I learned about this in college but having practical experience makes it so much more real.

By: Russanette Dennis, CCI Greenheart Work and Travel Ambassador Scholar

My name is Russanette Dennis from Jamaica, and I am a participant in the CCI Greenheart Ambassador Scholarship program. When I joined the program, choosing a job was a difficult task. There were so many companies I had never heard of! Once I picked a job, I wasn’t scared but I was anxious about working for over four months in a new country. However, I met Agata Czopek, from the Institute of International Education (I2), at a job fair and she soothed my anxiety as she anticipated and answered my questions.

I2 has a great relationship with my host organization, which has benefitted me. I attended an orientation that addressed every detail that participants need to know, including setting up a bank account and social security, transportation, and cultural activities. I am thankful for this orientation because when I returned to Jamaica and spoke with my friends, many of them had to deal with these issues on their own.

Along with my amazing American friends and coworkers, the support from I2, and my host organization is one of the reasons why I came back to work in the United States for three summers. Having reached the end of my journey working here, I have grown professionally and gained experience. Working in a hotel has taught me the importance of teamwork, not only with other housekeepers but in the hotel as a whole. Every department is connected and interdependent. For example, housekeeping and the front desk attendants must communicate effectively to ensure that the rooms are clean before sending a guest to a dirty room. I learned about this in college but having practical experience makes it so much more real.

I would like to express my deepest gratitude to CCI Greenheart for giving me this rare opportunity to go to another country to work, travel, eliminate stereotypes, and truly learn about the people. I was also given the opportunity to attend the Greenheart Global Leaders Conference where I realized that I am a culturally-enriched leader. Speaking to the CEO of Greenheart International, Laura Rose, and listening to her vision for the program taught me that I can be a part of something much bigger than me. Now, I am leaving this program not only culturally enriched but as a leader who has grown professionally.

Do you want to focus on professional development in the United States? Learn more about CCI Greenheart’s Work and Travel program.