day. It will be the first one in China!

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Greenheart Service Project and Orientation in Chicago

July 22, 2014

By: Haldis Toppen and Merrill Hill, CCI Greenheart staff members

CCI Greenheart welcomed 30 interns from Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) to the U.S. with an orientation and Greenheart Service Project on June 22, 2014. To start the day, we met with the HKBU interns and their leader, Alice Yau, at Thomas Beckham Hall  on the University of Illinois – Chicago (UIC) Campus. During the brief orientation, we covered J-1 visa program regulations, responsibilities of the participants upon arriving to the U.S., and a brief Q&A session about what it means to volunteer.

After wrapping up the orientation, the participants took a bus that dropped them within walking distance to the Greenheart Service Project site. The participants arrived at the garden eager to begin their volunteer project. There were 3 garden staff members, 6 Work and Travel (W&T) participants (2 Romanians and 4 Thai including W&T Ambassador Scholar, Naon), and CCI Greenheart W&T staff member, Haldis Toppen already on site.

Garden staff quickly divided up the large group of participants to cover a variety of tasks: weeding garden beds, picking flowers, trimming bushes, and cleaning the new garden gazebo. Participants clearing weeds were treated to a mini botany lesson as they learned what to clear out and what to keep. One participant, particularly curious about how St. John’s Wort was used as an anti-depressant, received an explanation from staff member Irene.

It was a lot of work but a great help to the small regular garden staff. Everyone had a great time and enjoyed the pizza lunch provided by CCI Greenheart. Even after lunch was finished and the event was technically over, some HKBU participants spent the sunny Sunday afternoon in the garden; completing the tasks they had been assigned! “Gardening is a new experience for us because we do not have access to gardens in Hong Kong due to the size of the city.” - Alice Yau, representative of HKBU.

Greenhearts were definitely made during their first volunteer experience in the U.S.!

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And now I finally get to my work life

July 21, 2014

By: Tomasz Paciorkowski, Summer 2014 Work and Travel Ambassador Scholar

Tomasz Paciorkowski is a Work and Travel participant from Poland, working in Beaver Creek, Colorado. Here he continues to talk about his work life in the United States.

Now, it’s high time I told you something about my work life. You may have heard about it in the video I prepared for CCI with the help of my colleague Jason. If you haven’t seen the video yet, please watch it now. It’ll make explaining easier.

Done? Fine. Did you like it? I hope you did. If you didn’t, sorry. I’ll try harder.

I usually start my work at around 1.30 PM. Some of you may think it’s the perfect time to start work. Well, it is, and at the same time it isn’t. You get to sleep longer, but also your day is surprisingly shorter. It takes lots more planning.

I decided to divide my day at work for you. I broke it off to different times. We have counting time, folding time, cookie time, serving customers, and… super-secret project time.

Oh yes, such a thing does exist. In my world though. No worries, you’re invited into it. I hereby welcome you.

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In the picture you can see me doing serious stuff. Accounting. No monkey business.

Just business.

See how focused on the task I am? It actually hurts to be focused this much. That’s because I’ve never been awesome at math…

That’s why I’m studying English! Just kidding. I love English.

Fine, enough of that. I’ll just say that I’m doing my best. Sometimes it takes me a lot of time to count everything correctly. But on the bright side I think I’m getting faster every day. A glass-half-full kind of man. Have I already mentioned it? I’m not quite sure.

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Have I ever mentioned to you that in Beaver Creek Village at 3 PM they give out free cookies?

No? Well, you’ve been all missing out on delicious cookies then, kind ladies and gentlemen.

I might’ve done it on purpose though. They often-times run out of the cookies too quickly and there’re none left for me.

You’ve seen through me. Sorry. Ha!

Cookies are good. You sometimes need sugar in you. It makes you work better… Or at least that’s what I was telling myself in order not to feel bad about the calories.

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Folding is an important part of my work life. I do it a lot. I fold a lot of stuff.

When I feel tired and I don’t feel like folding anymore I like to think that the fact that I can fold t-shirts makes me a great husband material. Does it? I hope it does.

I also can cook, if I may add. Just throwing that out there.

I explained the folding procedure in my video. Feel free to brush up on it.

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In this picture you can see me greeting customers.

Well, you actually can’t.

I just didn’t want to take pictures of my customers because not everybody likes it. I hope you’ll forgive me.

The truth is though that I try to be as nice to my customers as I possibly can. This is the priority of the company that hires me. And I completely understand and support such attitude.

You’d be surprised how nice people can be in Beaver Creek. Or not.

Hell, I’ll admit it. I was surprised.

It still seems super-amazing to me.

I honestly love talking to everybody. There’s so much stuff that I get to learn due to the fact that they come from all around the US, and world even.

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Here you can see a picture of my super-secret project. I don’t want to tell you too much about it though. I even selected this page on purpose so that it doesn’t give you too much of an idea.

It’s just something I started working on some time ago. All you need to know is that it’s awesome. And teaches me a lot. I do mean it.

I think that’s pretty much it. I hope you liked the stuff I decided to share with you. If you didn’t. I’m really sorry. It’s just so difficult to describe so many awesome things. It’s far beyond possible.

Have a lovely day y’all.

(We do have many visitors from Texas)

Interested in reading (and laughing) more from Tomasz? Check out his blog here!

 

My Path to China -What a Trip!

July 20, 2014

By: Jesse Ruvalcaba, Good Nite Inn, Work and Travel Employer

Jesse Ruvalcaba is an employer from a seasonal community with CCI Greenheart’s Work and Travel program. Having cooperated with CCI Greenheart for several years on his international hiring, Jesse was able to travel to China to hire his Summer 2014 participants. Follow Jesse on his Employer Journey!

Although I’m happy to be back from China, I must say that I have a newfound respect for our students, CCI Greenheart, and our Work and Travel Program.

I had the opportunity to travel alongside CCI and meet and interview potential participants in China. It was interesting to experience their culture, way of life, and delicious cuisine (some of the best food I have ever had). The Job Fair was exceptional, with CCI Greenheart doing a great job of pre-selecting candidates and streamlining the process. This made my job of interviewing them extremely easy and very smooth. The process also allowed me to meet the participants one-on-one, which resulted in a much better understanding of their personalities and backgrounds. It also allowed me time to gather as much information as possible, so I could ensure a good fit for our property and the participant.  As a side note, in the past I’ve interviewed via Skype, but you just don’t get the same information and impression that you get when you travel and meet people face to face.

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This trip gave me a whole new perspective of the program and was an eye-opening “adventure,” to say the least. I must say that traveling abroad is definitely an experience worth sharing and something that I would encourage others to do, should they ever have the opportunity.

Want to hear more? Watch as Jesse discusses his experience below!

Don’t miss the cookie guy!

July 18, 2014

By: Olga Mikulska, Work and Travel Summer 2014 Ambassador Scholar

Olga Mikulska is a Work and Travel participant from Poland, working at Obos Enterprises LLC in Beaver Creek, CO. In her first blog post, she shares how a typical day in Beaver Creek is spent.

Before my journey to the USA began, I was anxious about so many things. I was worried that I would not be able to handle my job, that I would not be able to overcome the language barrier, that I would feel alienated, or that I would miss my home country. Now I know that my worries were groundless!

I fell in love with Colorado the first day I arrived. The people here amaze me. You will not find a more gregarious, open, helpful and positive nation in the whole world. I’ve heard this opinion a thousand times before I came here, but I was quite skeptical and I thought that it was slightly far-fetched. I couldn’t be more wrong!

The people here are always smiling, ready to give you a helping hand, and making the most of life by appreciating what they have. I hope that it will be a great lesson for me and I’ll be able to retain some of their positive energy and willingness to enjoy whatever life gives us.

It has been exactly one month since I came to Beaver Creek. I’d like to show you a typical day in my American life!

I always try to start with a nutritious breakfast. Even in the morning I can’t help but show how much I love this state. Believe me, Colorado is gorgeous! Colorado during the summertime is awe-inspiring and takes everybody’s breath away. I’m lucky that I usually get evening shifts at work so I can go hiking in the morning. I can’t help but smile and enjoy the scenery every day. I get exhausted walking at such high elevations (9,000 to 11,000 feet), but it is totally worth it!

At 1:30 PM, I have to come back down to Earth and start working. But it isn’t really hard work if your workplace is a store with clothes and toys for children. We have a lot of fun here! But more about work in the next post. During my break, I enjoy eating lunch with my friend outside because the scenery is breathtaking. We have some fun in front of the ice rink in the central Beaver Creek Village. My favorite tradition happens at 3 PM every day: complimentary chocolate chip cookies! I have a sweet tooth so whenever I’m at work; I make sure I don’t miss “the cookie guy.” My co-worker Linda is very fond of the tradition, too!

 

In the evening, there is time for delicious American food like hamburgers! Anyone who doesn’t think American cuisine is tasty needs to try it! I promise they will fall in love. I get home using the free shuttle. When I get home, there is time for chatting and fun with my flat mates and we call it a day!

 

Like reading about Olga? Check out her personal blog, here as well!

Working and Golfing in Alaska

July 16, 2014

By: Jan Kartusek, Work and Travel Summer 2014 Ambassador Scholar

 Jan Kartusek is a Work and Travel participant from Slovakia, working in Alaska. In his first blog post, he shares how he combines work with fun.

My name is Jan and this summer I have decided to work at Anchorage Golf Course located in Alaska in the southern part of Anchorage. I work at O’Malley’s on the Green as a server. It’s a restaurant in the center of the golf course, where it’s comprised of two rooms, where one is always used for banquets or events and the other one is a daily open restaurant room.

My day at work begins at around 11AM, when I arrive to work and clock into the computer for my scheduled shift. I arrive by bus or by bicycle. First, I need to prepare the restaurant and the server station for the working day. There is often just one server and one bartender in the whole restaurant so I really need to be prepared in case it is a busy day. I set up all the tables, check peppers and salts on each of them, bring condiments on top of every table and change the table tops.

After that, I need to set up the server station, so I bring some ice, clean the nozzles on soda machine, prepare menus and all of the sauces that we use during the day (mustard, mayo, ketchup, tartar…) and always fill up the salad bar with fresh vegetables. Then I roll silverware and bring any sort of condiments that are often used such as napkins, to-go boxes etc.

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Everything is then ready and I wait for the first customers. I always welcome any customers with a smile and bring water and menus to their table. I ask them what they would like to drink first and bring them their order of drinks. If they are ready I take a meal order and recommend any specials that we might have for the day. I put every order into computer in the server station and wait for the cooks to make the order. After it’s done, I sometimes make a side salad for them if they asked for it and bring the meal to the customers. I check up on customers from time to time if they need another drink or refill. When they are done I get them their tab. They either pay by cash or by credit card. When payment process is complete, I return and bring them their receipt with change or credit card. I thank them for the visit and clean the table after them. The perks of being server are that you receive tipsfrom the customers, which is usually 15%of their total tab. This process repeats and it can be really challenging to remember all the orders if I have 4 tables at the same time with separate checks. That is why I use a notebook to write every order because as I found out you can’t remember every detail of the given request.

At the end of the shift after my replacement comes in, and I print a receipt of the total orders that I had that day and the money that I owe the house or the house (meaning the restaurant) owes me for the credit card tips. One shift takes around 6 or 7 hours and after I cash out, I log off the computer and enjoy some free time at the golf course. I usually end the day by playing golf or chatting with friends that work there.

Watch how I complete my day, but watching by video below!

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