During that time, I realized that no matter what life throws our way, personal growth never stops.

By: Jiayu Chen, CCI Greenheart Work and Travel Summer 2016 participant

I’m a 20-year old easy going girl and now I want to share my American journey. It was my first time going to another hemisphere by myself. I felt excited but nervous! Fortunately, I met three girls, who are now my best friends, in Utah, as well as an American friend named Kade.

I have a number of unforgettable memories from these days because I did such meaningful work. I worked at an elementary school as a volunteer, helping the Chinese teacher teach Chinese to young children. There were so many cute children. They called me “Chen.” The students really liked Chinese in general. Talking to them was my favorite thing to do. I even enjoyed getting up early to go to school every day because I liked playing with them so much.

Additionally, I learned a lot of valuable workplace skills, such as DIY (Do-It-Yourself) brochure and card making, designing interesting pictures, and so on. During the Chinese Mid-Autumn festival, the 4th-grade students had a nice party. They read poetry called “Nostalgia” and sang a song called “The Moon Represents My Heart.”

On my last day of school, many students gave me sweet hugs. I hope to see them again someday; I will miss them so much.

What did I take away from the Work and Travel program? It’s my own experience. These students are always on my mind. The time I spent in Utah helped me grow. During that time, I realized that no matter what life throws our way, personal growth never stops. Thanks for reading my story of my American journey!

Want to connect with Americans the way Jiayu Chen did in Utah? Learn more about CCI Greenheart’s Work and Travel program here!