I have arrived to the last destination of my adventure. And what a better way to end it than with a huge group of enthusiastic students ready to start their school year in the US, and with a cool CIEE staff team ready to prepare these kids for their adventure.
The orientation meeting took place at the hotel and, after that, we went on a tour to some of the main landmarks of San Francisco: The Golden Gate Bridge, Twin Peaks, and Pier 39, where we all did some shopping and we also had dinner. Though the weather didn't look great, we did have a great day!
By midnight, you could see how all the students had become friends, as they hugged and said goodbye to each other, bidding farewell to those who were first to depart to their new "hometowns". I think it is really nice and reassuring to start this kind of experience making new friends that will be going through the same things as you, it makes you feel like you are not alone. It reminded me of my first days in Portland with Shay and Alex (my teammates!).
I do not know if you remember it, but I started this journey visiting Néstor, a student from Spain that had just finished his school year in the US, and his host family [you can see it HERE]. I remember all the amazing things he told me about his year in the US. And seeing all these students getting ready to begin their own adventures makes me think of all the hundreds of new amazing stories that will come out of this new school year, stories worth being told, just like the ones Néstor told me two months ago... Again, the best possible finale I could expect for my own CIEE adventure.
Me despido, hasta la próxima aventura...
When I thought about Texas
3 things came to my mind:
Well, it turned out that,
when I arrived to Galveston,
I saw none of these things.
Instead, I found:
...and Work & Travel students!
As you can see, preconceptions
can often lead us in the wrong
direction. That's why I decided
to let these students tell you a
little bit more about how it is
to live in Galveston...
I will also let the photos do the talking...
Yes!, there are more
photos of Galveston!
Just click HERE! ;)
This week I visited Wildwood in New Jersey. A really nice place for vacationing, and even better for working! There are around 1 thousand Work & Travel students in this town, and no wonder why: the place is pure entertainment!, enormous beaches, an old-style boardwalk covered with shops, video arcades, all kind of american food stores, and most important, a huge amusement park with enough games and rides to keep you thrilled for many days.
There are Work & Travel students everywhere, working at the shops on the boardwalk, others at different motels or resorts near the sea, and most of them at the amusement park, as lifeguards, cashiers, ride operators, ghosts, you name it! One thing they all have in common is that they are having a great time! and you can get contagious by just talking to them and listening to all they have to share about their experience working in the U.S.
Taylor and I visited the students working at Seapointe Village, Attaché motel and Morey's Piers, and here are some pictures of these visits.
There are more and more pictures HERE! including one picture of us in one of the extreme rides :D check them out!
Early morning, Jay and I visited Cape Cod Commercial Linen Services. We were received by a huge (really huge!) group of Work & Travel students, some reporters and a pizza party! I took a group photo, Jay was interviewed by the press and the students were interviewed by us too.
You can find some pictures about all this by clicking HERE! :)
I have been to New York a few times before, but this time it felt totally different because I was not visiting it as a tourist. I had some appointments and work to do. In a way, it felt like I was living in the city. I walked by the Chrysler building a couple of times and it didn't catch my eye, do you know what I mean? It was nice to be busy doing photos, videos and interviews in this environment.
During my stay, I met with some interns that are in fact living and working in New York. They are doing an internship for a year, working on what they have studied and living the city!, isn't that cool? After all, I may also say that my experience in New York felt like a 5 day internship ;)
This is just a glimpse of the uncountable things I got to see during my walks around this city.
It was my first time at a Water Park. We arrived at Splish Splash in Long Island, New York, and at the entrance, you could hear a speaker repeating once and again the same message... warning parents that "the park is bigger than it looks"... they certainly weren't lying. We walked around the place looking for Work & Travel students, and quite often we ended up in the wrong path. We didn't have the chance to hop in any ride, but we had time to meet some cool lifeguards and ask them a few questions about their job. You are probably wondering: if Bay Watch had taken place in a water park, would it have been in Splish Splash? Well, I wouldn't say 'yes' because this job is really different and easier, and I think Pamela Anderson would have had more fun in this place ;)
As usual, you can find pictures of this experience HERE! Check them out! :D
On Friday, I could spend the whole day with a host family in Yarmouth, Maine. It was one of the greatest experiences I've had in the U.S. so far!
First, I met with these siblings, Jack and Phoebe (18 and 16, respectively), and with Néstor (17), their Spanish new brother, who came from Spain after being granted a scholarship, and who has been living with them since last August. The three of them took me to some cool spots in Yarmouth and they told me a bunch of different stories and facts that these places conceal. Then, we went to their house and we all had dinner, the 3 siblings, their parents (Nico and Ellen), and I (I don't know what "title" could describe my position, but I can say for sure that "stranger" is not an option). In just one day I learned a lot about the lifestyle of these young students and their family. And one of the most interesting things was the atmosphere that this family created. I felt integrated right away. They shared all their experiences and knowledge with me. By the way, I must say that these kids looked really mature, and I confirmed this idea after hearing/participating in all the debates that took place during dinner. I am not sure if this attribute, the way they see the world and life, is part of what makes them such a great/cool host family, or if being a host family is what contributes to their interesting/cool vision of things and life. Maybe a little bit of both.
On Saturday, I was walking down the street when I heard 'Eze!' (I never thought I would be given a shout in Portland!), I turned around and there they were, Jack and Néstor. It was nice to see them again. :)
Here is a small peek of Néstor's experience living with his American family...
This may sound a little trivial or, actually, a little nerdy, but one of the most interesting places we visited was their high school building! I know all my friends in Argentina are probably wondering about this, and the answer is: 'Yes, the school looks exactly the same as in the movies':
...and you can see more pictures by clicking HERE! :)