By Amber Hayes, Cultural Outreach Assistant

Today is the day. You’ve accepted your job offer and you’ve created a countdown until your flight departs for the United States. You’re going to be a Work and Travel participant! By now, you’ve imagined so many great adventures, the pictures you’ll have for Instagram, and all of the food you’ll try. But it’s also important to remember that there is always a difference between expectation and reality.

To ensure that your work abroad experience is everything that you’ve imagined it to be, I recommend that you do the following before boarding your plane:

1) Research your new host city! Google earth your new residence and see how far stores are from you. This way you’ll have an idea of transportation in the area and what’s near you.

2) Join CCI Greenheart Work & Travel Participants (Official) Group on Facebook and find alumni who have worked at your placement or have lived in your area. You can also use this group to find other Work and Travel participants who will be working with you. It’s always good to have a friend before you go!

3) Read over your placement agreement once more with family just to ensure that you understand every aspect of what is required of you. If there is something you don’t understand, ask! Your sending agency will be able to help you with anything that seems unclear.

4) Check the exchange rate for U.S. currency and the currency of your country. It is important to budget appropriately so that you can make the most out of your Work and Travel program. I recommend using the website Numbeo as it compares the cost of living between cities.

5) Make a list of all the things you want to do while in the United States. How often do you get to travel to the United States? Use this time to do all that you can!

We’re sure that this will be a work abroad experience you’ll never forget, and CCI Greenheart is happy to help make it so special! If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us on Facebook!