By Yezhe Hu,  J-1 Work and Travel Student and Greenheart Club Member

Yezhe Hu is a J-1 Work and Travel student from China who worked this summer as a lifeguard for Winkler Pool Management in Maryland. Yezhe shares her lessons learned while living and working in the USA this summer.

Time flies, now it’s my last working week. I can’t imagine I have been living in a totally different country for two months. During these two months, there is too much I want to say, both sweet and bitter things.

OK, first lesson. Say hi to people, even to strangers. I do love this, to show enthusiasm to others, spread your happiness, and your optimistic attitude. This “Hi” makes everybody become friends, sometimes a “Hi”, sometimes “How are you, how you doing,” or just a smile, all of these phrases make me feel the friendliness from the USA. When I receive my first “Hi” or “Morning” from strangers, I always feel I will have a wonderful day. And when I give out a “Hi”, and then get a response, WOW, I love this feeling between people.

The second lesson is about the driving rules. Walking in the USA really makes me feel safe. Crossing the road, or meeting the car in the road. In the first few days I came here, I didn’t know how to cross a street. Although, it’s a red light there, I just started to cross. What surprised me is that the drivers stopped in front of me. I said sorry, none of them criticize me, not even an impatient expression, just smiled to me and gave a gesture to let me cross the street.  Actually, all the cars I met will become slow far away from me, when the drivers saw me. Also, I do think it’s amazing driving in USA. I like the broad roads and the fresh air.

The third one is to ask for help from others, even strangers. I need help from others almost everyday for everything. I lost my way back home, I have problems in supermarket, but every time, there will be somebody who appears to help me. I will appreciate them for all these things. When I lost my way, I remembered many people who helped to point the direction for me and tell me in detail, even when I didn’t ask. When I came from the supermarket with a heavy bag, some nice people asked if I need help, although I refused because my apartment was nearby, I still feel sweet in my heart. All I want to say is THANKS.

I found that all these lessons above are based on the respect between people. Because of the respect, everybody gets self confidence and everybody feels it’s a pleasure to help somebody else. Nobody thinks if it will be a trouble or whatever.

Two more things, one is be responsible for your job, pay all your attention to it. The other one is to be humorous. It’s an attitude for life, most people I met here are humorous, energetic, speak loudly and clearly, with great patience. I should learn! I want to write the fourth, fifth, sixth and more. About how Americans treasure life, the way you treat children and the like. These two months benefitted me a lot.  I have one more month for travelling; I’m guessing it will be wonderful.