Route J-1

Friendliness and Natural Beauty in North Carolina

Posted on Friday, September 15th, 2017 at 3:53 pm.

By Daria Romanovskaia, J-1 Summer Work and Travel participant from Russia

On top of Crowders Mountain, Crowders Mountain State Park North Carolina

This photo was taken on the top of Crowders Mountain, which is situated in Crowders Mountain State Park near Charlotte, North Carolina, where I am working as a lifeguard. It was one of my days off, which I spent with my coworker, a friend from Russia whom I met during my Work & Travel experience this summer. We went with an American family (a mother and her two sons) we got acquainted with at work. The family is really lovely, friendly, and funny.

We spent half of the day at the State Park and it was a beautiful time. It wasn’t as hot as it usually is, so it was perfect weather for hiking. And by the way hiking was an awesome workout! It took about an hour going up the cliff and the road itself was great because we were getting to know about the nature and wildlife of USA.  The best part awaited us at the top of the cliff. When you reach a rocky pass on the way up, a breathtaking view of the green lake of a forest opens to your eyes. You feel young, independent and free. It’s really hard to describe what is going on inside. It’s the kind of feeling when a mysterious transformation takes place in your thoughts and mind and you go down the mountain a different person.

Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina

As for my job in North Carolina, I like it. I’m really happy that I chose this state and this job. When you don’t know what to expect from an experience, it’s really scary. In my opinion, it’s hit or miss: either you have the time of your life or you struggle every day constantly feeling out of place. I am so excited to be experiencing the first outcome. I am enjoying every minute I spend in America.

I think that the best part about my work experience is having lots of communication with native speakers and getting to know the culture first hand. When you’re surrounded by another culture you dive into it and it’s awesome. You find out peculiarities you have no chance of perceiving sitting at home. I think the thing that surprised me most about American culture is the open-mindedness and talkative nature of Americans. On my first day it was so weird when a complete stranger came up to me in a shop and started telling me about his life. I really enjoy this because it makes you feel warm and welcome and you get a feeling like you’re at home. I love it.

Mural in the Wynwood Arts District, Miami, Florida

During my exchange, I also proved to myself that I’m much stronger and steadfast than I thought I made lots of new friends and I am having a colossal experience. Now I feel like I don’t have any boundaries. I have a life to live and I should make my life experience great and unforgettable, so that when I’m old and grey and surrounded by my grandchildren I can retell them the story of my life and encourage them to live with understanding and the courage to explore unlimited opportunities to grow and develop.

Working in the USA is such a great experience. It’s one that is worth a lifetime. You are alone in different country and develop another mindset. Nobody speaks your native language. This experience is worthwhile. You get to know yourself and test your endurance and toughness. It’s really rewarding because now I want to develop even more and continue to discover who I am. . Having an American exchange experience has given me focus and helped me find my path and direction. I’m really grateful to my parents for encouraging me to take this opportunity because it has become a driving force for my future upon my future life. I now know I can accomplish anything I put my mind to.


Categories: Program Spotlight

About G. Kevin Saba

Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Private Sector Exchange

G. Kevin Saba serves as Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Private Sector Exchange at the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). In this capacity, he oversees the Exchange Visitor Program, which brings around 300,000 foreign citizens to the United States annually to teach, study, and build skills. He is the Director for the Policy and Program Support Division in ECA’s Office of Private Sector Exchange.

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