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

My taste of America has really pleased me, and it is very different from what I’ve seen, felt, and experienced in my country. The thrill of being out of my comfort zone has challenged me to make the best out of everything. The tradition and culture of America both inspires and amazes me, and even though I’m new to this place, this experience has taught me to be more versatile and wise. This is especially true when it comes to how to deal with other people, anxiety, longing for family and friends that I miss, and accepting new challenges and difficulties.

Looking back to where my heart belongs, the Philippines, our country offers big smiles, hospitable people, refreshing sites and superstitious beliefs. However, from what I’ve discovered about America, the culture satisfies me more than I had expected. American culture unwraps mystery from food, comfort, technology, places, fashion, music and beliefs. This is especially true in my host city, New Orleans, Louisiana. I’ve noticed many different things and it really astounds me.

You will crave New Orleans’ seafood, especially oysters! They will satisfy your watery mouth with flavor. When it comes to places, New Orleans is not that different from the Philippines in terms of wonderful sites, except that there are taller buildings, more advanced equipment in the establishments, and its particular setting of nature. It will suffice not only your eyes, but your soul. However, when looking at the weather, the Philippines and America have very different climates and seasons. I want to experience the weather and comfort here in America. For fashion, Americans are more revealing and expressive in terms of the way they dress. Their sense of fashion is something you can look up to and it’s always trendy. I love the way they wear it with confidence and comfort. Music is one of my favorite things about being here in America. I love the groovy pop, the meaningful lyrics of country songs, and pleasing sound of R&B. Every genre of their music will make you get on your feet, break your heart, or even inspire you to do better in life. The beliefs and customs of people here in New Orleans will stun, allure, or even scare you. In New Orleans, you can tour the city’s oldest cemetery. The tombs and entire place will surprise and horrify you, not only because of its ambience, but the stories and tales that accompany it. New Orleans also has unique beliefs and traditions. The city has a colorful and delightful party they call Mardi Gras, which is held every January or February. It has surprises and jaw-dropping activities that will make you groove and dance all day and night long. The city also has many stories and enigmas to ponder; they say it is the home of vampires, witchcraft, and voodoo. But those things make this place extra special. America welcomes everyone to visit and experience the different cultures and traditions.

Every place, city, state and, country has its own unique wonder and mystery. What I love here in America is the admirable people, unending adventures and the serenity it offers. I chose to be here, not only because of the unique experience and work, but because my heart really fell in love with New Orleans. If given a chance, I will spend the rest of my time here!

Do you want to discover a new city, state, or country and all of the things that make it unique? Take a look at Greenheart Exchange’s Career Advancement Programs, and see if one is right for you!