Such Great Heights: My Roller Coaster Experience in the United States
By Romesh Popelier, Summer 2014 Work and Travel Participant
My name is Romesh Popelier. I am 23 years old and living in The Netherlands. I am currently studying Mechanical Engineering and Theme Park Management. Last summer, I worked at Hershey Park as a Ride Operator. This was a spectacular opportunity for me, as my dream is to imagine and create new attractions in the international theme park industry. Alongside my studies, I am currently working in Amusement Park Toverland, which is a small theme park in The Netherlands. We have a big wooden roller coaster called Troy, similar to another ride, Wildcat, found at Hershey Park. I am part of the maintenance team, and during operating hours, I work as lead ride operator.
In continuing my studies in Theme Park Management, it was required I speak fluent English. In January 2014, I saw a job offer from Hershey Park on the Facebook page of Yummyjobs. This offer really struck me and I knew I had to apply. A few months later, in March, I met Miss Louise from Yummyjobs and Miss Agata from CCI Greenheart in London. Immediately, they were enthusiastic about my story and hired me for the summer at Hershey Park.
Last summer, I worked as a ride operator at Kissing Tower Hill. Hershey gave me the time of my life because I had the opportunity to operate all the big roller coasters. In Europe, we don’t have parks that have 13 roller coasters, so I was definitely impressed! I learned a lot from the major differences that I saw between ride operations in the United States and The Netherlands. During my days off, I visited a variety of theme parks, some of which include: Dorneypark, Sixflags Great Adventure, Knoebels, Kennywood and Cedar Point. One of the highlights of my summer in the United States was visiting the factory of Great Coasters International to discuss with experts in the field about the maintenance of wooden roller coasters.
Looking back, I realize my time in the United States was like a roller coaster ride! It was my first time living by myself in an apartment with four other international students. I was the only Dutch guy, so there was no way that I could speak in Dutch with any of my roommates. I improved my English and learned a lot about theme parks and about myself. I want to recommend that every international student who is looking for amazing cultural experiences abroad participate in the Work and Travel program through CCI Greenheart.
Hershey Park, CCI Greenheart, and Yummyjobs, thank you for this life-changing experience!