By Varvara Tyurina, Work and Travel Summer 2014 Participant 

Varvara is a Work and Travel participant from Russia, who worked at an American employer during Summer 2014. Here she talks about her first experience working and traveling in the United States. 

Participating in any kind of program that takes you to another country is always scary and unpredictable. You are usually excited and wondering what it is going to be like, but on the other hand, you worry if you are going to be happy at the place where you are planning to work and if you’ll like your coworkers. I got the luck of the draw.

The next morning after my arrival, I went sightseeing and everyone on the campground said “hi” to me; it was really weird to me, because I even didn’t know them.

At Pine Acres I felt really comfortable and, moreover, protected. Every employer and co-worker tried to help with everything; they made us feel involved in American culture and it is because of them that we were able to break the language barrier.

The territory of Pine Acres is really big but there are a lot of things to do; you can watch movies at night, go boating and fishing, go to the pool, or participate in sports. I worked at the camp store. I can say a lot about my amazing time there – but the “size of your head” chocolate chip pancakes by Pete and hot fudge sundaes can say more than thousand words.

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I loved working in this store because I got to learn how to cook some American meals; I baked blueberry muffins and discovered some interesting facts of this nation.

We were invited to so many dinners and campfires, we tasted fried marshmallows, lasagna (yes, yes-homemade!), Mexican food and, of course, potato salad.

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I found it interesting that Americans love everything connected to food – they adore cooking, eating and talking about food and at the end of summer, their habits affected us!

In our free time we went to Boston, different beaches and visited huge malls. Boston is an amazing city with a lot of history. We took a duck tour and followed the famous Freedom Trail which led us around the city. Every corner of this city has various signs of its historical heritage.

I had never seen the ocean before and upon arriving, I had just one wish – to go to the beach. And my small but important dream came true. We were allowed to use the Pine Acres car to travel and we spent all day on the shore.

Americans are very sociable, I was glad get acquainted with everyone and even become friends with some of them. I didn’t just meet wonderful people there; I also became friends with participants from other countries. I Hope to see all of them someday!

I could go on forever, because I have so many funny stories to tell, so many memories that melt my heart.

This summer was filled with joy and leaving was very touching and difficult. It was a really good experience and if I had the chance to do it again, I wouldn’t have any hesitations!