By: Christie Dominique Alison Castillo, Greenheart Exchange Career Advancement Program J-1 Intern and 2017 Ambassador Scholar

The United States of America is an astonishing country! The people, culture, and sites represent a few of the reasons why America is one of the most brilliant countries in the entire world. It has been my dream to stand on the land of the free and home of the brave, and I have loved seeing that dream come true.

Being in America has been a great opportunity and has allowed me to gain knowledge and develop practical skills. I believe that this knowledge will grant me the chance to expand my abilities even more once I go back home. This exchange has also been a great investment in the culinary arts, my chosen path. Food, as we all know, can nourish us and is a requirement to live; however, to me, food is much more than that. Food can be a comfort: it can ease anxiety and bring serenity. For me, preparing food needs an extra amount of patience and effort to serve its purpose.

Though it was important for me to learn skills to become proficient in the art and technique of preparing and plating food, I also wanted to gain customer relations skills. Being new to the United States and a beginner in the field, I learned that attitude plays a very important role. Someone who is successful in their career has both self-determination and discipline. Working under a lot of stress and pressure can sometimes weaken a cook from working at their full potential. I wanted to learn how to handle the stresses of a real kitchen. By observing and learning in a professional setting, I trained myself in how to properly manage my time. I also learned that without the right attitude, everything will turn out to be useless despite your credentials, wisdom, or skills. Attitude always determines output.

Sooner or later, I will build my restaurant confidently. I will use all of the knowledge and skills that I have gained from my time in America, and will also learn from my mistakes. The lessons I learned while in America will be the foundation of my success someday, and I will always be grateful for this experience. My future is waiting; all I need is to be ready to face it. I am sure that many obstacles will stand in my way, but I wish to conquer them all! I will choose to be strong despite the challenges, and surrender will never be an option for me.

It has been a pleasure becoming a part of the Greenheart Exchange family. I feel lucky to experience Greenheart Exchange as my visa sponsor, and to be chosen as one of their ambassador scholars. I will always stand behind their goals of promoting mutual respect for different cultures and traditions and as a training ground for future leaders.

Are you interested in exploring your interests and learning how to grow them in the workplace? Explore the possibility of an internship with Greenheart Exchange!