Voyage to South America
By: Joe Burns, Employer Services Manager, Work and Travel
As CCI wraps up our final job fair in South America, we feel this is great time to reflect on our experience, and give our thanks to all of the individuals whose hard work went into making our journey one of the most memorable and successful hiring trips in recent memory.
Our first stop was in Lima, Peru, where we had the pleasure of interviewing J-1 candidates from all over the country. From the highlands of the Andes, to the jungles of the Amazon, to Pacific Coast in Lima – the cultures of our Peruvian participants are as diverse as the landscapes. However, one thing that did not change was the passion that participants held for the J-1 Work and Travel Program.
In the morning hours after the job fair in Lima, we packed our bags for our next journey to Brazil. Flying over the Andes Mountain range, we were astonished with some of the most amazing vistas thinkable. It was hard to imagine that we could ever top such an adventure. But, little did we know just how stunning our next destination would be…
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is one of the most welcoming cities CCI has had the pleasure of visiting. Mountains surround the city and the streets are lined with a varietal of tropical vegetation. Temperatures in the winter rarely fall below 80 degrees and the beaches are packed year round with surfers, volleyball players, and sunbathers. Why would a person ever leave? As one participant at the job fair explained, “It’s always warm in Rio, like summer year round. One of the things I am most excited about [for this program] is the snow and the colder temperatures”. Although most Americans experience some excitement with the first snowfall, we are usually pretty happy when spring rolls around. However, as you can see, our Brazilian participants find their experience of American winters to be a welcome reprieve!
At our job fair in Rio and our final fair in Vitoria, our participants told us stories of friends and family members who had participated in the Work & Travel Program in the past. Most of the participants have never seen snow – much less buckled themselves in to skis and snowboards. The J-1 Work and Travel visa provides a unique opportunity to experience new environments, climates, and ultimately different cultures than can normally be seen at home in Brazil.
CCI cannot wait to welcome our South American participants to the USA this winter. We are looking forward to hearing the great stories that make this program a pleasure and privilege to work for year after year!