By: Luis Federico, Work and Travel Program Assistant

Lunch n' Learn the Netherlands! (I'm second to the right).

Lunch n’ Learn the Netherlands! (I’m second to the right).

As Work and Travel’s Summer 2013 season comes to a close, it’s a good time to reflect on the lessons the program has taught me as a first timer, and the lessons that those at CCI Greenheart for some time came to be reminded of. There have been a lot of exciting changes to the J-1 Summer Work Travel program in the past few years. With validations, initial check-ins, job vetting, monthly check-ins, and many other regulations, the program has become stronger. The more I go through these procedures, the more I am reminded of the importance of all of these regulations. These regulations have been put in place for the safety of our participants  and to ensure that they have great placements. It makes my day when I have a monthly check-in from a participant who has been on outings with their employer and has had the summer of their lives.

Singing karaoke with my co-worker Fran.

Singing karaoke with my co-worker Fran.

Tomorrow, I will experience the other side of the fence. I’m embarking on a journey to Toulouse, France for the Teaching Assistantship Program in France (TAPIF) run by the French Education Department. It will be my first time overseas and I’m really glad that I have the experience of CCI Greenheart in my pocket to use when abroad. Like our participants who have strict program guidelines to follow, I too will have to take part in similar program rules. I’m currently in the process of securing housing and like the participants, I will have to check-in upon arrival, go through an orientation, and follow many other program rules. In preparation for my departure, I have been reading and rereading the program regulations, while making sure I have the correct contact information for everyone in the program.

I know many (if not most) of my colleagues here at CCI Greenheart have gone through similar experiences either teaching or studying abroad, and I think that’s what makes this an organization that is able to provide the services we offer so well. Going to a new country can be scary and nerve-racking, yet exciting. It’s reassuring, knowing that there is an organization, a visa sponsor that cares about you and is willing and excited to help with anything. I cannot wait to have the same experience soon myself. Thank you to CCI Greenheart for this wonderful experience!

At the Greenheart International launch party.

At the Greenheart International launch party.